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Sextant
     

Sextant

4.6 3
by Herbie Hancock
 

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The image of '60s bop pianist turned '70s funkster Herbie Hancock (six-inch afro and all) bent over his space-age synth is as legendary for today's electronic musicians as that of the duckwalking Chuck Berry is for '60s rock 'n' rollers. While jazz purists often deride Hancock's use of the Fender Rhodes and the electric bass, the sweeping spacescapes of 1973's obscure

Overview

The image of '60s bop pianist turned '70s funkster Herbie Hancock (six-inch afro and all) bent over his space-age synth is as legendary for today's electronic musicians as that of the duckwalking Chuck Berry is for '60s rock 'n' rollers. While jazz purists often deride Hancock's use of the Fender Rhodes and the electric bass, the sweeping spacescapes of 1973's obscure masterpiece SEXTANT have had a huge influence on practitioners of so-called "armchair techno," from post-rockers Tortoise to drum 'n' bass visionaries Squarepusher and 4 Hero. The album starts with the jazz-rock fusion Hancock helped invent on Miles Davis's IN A SILENT AWAY and boldly goes where no jazz has gone before. This music blips, bops, bleets, and blurts with compu-funk sounds that suggest Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man doing the nasty on Venus. The opener, "Rain Dance," is a curdling freeform workout; the funky second cut, "Hidden Shadows," is like Shaft doing a cameo on "The X-Files"; and the haunting final cut, "Hornets" (featuring Dr. Eddie Henderson's ranging trumpet), is pure astral boogie. Put plainly, this is one of the most adventurous records ever made.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
When Herbie Hancock left Warner Bros. in 1971 after releasing three musically sound but critically and commercially underappreciated albums -- The Crossing, Mwandishi, and Fat Albert's Groove -- he was struggling. At odds with a jazz establishment that longed for his return to his Blue Note sound and a fierce consciousness struggle with free music and the full-on embrace of electricity since his tenure with Miles Davis, Hancock was clearly looking for a voice. Before diving into the commercial waters that would become Headhunters in 1973, Hancock and his tough group (including Billy Hart, Julian Priester, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Bennie Maupin, and Buster Williams) cut this gem for their new label, Columbia. Like its Warner predecessors, the album features a kind of post-modal, free impressionism while gracing the edges of funk. The three long tracks are exploratory investigations into the nature of how mode and interval can be boiled down into a minimal stew and then extrapolated upon for soloing and "riffing." In fact, in many cases, the interval becomes the riff, as is evidenced by "Rain Dance." The piece that revealed the true funk direction, however, was "Hidden Shadows," with its choppy basslines and heavy percussion -- aided by the inclusion of Dr. Patrick Gleeson and Buck Clarke. Dave Rubinson's production brought Hancock's piano more into line with the rhythm section, allowing for a unified front in the more abstract sections of these tunes. The true masterpiece on the album, though, is "Hornets," an eclectic, electric ride through both the dark modal ambience of Miles' In a Silent Way and post-Coltrane harmonic aesthetics. The groove is in place, but it gets turned inside out by Priester and Maupin on more than one occasion and Hancock just bleats with the synth in sections. Over 19 minutes in length, it can be brutally intense, but is more often than not stunningly beautiful. It provides a glimpse into the music that became Headhunters, but doesn't fully explain it, making this disc, like its Warner predecessors, true and welcome mysteries in Hancock's long career.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/01/2008
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886972398525
catalogNumber:
723985
Rank:
10368

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Herbie Hancock   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Vocals,Clavinet,Hand Clapping,Mellotron,fender rhodes,Fuzz-wah
Billy Hart   Percussion,Drums
Bennie Maupin   Percussion,Bass Clarinet,Piccolo,Soprano Saxophone,Wind,nose flute,Afuche
Julian Priester   Trombone,Bass Trombone,Alto Trombone,Tenor Trombone,cowbell
Eddie Henderson   Percussion,Trumpet
Scott Beach   Vocals
Buck Clarke   Bongos,Conga
Victor Domagalski   Vocals
Patrick Gleeson   Synthesizer
Delta Horne   Vocals
Candy Love   Vocals
Victor Pontoja   Conductor
Sandra Stevens   Vocals
Buster Williams   Bass,Percussion,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass,wah wah guitar,Fuzz Bass,Wah Wah Bass

Technical Credits

Bob Belden   Producer,Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Herbie Hancock   Echoplex
Fred Catero   Engineer
David Rubinson   Producer,Remixing
Jeremy Zatkin   Engineer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Randall Martin   Reissue Design
John Vieira   Engineer
Rob Springett   Paintings,Cover Painting

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Sextant 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eclectic, haunting, groovy, and vibed out at the same time. A true classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Avant/Funk/Jazz, an obscure but awsome combination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Herbie Hancock is searching for a view, a point of view that he has pointed at before but has never quite reached. This cd allows the listener a glimpse of Herbie "searching". It's worth the ride. funky and modal this one simmers just fine. Thank you very much!!!