Herbie Hancock – Village Life (1985/2008)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:40 minutes | 634 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital booklet | © Columbia
This is one of the more unexpected releases in Herbie Hancock’s long and storied career. While Hancock has done just about everything, and has previously incorporated African influences in his early electric work (think Mwandishi and Crossings), no one anticipated this beautiful, moving work of Afro-Pop. Paired with kora master Foday Musa Suso, Hancock improvises with aplomb melding what was then state-of-the-art digital keyboard technology with traditional instrumentation and vocals.
This quiet, lovely record, in which the Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso is given equal billing, was generally ignored when it came out, probably because it fit no one’s preconceived idioms — be they jazz, funk, MTV, or even world music. The only performers are Hancock on a detunable Yamaha DX-1 synthesizer and drum machine and Suso spinning his webs of delicate sound on the zither-like kora, vocalizing a bit and playing a talking drum — all in real time in a Tokyo studio. The results are absolutely mesmerizing, with Herbie aligning himself perfectly within Suso’s unusual, complex rhythmic conceptions and folk-like harmonies. On the 20-minute “Kanatente,” Hancock does introduce some of his own advanced harmonic ideas, and he contrasts and interweaves them with Suso’s deceptively simple lines in a splendid jam session that eventually ends in a dance that can only be described as Gambian funk. This music generates the same feeling of ecstatic well-being as an Indian raga — and even hardcore jazz fans may find themselves seduced against their will. ~~ AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell
01 – Moon / Light
02 – Ndan Ndan Nyaria
03 – Early Warning
04 – Kanatente
Herbie Hancock: detunable Yamaha DX1 synthesizer, drum machine
Foday Musa Suso: kora, talking drum, vocals
Note: Recorded in 44.1kHz, mastered to 96kHz.