At this point an elder statesman in jazz, Herbie Hancock is respected by
peers and fans alike; a musician of such lofty note as to not be in the shadows of
early legendary employer Miles Davis. A prodigy who took up piano at age 7,
he soloed with the Chicago Symphony when he was 11. After study at Grinnell
College he joined Donald Byrd's group in New York City and before long was
offered a solo contract with Blue Note Records, recording "Taking Off",
which did indeed take off in popularity. In 1963 he was invited by Miles
Davis to join his band. Hancock stayed for 5 years, both artists gaining
influence from the other in the process; because of Herbie, Davis was influenced in the
direction of his music and because of encouragement from Miles, Herbie loosened up his playing style.
At Miles' suggestion Hancock also converted to the Rhodes electric piano and his
music has ever seemed to evolve from there, employing any number of musical genres
seemingly with ease- blues, funk, gospel, electronic and acoustic jazz among them.
Having been an innovator for decades in the jazz and rock world, Hancock's place in music
annals is secure; so any twist or turn he should happen to take with this
latest foray should come as little shock to his fans.
This DVD is something of a companion piece to his 2005 audio release of the
same name, "Possibilities" and brings forth some interesting work. Hancock's blueprint
here is reminiscent of what Carlos Santana has been doing for the
past decade since his "Supernatural" recording and subsequent reentry
into present day popularity among new generations of listeners; record solid material
with something of his signature style while bringing in contemporary
musical guests for accompaniment. The melting pot formula has worked
enormously well for Santana, and it is possible that Herbie will manage to
accomplish the same feat given the positive results of many
Here is a track listing of the audio release, and the songs included on the DVD as well-
Stitched Up- featuring John Mayer
Safiatou- featuring Santana and Angilique Kidjo
A Song For You- featuring Christina Aguilera
I Do It For Your Love- featuring Paul Simon
Hush, Hush, Hush- featuring Annie Lennox
Sister Moon- featuring Sting
When Love Comes To Town- featuring Jonny Lang and Joss Stone
Don't Explain- featuring Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan
I Just Called To Say I Love You- featuring Raul Midon (also featuring
Stevie Wonder on harmonica)
Gelo No Montana- featuring Trey Anastasio
Having said this, while I think the music itself is quite pleasing and probably makes for a great CD, one should not buy this release thinking in terms of a concert or music video DVD. This is mostly a 90 minute documentary on the making of the "Possibilities" audio recording more than anything, as well as an in-depth look at Herbie and how he both thinks and works in musical terms in the studio. There are plenty of one one one interview snippets with Herbie reminiscing on his time playing with Miles as well as working with the musicians at hand, as well as the various artist discussing working with Hancock. Musically speaking you aren't going to get the songs in complete form, only bits and pieces of the recordings. While there are some truly beautiful musical interludes here, expect them to be short and leaving you wishing for more.
Video is presented here in 1.78:1 widescreen, enhanced for 16x9
televisions. Colors are deep and true and the picture seems very clean
and sharp, with blacks rendered very well. Frankly its a beautiful DVD
to watch; visually I find it hard to fault this disc.
Audio tracks available here are Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital
2.0. This is a clean enough track that is faithful to the material in
regards to spoken word. It lacks a bit of depth during the musical
segments, but bear in mind most songs here are only segments of studio
work and as such are unpolished; in that regard I find the audio fine given the
material. I listened to the 5.1 rendition and checked the 2.0 which is also a decent track.
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter About 9 minutes
long and apparently recorded in Japan, this is a music video- like
segment that cuts between the artists playing live and traveling in
Herbie Hancock and Trey Anastasio- A short 2 minute
piece of the two playing together at home segued with some outdoors footage.
How the viewer will regard this release depends on what they are looking
for; if you're wanting for a great Herbie Hancock documentary up close and in the studio, this disc is certainly for you. If your desire is to have a
complete visual take on the Possibilities CD you may come away
disappointed. What I got from it was some great insight on the man as
well as being introduced to what his new CD consists of; in essence a good
promotional video for the audio release that will probably entice you
to want to own both. Recommended.