Picks and Pans Review: The New Standard
updated 04/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 04/01/1996 AT 01:00 AM EST
The pianist who mastered his craft in the band of that great innovator Miles Davis combs through the work of rock's best songwriters in search of a new set of standard tunes to supplement the usual chestnuts. Hancock and his cohorts—drummer Jack Dejohnette, guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Dave Holland and percussionist Don Alias—transform Don Henley's "New York Minute" into a surging sea and Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street" into a propulsive, vaguely Near-Eastern magic-carpet ride.
This music isn't "fusion"—i.e., jazz players slumming on electronic instruments, noodling over a numbing funk beat. This is Hancock slamming back from artistic limbo to deliver invigorating, thoroughbred jazz. And maybe, in the process, inspiring his peers to find new springboards. (Verve)