John Beasley – Letter to Herbie {2xHD}_24bit44kHz

John Beasley – Letter to Herbie {2xHD}_24bit44kHz

Contemporary Jazz, Piano

24bit/44.1kHz, FLAC tracks, Front cover + digital booklet

531 MB.

AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos

Keyboardist John Beasley has enjoyed success as a commercially oriented contemporary instrumentalist, and it is not surprising that he, like so many others, owes a debt of gratitude to Herbie Hancock. Beasley has chosen to rework some of the compositions Hancock made famous in his early days as a leader, and during the time with the funk/fusion band the Headhunters.

Playing mainly the acoustic piano and teamed with heavyweights Christian McBride and Jeff Watts, there’s a drive, verve, and passion in the trio that matches the pianist’s desire to take Hancock’s music to a different level. Trumpeter Roy Hargrove is teamed with flute player Steve Tavaglione for the most intriguing idea, combining the bass and piano underpinning of “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” under the lead line of “Maiden Voyage” and creating “Bedtime Voyage.” The two songs fit beautifully in the same key.

“Eye of the Hurricane” is rearranged, hinting at the original but incorporating some complex rhythm changes, with Hargrove extrapolating on the original theme played by Freddie Hubbard. “4 A.M.” goes into alternating phases from funky to hard bop to staggered phrasings, a very busy and fun alteration.

McBride and Watts are enjoying adapting these tunes they also deem precious, using pedal points, complex and driven rhythm devices on the elongated version of Hancock’s “One Finger Snap” that Beasley has written as “Three Finger Snap.” The project overall tends to lose momentum on the light funk of “Chan’s Song,” the ballad waltz written by Wayne Shorter “Diana,” Beasley’s melodic original “Hear & Now,” Hancock’s “Still Time” and the reggae flavored “The Naked Camera.”

The pianist himself is a worthy foil for his acclaimed workmates, and in fact has never sounded better. More than up to the task, he is able to push and pull the bass and drums seemingly at will, and possesses impressive chops and witty ideas that flow throughout. This is a fledgling effort for the Resonance label of which Beasley is a major contributor and an A&R man. This is a credible and laudable effort.

01. 4 A.M. (5:53)
02. Bedtime Voyage (6:11)
03. Chan’s Song (6:18)
04. Three Finger Snap (4:34)
05. The Naked Camera (5:19)
06. Eye of the Hurricane (4:17)
07. Diana (4:22)
08. Hear and Now (6:18)
09. Still Time (4:06)
10. Vein Melter (3:24)

John Beasley – acoustic piano, fender rhodes piano, synthesizer
Christian McBride – acoustic and electric bass
Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums
Roy Hargrove – trumpet
Steve Tavaglione – alto flute, bass clarinet, synthesizer
Michael O’Neill – guitar
Louis Conte – percussion

Producer, Executive Producer: George Klabin
Co-Producer: Joseph Donofrio
Engineers: George Klabin and Pierre Paul
Album Cover: John Davidson, JRocket77 Design
Blue Funk art image by Aaron Waugh – 2005
Photo: Tim Sassoon, Sassoon Film
Artist Relations: Lorna Chiu
Personal Manager: Joseph Donofrio
Liner notes by George Klabin and John Beasley

2xHD Mastering: Rene Laflamme
2xHD Executive Producer: Andre Perry

—–Test the Quality: Track 02. Bedtime Voyage

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