John Beasley – Letter To Herbie (2008/2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

John Beasley – Letter To Herbie (2008/2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz  | Time – 50:42 minutes | 531 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Booklet, Front Cover | © 2xHD

Acclaimed jazz keyboardist and Grammy-nominee John Beasley pays tribute to the great Herbie Hancock in Letter to Herbie. On this 10-song album listeners can hear Beasley’s two original songs, Three Finger Snap and Here and Now. Overall, Letter to Herbie is a powerful way for Beasley to say thank you to one of his musical heros.

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.
02 – Bedtime Voyage
03 – Chan’s Song
04 – Three Finger Snap
05 – Blow-Up: Blow-Up: The Naked Camera
06 – Eye of the Hurricane
07 – Diana
08 – Hear and Now
09 – Still Time
10 – Vein Melter

Produced by George Clabin. Engineered by George Clabin & Pierre Paul.
2xHD Mastering by: René Laflamme. 2xHD Executive Producer: André Perry.

John Beasley – piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, synthesizer
Steve Tavaglione – alto flute, bass clarinet, synthesizer
Roy Hargrove – trumpet
Michael O’Neill – guitar
Christian McBride – acoustic & electric bass
Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts – drums
Luis Conte – percussion