Friday, August 15, 2008

Herbie At Newport

National Public Radio in the U.S. is now streaming last weekend's performance at the Newport Jazz Festival by Herbie Hancock's River Of Possibilities project.

It's not often that a jazz artist mounts a tour that's as much a set-piece as this band presented. Just about every stop this summer the band opened with Hancock's fusion chestnut "Actual Proof" and ended with an extended, funked-up workout on "Chameleon." In between, guitarist Lionel Loueke got a long solo piece, and singers Sonya Kitchell and Amy Keys had showcase songs. Both times I caught the show, the highlight was a long central section featuring solos by bassist Dave Holland and Hancock on acoustic piano. Unfortunately, that part of the standard set is absent from the Newport performance, but check it out, if for nothing more than the pleasure of hearing Holland playing more Fender bass than he has since leaving Miles Davis in 1970.

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