Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cantaloupe Island

There's so much to love in this clip. The amused, disbelieving looks Omar Hakim and Stanley Clarke give Herbie Hancock as he teases and teases the intro to the tune. The grins Hakim and Hancock exchange towards the end of Hancock's solo. How locked in Clarke and Hakim are during their duet, and Hakim's razor-sharp right foot which seems to be synced to the atomic clock in Boulder. The way Clarke stomps on the riser almost as though he were headbanging, before he waves off Hakim at the end, signifying surrender—and any musician that can get Clarke to even pretend to be impressed by technique is a serious monster. Shorter patting Clarke's shoulder in sympathy immediately thereafter.

Most of all, of course, it's the joy and intensity with which all these musicians approach this tune they've played so many times, especially Hancock and Shorter. Shorter attacks his solo like he's been waiting years for the opportunity. And the way Hancock transitions from a ferocious, almost Jerry Lee Lewis-like pounding of the keys to a gentle introspection in the space of about a quarter second is magical.

Giants still walk the earth.

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