Naima is one of those magic numbers that kisses almost every musician that tries it on (and the rest of us). Just listen to Michael Brecker playing his heart out on this version. The rest of the album has plenty of moments too – hardly surprising given the line-up here – but that one track alone is worth the price of admission.
We have to admit, we had a lot of misgivings about this project before we gave it a chance and listened to it all the way through — but after all was said and done, we were quite impressed! While Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove and Michael Brecker all have the chops, recognition and reputations to make as many new recordings as they'd like, without resorting to pandering tributes, this project actually works beautifully and makes great sense. The group is rounded out by the elastic rhythms provided by John Patitucci (who seems to have graduated well beyond the sort of 6 string noodling he usually purveys) and Brian Blade. In most cases, we'd rather hear Miles doing Miles and Trane doing Trane, but this group manages to capture both the dark, brooding beauty of Miles' music and the deeper, soulful vein that Coltrane mined. Herbie sounds the best we've heard in ages and the highlight of this live set is a medley of Miles' "So What" and Coltrane's "Impressions", while the rest of the set is made up mostly of originals (2 more Coltrane pieces, "Naima" and "Tansition" are included) composed by members of the group like Hancock's "The Sorcerer" and Hargrove's "The Poet".
From the downbeat of the opening tune, The Sorcerer, Herbie Hancock reminds us why he was and is one of the most sought after pianist in the genre. His deftness, technique and mastery of the instrument and the music holds this group together with the same quality that he was noted for while a sideman for Miles Davis in the 60s. He masterfully connects this group’s form together and its opening sets the tone for the whole recording.
Whereas Michel Brecker isn’t considered to be in the forefront of the classical jazz idiom, his presence on this record is no aberration. He definitely shines in a solo rendition of Coltrane’s Naima. He proves, that his study of the master tenor man’s style has influenced his greatly. His own contribution to the project entitled, D-Train, is a fifteen-minute epilogue. It meanders through different time signatures while holding steady to its defining rhythm. Herbie Hancock does some of his best work on the recording in the improv section.
The young lion added to the project is Roy Hargrove. The ever-emerging Grammy award-winning trumpeter is no less than continuing the line of great players that spun the likes of Miles Davis. From is his first solo on The Sorcerer, where he begins his playing away from the microphone and hits you with an unyielding fury of notes and sound, the listener will be encompassed. Hargrove’s contribution, The Poet, is an obvious attempt, and by his own admission, to make use of space in the music. Space in the music is a trademark of Davis’. And like Davis, in this piece he seems to be searching for something in the music. His play is an example of his growth both as composer and soloist.
Another worth-reading review here too
And another date from the same tour (Aspen) was posted here on drfusion.blogspot