Friday, December 10, 2010
HANCOCK SHORTER HOLLAND BLADE : THE GREAT MYSTERY
In 2004, this quartet launched an incredible tour. They called it "The Forensic Music Tour ". Herbie spoke about how the quartet worked from skeleton arrangements: "We're constantly reclassifying the bones - it's forensic music.". The three elder statesmen seemed to be playing from a very, very deep well that they have developed throughout their long careers. The ghost of Tony Williams emanated from the younger Mr. Blade's drums, who proved himself more than capable of riding any currents these great Lions pursued. Steering the direction at times was his role as well. A most kind and generous person provided me with an elaborate set of private recordings from this tour, all of excellent quality. It is one of the best gifts I have ever received. This is music of the highest order. It often seems to me to be emanating from a place beyond this mortal plain. Not surprisingly, there are deep echoes from the Miles "Classic" Quintet era, as well as a sense of the early "absence of ego" improvisation that the 1st incarnation of Weather Report created. These are Master Painters spinning tone poems into the ether. It is like they are riding bicycles though space. Herbie's playing is a culmination of so much of the greatness he has produce in his 7 decades...always Jazz, but often recalling the great mastery of Debussy . Wayne plays so much from the heart and the mind....reaching down deep to thrust out into the great unknown with never a false step. Holland, as always , a great master who you never notice until you do , and then...there he is effortlessly moving ahead and taking you with him. For me, Miles' classic "Filles de Kilimanjaro" has always been one of my most treasured listening experiences....one I return to every year and still find fresh. I never thought I would find music like it ever again ... and then, along comes 2004 and HSHB and there it was...an extension, a variation, but born of the same stream without a doubt.
And so... the Great Mystery . Why has this music never been officially released ? The current Wayne Shorter group, which shares much in common with HSHB, has a great "official" representation...both live and studio. There is a DVD available. But there is so much great music in the set of recordings I have... indeed every concert is drastically different even though the selections are the same.....that is tragic that it is not available for the world.. a world that would benefit greatly from the great inspiration and healing this music provides. The historical and artistic importance of this tour is epic. Imagine if there were a cache of Monet's or Van Goghs discovered and not released to the world. Such is the case here.
Respecting the artists' right to have this music remain private until they deem otherwise, I cannot post it here. But here are links to performances on Youtube where you can soak in this music and see these masters at work. Here is a set of links to make it easier to watch all of these:
Jazz A Vienne Parts 1-7
Visitor From Nowhere