In August, the quartet met at Peter Sæverud’s studio to make a demo of the Hunting for Hancock project. Since all was to take place during 1 day, we had to limit ourselves to 4 tunes, and these should represent different modes of Hancock’s music.
To start with, we did Dolphin dance, his mid tempo swing classic. This tune represents a challenge in makin coherent phrases through the rather challenging chord progressions and modulations. To assist me, I did a full transcription of the original solo of Hancock’s album Maiden voyage (1965). The learning experience of transcribing the piece was great, since I was able to reveal the link between the material of the phrases and the chord progressions.
Next, we did Maiden voyage from the same album. The choice was made to add modal jazz to the repertoire. I did not attempt at transcribing the original solo, but aimed throughout my own solo to sparsely implement the idea of playing outside my moving to levels thirds above the underlying chords. I will try to pick up ideas from some of Herbie’s solos on this tune at a later stage.
Thirdly, we did Chameleon from his album Headhunters (1973), to move to the electric funk area. As a fifth element in our quartet, we added my laptop running the synth bass riff of the opening part of the tune, triggered as a clip in Ableton Live. This riff, I have captured from a bootleg recording of Hancock and stripped down Headhunters band. It is actually a broadcast concert from the Ultrasonic studios in Hempstead, New York on October 1st 1973. As you can hear from the demo, some applause from audience is audible as part of the end of each cycle of the loop. I made 2 presets on my Yamaha S80 to resemble Hancock’s real Fender Rhodes piano. The first preset is a Rhodes patch with my footcontroller connected to the filter cutoff parameter, This way I can imitate Hancock’s wah-wah effect. For the solo part, on the chords Bbm7 – B/Db, I use the same S80 Rhodes patch with added delay and distortion.
We also taped One finger snap from his album Empyrean isles (1964).
Demo recording of Dolphin dance
Demo recording of Maiden voyage