Jazz CD Reviews

Herbie Hancock – V.S.O.P. – Live Under The Sky; Columbia/Legacy

The Miles Davis Quartet without Davis but with the energetic trumpet of Freddie Hubbard

Published on July 23, 2005

Herbie Hancock – V.S.O.P. – Live Under The Sky; Columbia/Legacy
Herbie Hancock – V.S.O.P. – Live Under The Sky; Columbia/Legacy C2K 87165 2-disc CD ****:  

V.S.O.P. was name of the touring band formed in 1977 made up of the
members of Miles Davis’ second “great quartet” without Davis
himself.  The band included saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist
Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams—are
superb musicians in their own right.  In the 1960s the band was
responsible for creating a sub-genre of jazz called freebop.  The
reunion show recorded on these discs took place in 1979.  The
first disc was recorded on July 26th at Denon Colosseum in Tokyo, Japan
and the second disc was recorded on July 27th.  The group needed a
trumpet player to be complete and Freddie Hubbard fills the spot
nicely.  Unlike Davis’ cool horn sound, Hubbard plays with fire
and energy.  The disc insert has liner notes written by Hancock in
2004 and a nice history of the band and the record.  “Eye of the
Hurricane” was omitted from the original recording, and the second
night was previously unreleased.  As acoustic jazz was flailing
(as most of the record industry) in 1979 in the United States, the band
went abroad and found a ready, willing, and inspiring crowd in
Japan.  Although Shorter was busy with Weather Report and may not
have had time to compose material for this performance, the other
members share in the composition of the tunes.  

The second night has two additional tunes that were popularized by
Miles Davis.  The performances differ from night to night in other
ways as well.  Unlike canned rock shows, jazz shows can go lots of
different directions.  There is variety among the tunes as
well—track five is much funkier than the other material.  This
performance is one of the earlier digital recordings—made direct to
Sony 1610 tape.  Contrary to what one might think, it sounds quite
good—better, in fact, than many recordings made today.  With the
star power on this record there is no way the music could be bad and in
this case–far from it.  Live jazz lovers should jump on this
one.  Songs included are:  Disc 1: Opening; Eye Of The
Hurricane; Tear Drop; Domo; Para Oriente; Pee Wee; One Of Another Kind;
Fragile.  Disc 2: Opening; Eye Of The Hurricane; Tear Drop; Domo;
Para Oriente; Pee Wee; One Of Another Kind; Fragile; Stella by
Starlight; On Green Dolphin Street.

-Brian Bloom




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