QUINCY JONES / “Tell Me A Bedtime Story”

herbie hancock 21.jpg I’ve always been more impressed with Herbie Hancock’s composing and arranging than with his soloing. It is true that he is a great soloist but in the final analysis his arrangments and compositions are his most lasting contribution to jazz legacy. Hancock has done what few of his peers were able to do: in a wide variety of styles, compose music that became standards. Undoubtedly Hancock’s most popular work was his fusion songs with his group The Headhunters, and leading that group would be the mega-hit, "Chameleon" and also his fusion reworking of “Watermelon Man.” herbie hancock 24.jpg For my taste the album Maiden Voyage (1965) was the pinnacle of Hancock’s composing in a progressive jazz bag. Of course it helped tremendously that the band was the Miles Davis band of that period with Freddie Hubbard filling the trumpet spot and Freddie was ready, in fact he was super ready. All of Freddie’s solos are outstanding, as was the work of the rest of the band: George Coleman on tenor, Ron Carter on bass and the young monster, Tony Williams on drums. Maiden Voyage is one of the most soothing and relaxing jazz albums ever recorded but it was simultaneously filled with tense, experimental moments during which the musicians inventively explored melody, rhythm and harmony with an openness that was startling. In addition to seven versions of the title selection, I’ve included five versions of “Dolphin Dance,” another seletion from the Maiden Voyage album. The third featured Hancock composition is “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” from Herbie’s Fat Albert Rotunda album. This is the kind of music that prefigured smooth jazz. And that’s it: three tunes from the pen of Herbie Hancock, but they are three genre shaping compositions that remain jazz standards over forty years after they were first recorded. —Kalamu ya Salaam “Maiden Voyage” playlist herbie hancock maidenvoyage cover.jpg 1. Herbie Handcock – Maiden Voyage (1965) This is the original. Check out Mr. Hubbard’s fantastic solo and also the amazing drumming of the young Tony Williams, who was a teenager at the time.   jon lucien my lady cover.jpg 2. Jon Lucien – Song For My Lady (1975) A smooth Caribbean man who was another originator of what we now call smooth jazz. Lucien was particularly adept at fitting lyrics to jazz compositions, mainly his own compositions but also those of others. bobby hutcherson blow up cover.jpg 3. Bobby Hutcherson – Blow Up LIVE (1969 – bootleg) Recorded at the Juan les Pins Jazz Festival in France, the line-up is Harold Land on tenor, Stanley Cowell on piano, Joe Chambers on drums, and Hutcherson on vibes. In addition to becoming the heir to the jazz vibes throne, Hutcherson was also one part of the Blue Note new jazz artists of the sixties and frequently recorded with the musicians on Hancock’s Maiden Voyage album. shades of blue cover.jpg 4. Dianne Reeves and Geri Allen – Bob Belden’s Shades of Blue (1994) Regular BoL followers know that I am a big, big fan of Dianne Reeves and she doesn’t disappoint in this sensitive reading of Herbie’s classic composition, plus there’s the hip, hip keyboard work of Ms. Geri Allen to lift the whole proceedings up an extra notch. This is another combination that ought to make an album together. robert glasper element cover.jpg 5. Robert Glasper – In My Element (2007) Robert Glasper is one of “the” young monsters of the acoustic keyboard. For me it’s the richness of his imagination that attracts and rewards repeated listenings. He pairs Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” with “Maiden Voyage” for a peek-a-boo, simultaneous exploration of the two songs as though they were entwined at birth. leny andrade maiden cover.jpg 6. Leny Andrade – Maiden Voyage (1994) Brazilian jazz vocalist Leny Andrade loving stretches out on her version as though she were a purple kite dipping and soaring through a bright blue spring sky.   sf jazz collective cover.jpg 7. SF Jazz Collective – Live 2006: 3rd Annual Concert Tour This is a repertory band that annually performs the works of a selected jazz artist. The 2006 focus was on the music of Herbie Hancock. The featured soloist is Bobby Hutcherson but it’s 35 years after the quartet recording at the top of this playlist. Bobby is no less brilliant, in fact he’s even more mesmerizing.

* * *
  “Dolphin Dance” playlist herbie hancock maidenvoyage cover.jpg 8. Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage (1965) We return to the original, one more once…     chano con alma cover.jpg 9. Chano Dominguez – Con Alma (2004) Most knowledgeable critics consider Chano the leading jazz pianist in Spain.   jazz jamaica massive cover.jpg 10. Jazz Jamaica Allstars – Massive (2004) What do you get when you mash up jazz and ska? Well, if you’re Gary Crosby’s Jazz Jamaica Allstars you get some great music. Odd enough to be different, swinging enough to be hip, plus it’s authentic jazz from ensemble work to solos. blue note 7 mosaic cover.jpg 11. The Blue Note 7 – Mosaic (2009) Here’s another repertory outfit but this time it’s talented journeymen playing music of their preceding generation—cats who came of age in the eighties and nineties playing music found on Blue Note Records from the sixties and the seventies. The line up is: Nicholas Payton- trumpet,
 Steve Wilson - alto saxophone & flute,
 Ravi Coltrane - tenor saxophone, 
Peter Bernstein – guitar,
 Bill Charlap – piano, 
Peter Washington – bass, and
 Lewis Nash – drums. ajmad jamal freeflight cover.jpg 12. Ahmad Jamal – Freeflight (1971) Ahmad Jamal is the only major jazz pianist who completely changed his approach to the piano after he had established a unique and influential style. About the closet analogy I can make is Tiger Woods changing his golf swing after he’s become the world’s greatest golfer. Early Jamal was a minimalist, left a lot of spaces in the music that he filled with strategic silences. Contemporary Jamal is a cornucopia of technique and imagination, it pours out of his fingers with the flow and force of cascades at Niagara Falls.
* * *
“Tell Me A Bedtime Story” playlist herbie hancock complete warner cover.jpg 13. Herbie Hancock – Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (2008) “Bedtime Story” was originally on the Fat Albert Rotunda (1969) album. I believe that Herbie's best ballad writing is represented by "Bedtime Story" and "Chan's Song" (co-written with Stevie Wonder for the movie Round Midnight). norman connors remember cover.jpg 14. Norman Connors – Remember Who You Are (1993) It’s under drummer Norman Connors’ name but it’s vocalist Eve Cornelious’ show. Sister is an outstanding lyricist and a mighty, mighty vocalist. I’m anxiously awaiting (hint, hint) an album of covers and jazz standards. howard johnson right now cover.jpg 15. Howard Johnson – Right Now (1998) Howard Johnson is a multi-instrumentalist phenomenon. His main ax is the tuba—yeah, the tuba and he can play it like it was a trumpet, and on a good day he can make it sound as sweet as a French horn. On this cut though he picks up a third instrument: a penny whistle. You’ve got to give my man his propers. I’ve heard of one man bands, but this cat is a whole brass and woodwind section. quincy jones sounds cover.jpg 16. Quincy Jones – Sounds… And Stuff Like That (1978) All I going to say about this one is listen to how Q. has arranged the strings. Listen.  

This entry was posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2009 at 6:46 pm and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “QUINCY JONES / “Tell Me A Bedtime Story””

Big E Says:
March 2nd, 2009 at 9:08 pm

There are plenty of versions of “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” out there, but one comes to mind is from Pieces of a Dream from their “Imagine This” album released around 1983 or ’84. Produced by the late Grover Washington, Jr.

Leave a Reply

| top |