Tuesday, January 21, 2020

This Week In Jazz: The New Standard

I'm no purist. Even if I occasionally shows signs of it, I'm really not. But if you told me that a collection of jazz takes on Peter Gabriel, Prince, Nirvana, Sade, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles and Don Henley among others, would become one of my favorite jazz records of all time, I'd politely ask you to leave.

I have loved Herbie Hancock's 1996 release "The New Standard" since its initial release. There was something truly special going on during these sessions, which feature Dave Holland, John Scofield, Michael Brecker, Don Alias and Jack DeJohnette, and include arrangements by my old pal, the late great Bob Belden. It's not just the appeal and familiarity of the pop melodies. Or the "what the hell" factor of the song choices. It's that "The New Standard" manages to create a truly remarkable collection of music that is accessible enough to catch the ears of those who might be on the fence about jazz without compromising the chops for the purists. That is the miracle performed by Mr. Hancock and his stellar cast of musicians. This record works because it has exactly what you need in any genre of music, great songs and great playing.

I have been jonesing for a vinyl release of "The New Standard" for years. It has only seen a vinyl release twice, once in South Korea (!) in 2012. Those copies fetch a couple of bills. And just last month, a new, gorgeous pressing and package was reissued in...you guessed it...SOUTH KOREA! (What's up with that, UMG?)

You can listen for free on YouTube, and all of your favorite streaming services and if you dig the tunes I've posted here, there's more to be had on "The New Standard."


Joe said...

Just ordered it. I forgot about this record. I have a bookshelf of cds from the sidemen on this record. Thanks for reminding me Sal. joe

Anonymous said...

Hancock is frustrating to me since I'm unable to recognize a style in his playing other than lots of chops. He is like his song, a chameleon. Maybe that's what Verve sees in him, since they like him for interpretations of other people's music (he's also done Gershwin and Joni Mitchell albums for them).

Christine said...

I'm not generally a big fan of Jazz--it makes my brain hurt! But I really enjoyed listening to "No Apologies" (of course) and "Thieves in the Temple". Thanks for sharing.