And, if you are prepared to listen to and dance along to the tunes here, I think that you will too.
Gilles Peterson: DJ; Lionel Loueke: guitars, vocals.
Produced by Gilles Peterson and Alex Patchwork
In 2020, Loueke released ‘HH’, an album of Herbie Hancock tunes. This was well received and, given how long Loueke spent in Hancock’s band, you’d expect Loueke to have an intimate understanding of the structure of these tunes.
While ‘HH’ imagined Hancock’s tunes through Loueke’s playing, this new album imagines Louke’s imagined version. In this respect, while titles of Hancock’s tunes are used to name the pieces here, there is very little left from the original versions.
To complicate matters, rather than an actual remix (of the ‘HH’ recordings) Loueke creates new lines inspired by ‘HH’ and these are mixed by Peterson and layered with club rhythms and beats. So, ‘Watermelon Man’ or ‘One finger snap’ have none of the melody and little of the structure of their originals.
In this case, the degree of ‘reimagining’ becomes a matter of falling through mirrors. The sections that have been used as the foundations of these mixes are most likely to draw on Loueke’s Beninese-inspired rhythms and guitar loops washed with electronic effects.
The balance between Loueke’s rhythmic lines and guitar distortions and the undulating beats creates a distinct musical language in which Peterson’s enthusiasm in world music and club rhythms complements Loueke’s marriage of traditional rhythms and imaginative guitar lines.
Of course, with chart bothering tunes such as ‘Rockit’, Hancock wasn’t averse to producing music that could get people dancing. One imagines that he’d enjoy the rhythms and beats on this album. And, if you are prepared to listen to and dance along to the tunes here (and dismiss the concept of Hancock originals from your mind), I think that you will too.
Reviewed by Chris Baber