THE NEW STANDARD is a collection of reinterpretations of modern pop songs by Nirvana, Prince, The Beatles, Sade and others.
Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano); Michael Brecker (soprano & tenor saxophones); Lester Lovitt, Oscar Brashear (trumpet, flugelhorn); Suzette Moriarty (French horn); Maurice Spears (bass trombone); Sam Riney, William E. Green (flute, alto flute); Gary Herbig (flute, bass clarinet); Gene Cipriano (oboe, English horn); Lili R. Haydn, Margaret R. Wootn, Richard S. Greene (violin); Cameron L. Stone (cello); John Scofield (acoustic & electric guitars, electric sitar); Dave Holland (acoustic bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums, electronic percussion); Don Alias (percussion).
Recorded at Manhattan Center Studios, New York, New York and Signet Sound, West Hollywood, California.
"Manhattan (Island Of Lights And Love)" won a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition.
The voices are instantly recognizable. Jack DeJohnette's percussive timekeeping has an unmistakable feel to it--full, tight, busy. John Scofield's bright and warm guitar always slides right into the groove. And Herbie Hancock's mastery of the piano--exquisite voicings, inventive lines and precise time--combines with his and Bob Belden's insightful arrangements. The songs are standards, but not like you've ever heard them before.
Herbie Hancock has truly created THE NEW STANDARD, and it makes perfect sense. One wonders why, in an age of incestuous contemporary jazz, no one has successfully mined the wealth of recent American popular music. After all, one of the foundations of jazz itself has been the recycling and reinterpreting of "standards" taken from the great American songbook--tunes by Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, Johnny Mercer, et al. These icons were responsible for much of the popularity of jazz in the past. Yet one of the problems with jazz today is that most of its listeners weren't even alive when these masters were in bloom.
Hancock does exactly what the old giants of jazz did: apply his keen ear to the songs and sounds of contemporary popular music, and he plays what he hears. Thus we have a frenetic version of Don Henley's "New York Minute," a grooving "Mercy Street" that benefits from Don Alias' percussion, a swinging "Scarborough Fair," and equally creative takes on Prince, Stevie Wonder, Nirvana and The Beatles. Throughout, Hancock, DeJohnette, Scofield, Dave Holland and Michael Brecker blow like the stunning dream team that they are.