Herbie Mann's music 1 of 4
Howard Mandel July 03, 03
"Comin' Home Baby," recorded live at the Village Gate, was Herbie Mann's breakthrough album -- simple blues, beguiling lead line unfolding over Ben Tucker's sturdy ostinato. Todayy, it sounds like a prototype of beatnik with bongos music, but I recently heard the tune covered, and it holds up. Herbie was not a profound melodicist, and didn''t go for the thick, heavy and buzzy tone of Rahsaan Roland Kirk or the penetrating sound of Yusef Lateef (who was contemporaneously exploring African and Asian flutes, instruments, motifs) or the advanced harmonies of Eric Dolphy. But he was a restless, curious and bold man. Bill Evans (the pianist) disliked their duo album Nirvana -- I think it's one of Mann's most earnest efforts. Memphis Underground had the great band of Larry Coryell AND Sonny Sharrock, with Mann's frequent drummer Bruno Carr, and wasn't Duane Allman on another of his jazz-rock albums from that period? Mann recorded with Whirling Dervishes, with Japanese ganraku musicians, withh Brazilians -- he was always Herbie Mann. He called the label he started in the 1990s Kokopelli, after the Southwestern Native American god of rain and fertility, always portrayed playing a flute (like pan). While not a heavyweight, Mann spread his muusic broadly for half a century. A fine run.
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