John Beasley Music

“Innovative arrangements with interplay that Hancock has always enjoyed in performance.”

–ALLL ABOUT JAZZ

“Beasley’s bright chords, shimmering arpeggios and bristling accents leave no doubt about his debt to Hancock.”

JAZZ IMPROV

Description:

Jazz pianist John Beasley embarks upon a supremely inspired effort with his new album, Letter to Herbie, taking its cues from both the philosophies and compositions of music great Herbie Hancock. The 10-song CD features Beasley reshaping classic works from across several decades of Hancock’s catalog while also contributing originals that bear the stamp of his ideologies. Beasley is primarily showcased in a trio format flanked by first-call bassist Christian McBride and propulsive drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, with special guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove sitting in on a few numbers and the addition of flautist Steve Tavaglione, percussionist Luis Conte and guitarist Michael O’Neal adding color to a few others.

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Musicians

John Beasley:  Piano, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Synthesizer

Christian McBride:  Acoustic and Electric Bass

Jeff  ‘Tain’  Watts:  Drums

Roy Hargrove:  Trumpet

Steve Tavaglione:  Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet

Michael O’Neill:  Guitar

Luis Conte:  Percussion

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

“Beasley and his group do a superb job reinventing some of his masterpieces. Beasley’s arrangements of “The Naked Camera” and “Vein Melter” are funkier and livelier than Hancock’s versions.  Letter to Herbie is an excellent tribute to an excellent musician.”

ALEGRO MUSIC.COM

“A contender for one of the top 10 jazz albums of the year.”

DRUMMER UK

“Beasley has brilliantly interpreted Hancock’s music.”

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

“Innovative arrangements with interplay that Hancock has always enjoyed in performance.”

JAZZ TIMES

“Bedtime Voyage, a clever blend”

ALL MUSIC GUIDE

“There’s a drive, verve, and passion in the trio that matches the pianist’s desire to take Hancock’s music to a different level.
[John Beasley] has never sounded better…possesses impressive chops and witty ideas. This is a credible and laudable effort.”

JAZZ IMPROV

“Beasley’s bright chords, shimmering arpeggios and bristling accents leave no doubt about his debt to Hancock.”

JAZZ WEEK

“Speaking of re-harmonizations…whew! Bedtime Voyage” is the standout…along with “Eye Of the Hurricane.”

POP MATTERS.COM

“[John Beasley] simply lets Herbie’s spirit wash over him, channeling that chordal aggregate and lyrical fizz     into elegantly conceived quasi-covers, redefinitions and Hancock-ian originals.”

URBAN NETWORK

“The instant classic is “Bedtime Voyage.”

ALL ABOUT JAZZ

“Letter to Herbie – John Beasley | Resonance Records (2008)”
By WILBERT SOSTRE – Published: January 20, 2011

Those who don’t yet know John Beasley are missing the opportunity to hear one of the best pianists and improvisers on the jazz scene today. Beasley is a master musician, with total command of the jazz language, and his playing is always intense in both emotion and technique.

John Beasley’s 2009 album, Positootly (Resonance) was nominated, more than deservedly, for a Grammy Award for best jazz instrumental album. Even though Letter to Herbie, his previous album released in 2008, was not nominated for a Grammy, it might as well have been.

Both albums have striking similarities in the quality of the music and musicians; every one of them is at the top of their game on this album. What comes out of this group of jazz giants is music that keeps the mind engaged and always guessing what’s coming up next; with constant tempo changes and creative, virtuosic improvisations.

Contrary to Positootly’s collection of mostly Beasley originals, Letter to Herbie is dedicated to the music of Herbie Hancock. The swinging “Three Finger Snap” and the elegant “Here and Now” are the only John Beasley originals on the album, both featuring the rhythmic and harmonic complexity to stand beside Hancock’s compositions.

Taking on the music of Herbie Hancock, one of the best pianists in jazz history, is not an easy task, but Beasley and his group do a superb job reinventing some of his masterpieces. Beasley’s arrangements of “The Naked Camera” and “Vein Melter” are funkier and livelier than Hancock’s versions, while the waltz-like arrangement of “Diana” and fast swinging tempo of “Eye of the Hurricane” are closer to the originals.

Letter to Herbie is an excellent tribute to an excellent musician.