In the 1970s, Herbie Hancock created a successful blend of jazz improvisation and contemporary funk rhythms in a succession of albums beginning with the classic Head Hunters. On Dis Is Da Drum, Hancock once again takes a dive into contemporary rhythms, in this case mid-'90s hip-hop. While the blend was not as commercially successful this time around as his crossover forays of twenty years earlier had been, the resulting music still proves to be well worth checking out. Employing cohorts like Bennie Maupin, Wah Wah Watson and multi-percussionist Bill Summers from the old days, and combining them with a huge roster of contemporary jazz, rap and hip-hop musicians, Hancock creates a surprising album full of samples, sequences, drum loops, and rhythm armies. Layered across the top are a variety of solos from Hancock himself, flutist Hubert Laws, trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Maupin and vocal snippets from various sources. The release of this album was delayed because of disagreements between the artist and his record company over the final mixes. It is, nonetheless, a recording that rewards repeated listening, from the updated version of "Butterfly," which made its first appearance on 1974's Thrust, to such irresistible gems as "Mojuba," "Bo Ba Be Da" and the title track. Not for jazzers whose ears and minds are closed to new sounds and ideas, but proof that jazz is a continually evolving music capable of absorbing the sounds of each new era and expanding its vocabulary as a result.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Newsom