For the rabid audiophiles in Japan, Herbie Hancock went to Tokyo to record a direct-to-disc LP that later became one of the world's earliest CD releases. Due perhaps to the arduous one-take-only nature of the direct-to-disc process, Hancock takes the rare step of using a second keyboardist, Webster Lewis, to handle the multiple electronic textures; the rest of the cast is a quorum of Headhunters (Bennie Maupin, reeds; Paul Jackson, bass; Bill Summers, percussion), plus guitarist Ray Obiedo and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. Understandably, the music sometimes sounds a bit inhibited and structured, but there are some refreshingly jarring rhythmic disruptions in "Butterfly," "Shiftless Shuffle" eventually develops a fine roadhouse groove, and the extended "I Thought It Was You" cuts the original version on Sunlight. The LP sound is excellent, especially the rock-solid bass and drums.
by Richard S. Ginell