Herbie Hancock

Future 2 Future Live

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Jazz and electronic music are oft referred to as two sides of the same coin. However, when they become too closely intertwined, the results can often be disastrous. As one of the first jazzmen to move from bebop to fusion to post-fusion electronics, Herbie Hancock can usually balance the two sounds better than most. When it works, he creates classics like "Rocket" (his biggest hit and the record that introduced the urban sound of scratching to the most of the world.) But when it doesn't, you end up with the Future 2 Future Live concert. This live show, recorded at Hancock's 2002 performance at L.A.'s Knitting Factory, attempts to capture the modern essence of Hancock's Future 2 Future album, a better than average affair that brought such forward-thinking producers as Carl Craig and Bill Laswell into the fold. But without their presence, Hancock and his jazz-trained players (with the exception of turntablist DJ Disk) seem to be merely reenacting the music -- old dogs just learning new tricks. So while its good to know that such Hancock classics as the 30-year-old "Dolphin Dance" and his '70s hit "Chameleon" can be updated with modern sounds, you have to wonder why anyone would want to. Most tragic is "Rocket," which is reduced from its electro-prototype greatness into a far lesser nu-jazz groove. The DVD itself is less than compelling, with a bare minimum of extras, including all too brief Hancock interviews, limited to him talking about how great his touring musicians are. The flat live audio recording doesn't gain much fidelity in 5.1 Surround Sound and the video is your standard PBS-quality fare with obvious angles and edits. This is a release strictly for the type of pasty Guitar Center muso-geeks who fill almost the entire audience. All others feel free to save your time.

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