og:image" content=""https://s12.postimg.org/akaze8k99/blog.png"" /> Gidman's Treasures And Nuggets: THE SECRET HERBIE HANCOCK ALBUM.....JUST ARRIVED IN THE POST

Friday, 13 June 2008


Hear O Israel


"Funny one this. And it all came about by accident. Well sort of. I`d been lent this album about five years ago by John Cooper, the legendary underground music dealer. Last year I was discussing the album with him again, and we were both under the impression that this privately pressed album, called Hear O Israel, was no longer owned by anyone. So I put my detective hat and mac on and set about trying to find the owners. And eventually I did, and they are a large organisation called the URJ based in NYC. I went to see them in fact, and suggested that it would be a smashing idea to get this lost and very unique recording back into circulation. They asked me “why?” and I told them that it was one of the most beautiful recordings I have ever heard and needed to be heard again, because bugger all people heard it the first time round. And they said yes. Enthusiastically yes. So, I am thrilled, and shortly will be presenting Hear O Israel to the world again, and it is one of the most beautiful recordings I have ever heard. I can think of nothing quite like it.

Little is really known about it, so here is what we do know. The album was originally commissioned by Rabbi David Davis, recorded and then pressed in 1968, and includes the following musicians:

Herbie Hancock - piano
Jerome Richardson - flute, tenor and alto sax
Grady Tate  drums
Thad Jones  trumpet and flugelhorn
Ron Carter  bass
Jonathan Klein  composer, French horn and baritone
Rabbi David Davis  reader
Antonia Lavannne  soprano
Phyllis Bryn-Julson - contralto

The recording is a concert in jazz and prayer, and is one of the most sublime, spiritual recordings I have ever had the joy of listening too. Adding to the jazz is the occasional traditional Jewish prayer, sung by a female soprano and contralto, or narrated briefly by the Rabbi.

This most unusual, dare I say, unique recording has never been issued properly. We believe the recording was only available through the URJ, and was never commercially released. It is now licensed to Trunk Records exclusively worldwide.

I can`t show the artwork at the moment simply because it`s not finished, but here are some scans that will reveal a little more

SOUNDS OF THE UNIVERSE AGREES....."Wow! Jazz reissue of the year alert! BEAUTIFUL deep modal jazz with religious singing!

This is a truly incredible and almost totally unknown album from 1968 that was released on a tiny independent label run by a New York Jewish organisation in an extremely small run of only a few hundred copies. That it has remained obscure until now is surprising given the outstanding quality of the music and the all-star line up: the group is led by none other than the great Herbie Hancock, alongside a host of other top-flight New York jazz musicians including Grady Tate, Ron Carter, and Thad Jones.

The rediscovery of a long-lost classic-era album featuring all these great players would be reason enough to celebrate, but it's even more exciting than that, because this album combines deep NY modal jazz with Middle-Eastern-sounding Hebrew religious singing and even a narration from a Rabbi on a couple of tracks! - a unique, unusual, and jaw-droppingly beautiful fusion!

The project was conceived and composed by the 17 year old jazz-obsessed son of Massachusetts-based rabbi Joseph Klein, Jonathan Klein, who went on to study music at the prestigious Berklee School of Music. His idea was to use jazz in a religious context as an act of prayer and celebration, and the unique combination of searching, yearning deep late sixties modal jazz with the keening spirituality of the Hebrew singing really works!

Herbie Hancock was at the height of his powers in 1968 and was searching for new directions in which to take his music - he recorded his Fat Albert Rotunda album in the same year, which pointed towards his future jazz fusion directions - and this album represents a pinnacle of 1960s deep jazz experimentation, and definitely ranks as one of our favourite Herbie Hancock albums!

In short, this is an absolutely ESSENTIAL album for any fan of deep jazz!

Very VERY highly recommended!

Don't sleep on this!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the dope history on this ill herbie record, Gidman. i always wanted to know some of the stories behind it. thanks a lot and keep up the good work.

    -Forgotten Worlds