Stu Brewer - Studio Brewdio

Home of Stu Brewer and his explorations in guitar playing, teaching, creating and gear

Record Of The Week 18/12/16 - "Man-Child" by Herbie Hancock

For my first record of the week I've decided to go for Herbie Hancock's "Man-child".

This album was first brought to my attention while I was at ACM by the late great Eric Roche. Aside from being an awesome acoustic guitarists he was my sight reading and theory lecturer before his untimely death in 2005. This album is one of my enduring memories of him and was my first real introduction to non guitar based jazz. Although to call it a jazz album does it a disservice as it has a huge funk influence and you can hear its footprints on later albums by groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

He used the first track on the album, "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" as a sight reading exercise and an example of how a song can speed up to create momentum and still be awesome musically.  It starts off at a pedestrian 108bpm and gradually rises to almost 130bpm! We threw away our metronomes and learnt how to actually play with other musicians instead of sticking to a regimented tempo and that lesson has always stuck with me.

Beside the first track there's great tunes throughout the album. The squelchy synth bass in "Steppin' In It" (which to me sounds like an Arp Odyssey), the bpm shifting jam-like "The Traitor", the chilled out vibe of "Bubbles" and the Fender Rhodes stylings on "Sun Touch".

There's also some great guitar playing throughout by Wah Wah Watson (of Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye fame), Blackbird McKnight (who later went on to become the guitarist for Parliament and Funkadelic) and David T. Walker (again a guitar player for the Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye).

If you haven't heard this album before and are a fan of the funkier side of rock go check it out now.