After owning Herbie Hancocks Thrust
for about three months or so I’m still not sure how to classify it. Is it smooth-jazz? Elecrto-Funk? Smooth electro-funk? Space-jazz? Smooth-funk? Funky jazz? Jazzy funk? Jazz fusion? Funky fusion? Whatever it is I’ve liked it since day one, there’s just so many things to like about Hancocks 15th studio recording, Thrust
First of all the slick production fits the music perfectly. It captures the smooth basslines, groovy drumbeats, ethereal brass instruments, and jazzy guitar lines. The sounds that come from Thrust
are just so smooth and vibrant, the music captures your interest and takes you into another world. Right off the bat Mike Clarks jungle-ish drumbeats propel the laid-back opener Palm Grease
. Animated guitar jingles and Herbies signature jazz piano dominate most of the song creating a chilled out, relaxing funk jam. At just over ten minutes long Palm Grease
seems to go by so quick, the eclectic rhythms and melodies are just so bouncy and catchy that it’s almost impossible to ignore them.
Herbie showcases plenty of variation throughout the thirty-eight minutes of Thrust
. Actual Proof
shows heavy leanings towards funk as it’s powered by a slick bassline and various electric pianos and guitars. The quick paced tempo and medieval sounding electronics also benefit the song creating a mildly cheesy yet enjoyable atmosphere. Butterfly
is the most jazz inspired song as it’s driven by spacey brass instruments and subtle piano chords. Hancock immediately establishes a chilled out, relaxing atmosphere and keeps it throughout the song. For those of you craving another funk-inspired tune Thrust
closes with the top heavy Spank-A-Lee
. Musically the song is flooding with crisp sounding laser effects and choppy drum beats giving the song an extremely electrifying feel. It’s easily the most spontaneous song off the album and Herbie adds on so many layers of effects that it sounds like something coming from an space-aged sci-fi film.
If there’s one complaint I have about Thrust
it’s that it often seems like an extended jam session. While some songs have insanely catchy melodies and funky electronic effects the songs themselves don’t feature much direction. That being said Thrust
isn’t meant to be a deep or musically challenging listen, it’s just an entertaining and amusing piece of work.