During Herbie Hancock's phase with his side band “the headhunters” this is without a doubt the bands most funkiest album that the band has produced. Man Child
shows Herbie and the Headhunters slightly drifting away from their more jazz oriented roots into a more funk-fusion sort of sound. Herbie's keyboard playing is as lively as ever and Melvin “wah wah” Watsons electric guitar playing makes its heaviest contribution yet.
Hang Up Your Hang Ups
kicks off the album with that keyboard/guitar influenced sound I was talking about. Hancock's keyboard playing gently floats over Watsons funk dosed guitar noodlings. A brigade of saxophones occasionally make their way into the music delicately weaving in and out of the bouncy keyboard and guitar lines. Basically the song is a loose jam session held by the headhunters but it sure is some of the smoothest and catchiest funk music that I’ve ever heard.
really seems like a relaxed jam session and although that sounds like a bad thing it’s actually quite refreshing. Wayne Shorters mesmerizing solo on the most subdued track on the album, Bubbles
is very calm while still being vibrant and interesting. Hancock backs up Shorters solo with extremely chilled out electric piano chords. Bubbles
showcases how The Headhunters can write a slow, poignant number while keeping the music interesting and organic.
The rest of Man-Child
is straight up funk music, if you’re looking for more jazz oriented Herbie then do not look here. The songs range from the fleeting electric keyboard grooves n Heartbeat
to the quick, playful bass slapping found on Steppin ‘in It
. Every song just sounds so glossy and elegant, the silky smooth production gives the music a very ethereal type of sound.
Out off all of the albums Herbie has done with The Headhunters this is by far and away the most groove and funk oriented album that they have ever put out. There are no excruciating solos or dissonant chords, it’s just Hancock and the boys playing funk the way it should be. While many critics claim that albums such as Thrust
are superior to Man-Child
I disagree. Man-Child
possesses a more ethereal and calm sound while remaining an energetic and electrifying sound. If you’re new to funk or Herbie Hancock then Man-Child
is an excellent album to start with since it’s an accessible, colorful, and energetic listen.