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Herbie Hancock - Possibilities

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

GO BEHIND-THE-SCENES WITH GRAMMY-NOMINATED, KEYBOARDIST HERBIE HANCOCK DURING HIS COLLABORATION WITH A MULTIGENERATIONAL LINEUP OF ARTISTS SUCH AS JOHN MAYER, STING, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, ANNIE LENNOX, PAUL SIMON AND OTHERS ON THIS DVD FOR THE CREATION OF THE HERBIE HANCOCK: POSSIBILTIES CD.

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The notion of keyboardist Herbie Hancock working with the likes of Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, and Joss Stone is bound to give jazz purists the willies. But Hancock, like fellow Miles Davis piano alumnus Joe Zawinul, long ago stepped way outside jazz's strict parameters, and with Possibilities, a DVD chronicling the making of his 2005 CD of the same name, his refusal to be pigeonholed has produced some surprising, occasionally extraordinary musical moments. Duets with Aguilera (a typically overwrought version of Leon Russell's "Song for You") and Mayer (less a tune than a funky, studio-conceived jam) may not be among them, but several of these collaborations verge on genuine brilliance, more than making up for the missteps. A few involve re-imaginings of a guest artist's own material (Paul Simon's "I Do It for Your Love" and Sting's "Sister Moon" both benefit from thoroughly new arrangements with heavy African and Latin touches); some focus on pop-jazz standards (Irish singers Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan's touching version of "Don't Explain," most closely associated with Billie Holiday), while others feature newer songs, like Annie Lennox's gorgeous rendition of Paula Cole's "Hush Hush Hush." Unlikely partnerships with Brian Eno, Trey Anastacio, and guitarist Jonny Lang (who joins Stone for U2's "When Love Comes to Town"), as well as Carlos Santana with Angelique Kidjo, yield uneven results but are never less than intriguing; there's also some all-too-brief footage of the classic Davis '60s quintet (with Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams), as well as recent film of Hancock and Shorter in Japan. Hancock, of course, is the glue that holds it all together, and despite his insistence that this is a not a jazz record, a certain jazzy element in his improvisations and harmonizations is both unavoidable and welcome. In the end, the Possibilities DVD is essentially a promo for the CD--if you want to hear complete versions of these songs, you'll have to buy the record. If that seems cynical, well hey, it works. --Sam Graham

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Christina Aguilera, Trey Anastasio, Brian Eno, Herbie Hancock, Lisa Hannigan
  • Directors: Doug Biro, Jon Fine
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EHQ0BC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,804 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Herbie Hancock - Possibilities" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas E. Davis VINE VOICE on September 7, 2007
Format: DVD
Herbie Hancock is a man who embraces all kinds of people and experiences, an explorer in many cultural and musical fields (one of the reasons that UNESCO named him their Goodwill Ambassador). This DVD is a good introduction to him and his life, featuring snippets from his early quartet years with legends Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter to his forays into electronic funk with the Headhunters to more recent collaborations.

Some of these 2005 duo sessions are more successful than others, but all are interesting. Hancock performs with great stars like Annie Lennox, Sting, Carlos Santana, and Paul Simon, tries new things with young pop performers like John Mayer, makes international connections with singers like Angelique Kidjo, experiments with composers like Brian Eno, and concludes with a trip to Japan where his spiritual side is revealed. The disc presents many enjoyable and insightful moments in the creative process. If you're into Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone, you may also enjoy enjoy these pairings, but they struck me as rather self-conscious and even forced, particularly Aguilera's vocal pyrotechnics.

I should also point out that this video is primarily a making-of documentary. It doesn't present finished, polished work, serving instead as an invitation to listen to Hancock's 2006 duet CD "Possibilities" as well as recordings produced during earlier incarnations. As such, I would say it's more of a DVD to rent or check out from the library than one you need to own, even if you are a big Hancock fan.

FYI, there is available on Amazaon a much cheaper edition of this DVD originally sold at Starbucks. It includes a four-track CD containing rough cuts of several songs. If I were going to buy this film, I'd search for that version.
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Format: DVD
Watch this and be inspired by the awesome Herbie Hancock. The recording sessions are great. The music and the movie flow along like a terrific jazz solo, riffing on all kinds of themes but Herbie brings it together into a whole. Just watching him play on the piano is a treat. If you're not that familiar with this living jazz legend, check this out and you'll admire both the man and his music.
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I read the only review for this item and ordered it, expecting to see a fantastic display of sound and some of the interaction of these artists with Mr Hancock as they created music, each colaborating to have a unique blend of sounds.

Actually this is only a documentary showing this interaction, and as such is very interesting.

But if you are looking to see an hear the full length videos of these great colaborations you will be disappointed, that is not included in this dvd. Only small samples are there for you to see.

This was a real disapointmet because the quality of video and audio are fantastic.
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This was really interesting to watch. As a musician and an aspiring producer, I really enjoyed all the studio footage. This "behind the scenes" look at the album was awesome to see.

As the other reviewer pointed out - if you want to see some sort of concert footage with all these songs being performed, this DVD doesn't offer that. This is purely a trip into the studio with Herbie and his guests to see the collaborations unfold.

The only thing that was a bit distracting was the DVD's sour mood somtimes. The four that stand out are:

1) Christina Aguilera's segment - she just doesn't seem to be enjoying herself. I even thought she was being bitchy, but I kept watching and...

2) Jonny Lang seems genuinely honored to meet Herbie and he's telling him so and Herbie quickly walks away talking to somebody else.

3) Herbie's showing his charts to Sting and excitedly talks about the chord progression - Sting looks uninterested and looks away. And

4) The fabulous Raul Midon (CHECK HIM OUT!!!) asks if he can try different things out. They allow him, only for him to be railed with sarcastic comments like, "Well, Herbie doesn't HAVE to solo on his own CD. You just kicked him off his own CD." Or After Raul does his amazing mouth trumpet, "Good thing Miles isn't here, he'd have something to say about this..."

I mean it's like, did Herbie and his people not make the artists feel comfortable? It just seems like the studio sessions weren't always pleasant.

But anyway, you guys probably don't care about that. Back to the point: This is a great invitation into the studio. But if you want concert footage or even complete somgs, skip on this.
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I have several of Herbie's albums including from Maiden Voyage to River: The Joni Letters. What is revealing about this video was the way in which Herbie creates his music. In this video you learn that Herbie is not just a Jazz Hawk, but is always looking to broaden his musical horizon's. Not to many musicians can go from Maiden Voyage to Watermelon Man to Ready or Not and Rockit as convincingly as he has done through his entire career. There's a reason why you can not type cast Herbie Hancock as a Jazz Musician without understanding who he is and his approach to the music that he makes. When I picked this video up I was hoping for a more historic look at Herbie Hancock the man behind "Maiden Voyage" and how he went from Chicago to New York and the West Coast and performing with Miles Davis; however, this video does give you few insights into his start. What Herbie Hancock's video "Possibilities" does cover is the direction that he took when making this album. Overall, light on the background but a number of insights into Herbie and how he approaches music. Possibilities is a good video for those who are fans but I am waiting for the Historical view that covers his upbringing, interests outside of music, and his persona.
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