Herbie Mann
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
Plays (1954), 6/10
Flute Souffle (1957), 7/10
African Suite (1959), 6.5/10
Flute, Brass, Vibes, and Percussion (1960), 7/10
The Common Ground (1960), 6/10
Brazil Blues (1961), 6.5/10
Do the Bossanova (1962), 6/10
Impressions of the Middle East (1966), 6.5/10
The Wailing Dervishes (1967), 6/10
Concerto Grosso in D Blues (1986), 6/10
Memphis Underground (1969), 6/10
Stone Flutes (1969), 6/10
Push Push (1971), 6/10
Reggae (1973), 6.5/10

Jewish bebop flutist Herbie "Mann" Solomon (1930) debuted with the 10" EP Plays (december 1954) in a straightforward bebop recordings, and became a prolific interpreter of the genre. But exotic themes popped up even on his earliest recordings, for example the lengthy Tel Aviv on Flute Souffle (march 1957) and the African Suite (1959). Eventually, Mann became one of the drivers of the Afro-Cuban wave via the live Flautista (june 1959), featuring vibraphone, bass and Latin percussion (marimba, bongos, congas), with the colorful The Amazon River and the catchy Cuban Potato Chip, via Flute, Brass, Vibes and Percussion (june 1960), featuring four trumpets, three percussionists and the eponymous jazz quartet, via The Common Ground (august 1960) for his Afro-Jazz Sextet and four trumpets (that mixed Middle-Eastern, African and Latin folk music with pop melody and bebop), and especially via Brazil Blues (1961) and Do The Bossanova (october 1962), recorded with Brazilian musicians. A serious attempt at blending Middle-Eastern and jazz music yielded Impressions of the Middle East (march 1966) and The Wailing Dervishes (september 1967). No other jazz musician had flirted so consistently with exotic music.
Mann's ambitions extended to jazz-classical fusion: he composed a Concerto Grosso in D Blues (november 1968) for jazz quintet and symphony orchestra that was a parallel tribute to the histories of both genres, running the gamut from romantic music to dissonant music, and from dixieland to free jazz.
When the times changed, Mann easily transitioned to the funky sound of Memphis Underground (july 1969), featuring vibraphonist Roy Ayers, guitarists Larry Coryell and Sonny Sharrock and a soul rhythm section, to the atmospheric, strings-enhanced fusion of Stone Flutes (september 1969), with Miss Free Spirit, and to the lively funk and rock fusion of Push Push (july 1971).
His stylistic odyssey perhaps culminated with Reggae (december 1973), recorded with Jamaican musicians and containing the 19-minute romp My Girl.

The following year Mann even had a disco hit, Hi Jack (1975).

Mann died of cancer in 2003.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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