Herbie Hancock, et al.

Hear O Israel, A Prayer Ceremony In Jazz | Jonny
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  July 1, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
English master of obscure reissues Jonny Trunk strikes again: his latest discovery is a 1968 recording of a Jewish prayer service composed as a jazz suite by Jonathan Klein, a 17-year-old rabbi’s son. Although this type of arcana always has its fans among crate diggers and lovers of outsider art, what widens the record’s appeal is that for some reason — and gossipy conjectures abound — young man Klein secured the services of Herbie Hancock for a star-studded session featuring Thad Jones, Ron Carter, and other hip luminaries. And these cats are definitely not slumming, especially Hancock, who is captured right around the time of the transition between his solo masterpieces for Blue Note (and his life-changing gig with Miles) and the exploratory funk of the Mwandishi band. “Micho Mocho” has a strange modal sound enhanced by plaintive Hebrew chanting; “Sh’ma” and “Torah Service — Adoration” provide a driving background to the more exultant moments of worship. A worthy, if peculiar, addition to the Hancock canon, and a companion piece of sorts to David Axelrod’s contemporary reinvention of the Kol Nidre as the Electric Prunes’ “Release of an Oath.”
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