Album: Herbie Hancock <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Possibilities, WSM
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The Independent Culture

Though every bit as cool, stylish and sophisticated as you'd expect from a Herbie Hancock project, this album of collaborations with pop and rock musicians does tend to drag somewhat, as most of the artists opt for ballads as the easiest method of connecting with Hancock's jazz piano. That's fine if it's Annie Lennox doing Paula Cole's "Hush Hush Hush", a moving piece about a father's affection for a son dying of Aids, or Paul Simon reminiscing about the hand-to-mouth early stages of a relationship in "I Do It For Your Love"; but another matter entirely if it's Christina Aguilera subjecting Leon Russell's "A Song for You" to death-by-melisma, or Raul Midon doing something similar on a version of "I Just Called to Say I Love You" that not even Stevie Wonder's harmonica break can salvage. Of the other tracks, Joss Stone essays a typically soulful vocal on a version of U2's "When Love Comes To Town", while Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio is admirably restrained and ego-less on "Gelo No Montana", a lovely, fluid piece which sounds just like a proper Hancock album track. But too often the only saving grace is the pianist's own measured, exploratory contribution to tracks such as "Sister Moon", which features Sting at his most oleaginous, and "Stitched Up", on which John Mayer reveals himself to be just another bland American AOR-indie singer.