Herbie Hancock rose to fame as a member of Miles Davis’s acoustic quintet, whose music helped define a new kind of Jazz. He’s perhaps best know for his record Canatloupe Island from the album Empyrean Isles and sampled on the Us3 tune Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) but he is known as being a crossover artist blending jazz with elements of funk and here he takes on the disco genre, infecting it with electronic jazz elements…and controversially at the time, vocoders.

Sunlight and Feets Don’t Fail Me Now were originally released in 1978 and 1979 with Sunlight featuring the UK Top 20 single I Thought It Was You, and whilst it is a bit disco-lite for my tastes, it is very clever musically with the emphasis being on jazz breaks rather than a standard four to the floor disco beat. The music on these two records remains funky, intelligent and soulful.herbie-hancock_sfdfmn

Feets Don’t Fail Me Now also had a Top 20 single You Bet Your Love and the album also went Top 30. This Robinsongs package also includes the 7” single versions of ‘I Thought It Was You’, ‘You Bet Your Love’, ‘Ready Or Not’, ‘Tell Everybody’ and ‘Honey From The Jar’ as bonus tracks, along with 12” versions of ‘You Bet Your Love’ and ‘Tell Everybody’.

Whilst the music herein isn’t as true to disco’s roots as it could be, it remains a valid and enjoyable example of how musicians with roots firmly set in one particular genre can bring their own stamp to other genres and create something wholly new from the melting pot.

Stuart Smith

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