After the previous evening's explanation of the two Jameses, the Boy sat on my lap for his pre-bed bottle, pointed to the speakers and demanded "James on! James on!" I had to explain that that wasn't possible (the CD was upstairs) and we'd be having Herbie instead. At first this brought only greater heat and steal to the "James on!" mantra. But after a minute or two — and a toke or two on his milk bottle — he nodded approvingly, "Herbie…" the sotto voce "…niiice!" was unspoken, but it was in his eyes. That's when I got a little too pleased with myself, and added "Also known as Mwandishi." The Boy's eyes narrowed, as if to say, Don't think for a minute that I'm going to try repeating every name you decide to invent… Like I'm some performing seal. Then he sought clarification, "Herbie?" "James?" I tried to explain it was Herbie also known as Mwandishi, but I could see I was getting nowhere. Tsshhh. An everyday story of East Dulwich folk.
Four years ago I unearthed my CD copy of Sextant and got in such a lather about it, including the cover, that I paid £8 for a vinyl copy. It turned out that, at the larger size, the cover painting isn't quite as impressive as I'd thought — it won't be replacing the copy of Ascension on my wall anytime soon.
The music, meanwhile, remains as good as ever, and I've been prompted to do some researching into Herbie Hancock's work immediately before and after this album. I tried this four years ago, but it's a lot easier now. At the moment you can get Crossings as a full album download for £1.69, while Thrust and Mwandishi are on Spotify. Mostly good stuff, but Sextant is still my pick of the bunch, I think.
As I put Herbie back in his case, just before we bid night-night to John-Coltrane-on-the-wall, the Boy caught sight of the cover. "Moon!" was all he said.
MusicBrainz entry for this album
Wikipedia entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Some metadata about this album at Last.fm
Listen to this album in full at We7
Listen to this album in full at Spotify