Chameleon

I hope we never forget how great music can be… here’s Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters playing Chameleon in a live TV performance from 1974/75…

The video starts at the end of the head/main theme, and goes through the solo section to the end.

In addition to perfect mid-70s hair, Herbie Hancock has the perfect mid-70s keyboard rig… Fender Rhodes Suitcase electric piano (with those gorgeous twin speakers), with a Hohner Clavinet on top. On Herbie’s left is his ARP Odyssey Mk 1 synth and on his right he’s got an ARP 2600 – the same instrument used to create the voice of R2D2 in Star Wars.

ARP 2600

This how you rolled in the days before digital and in 1975, Herbie was right at the cutting edge of musical electronics. Drop in at 4’50 for Herbie’s Odyssey solo. It’s totally for the win, especially his dance at 6’38.

Paul Jackson‘s rubber fingers are on bass. Mike Clark (the funkiest white drummer ever?) drops snare hits where you least expect them. Bill Summers is nailing it on pandeiro during Herbie’s Rhodes solo, and Bennie Maupin is on tenor saxophone and percussion.

Approximately 575 million high school jazz bands have murdered this song over the past 30-odd years, (and I’m as guilty as the next guy), so it’s nice to be reminded how it’s supposed to be done. I could watch this repeatedly, all night.

A pretty good mid-1980s version of Chameleon by Herbie and the Rockit Band is also on YouTube (ignore the annoying visuals and listen to the music):