By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Indeed it is. "Kebero, Part 1" mates a Miles-ian backdrop with the mesmerizing ululations of Ethiopian crooner GiGi; "The Essence" is a sophisticated ticket to clubland in the company of Khan, bassist Charnett Mofett and turntablist Grandmixer DXT; and "Tony Williams" layers poetry by Dana Bryant with rhythms by the late drummer, who died in 1997. As for "Wisdom," it's a portion of a Daisaku Ikeda lecture on chapters from The Lotus Sutra as recited by young Elenni Davis-Knight: "Simply put, knowledge corresponds to the past. It is technology. Wisdom is the future..."
"It's a statement," Hancock exults. "I mean, nobody has a statement on their record. But it's all part of the humanistic approach. Humanism amid the machines, you know?"
In general, critics have responded positively to these juxtapositions, but Hancock feels some of them haven't fully grasped what he was trying to accomplish on Future 2 Future. He gripes about one reviewer in particular, who described the disc as another entreaty to smooth-jazz aficionados. But in the next breath, he insists he's unfazed by those scribes who impugn his motives or suggest that he would have made a deeper mark in jazz had he been disciplined enough to focus on it to the exclusion of all else. "I don't fight that battle anymore," he snaps. "That's not my problem. It's theirs."
This wasn't always the case. "There was a period of time when I thought about those things," he acknowledges, showing more than a hint of irritation. "But I decided I was wasting my time, and I continued to do what I wanted to do. I have my own drummer to answer to."