The last of three albums Herbie Hancock cut for Warner Bros., Crossings seems to get the least amount of attention. With Fat Albert Rotunda being a deeply funky affair and Mwandishi firmly in the avant-garde, this 1972 set doesn’t have the shock value of the second album but is just as challenging. It opens with the ambitious, five-part “Sleeping Giant” (here collected as one track), with African-style hand percussion and standard trap drums adding a tribal 6/8-time earthiness to the electric space jams. Hancock’s great sense of rhythm is quite apparent in smoothing over the odd time signatures here, with excellent work also coming from trombonist Julian Priester and alto clarinetist Bennie Maupin. “Quasar" and “Water Torture,” which are both Maupin compositions, seem to highlight the arrival of Patrick Gleeson’s textural synthesizer work, but they offer their own kernels of melody amid the exploration. Miles Davis was famous for using postproduction cut-and-paste during this period, but this septet made music that (minus the occasional gimmicky echo effects) was more organic.

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