Episode 110: Jason Concepcion on Herbie Hancock’s “Thrust”

Episode 110

Album: Herbie Hancock: Thrust (1974) Thrust followed on the heels of Herbie Hancock’s genre-altering best-seller Head Hunters album, one in which the gifted keyboardist and composer played with new conceptions of fusion jazz and synthesizer technology. Thrust, in many ways, could be considered a second half to Head Hunters; recorded within months of its predecessors with almost all the same players. Once again, […]

Episode notes

Album: Herbie Hancock: Thrust (1974)

Thrust followed on the heels of Herbie Hancock’s genre-altering best-seller Head Hunters album, one in which the gifted keyboardist and composer played with new conceptions of fusion jazz and synthesizer technology. Thrust, in many ways, could be considered a second half to Head Hunters; recorded within months of its predecessors with almost all the same players. Once again, Hancock and his team plumbed the possibilities of mixing funk rhythms with jazz improvisation, resulting in four tracks of fusion fire that, to our guest Jason Concepcion, marked a high point before a onslaught of “smooth jazz” would dial everything down.

Concepcion is perhaps best known to people as a basketball savant as a staff writer for The Ringer and Emmy-winning producer behind their NBA Desktop segment. I first discovered him via Twitter, thanks to his expert, witty writing as @netw3rk. However, for all his sports acumen, Concepcion is also Berkelee School-trained, having once attended there with the ambition of going into film composition. Thrust was a revelatory way in which he engaged with the possibilities of jazz, soul and funk experimentations. During our conversation, we discussed Hancock’s penchant for innovation in that era, the highs and lows of 1970s fusion jazz plus we took a side trip into the current state of the 365 day NBA “season.”

More on Jason Concepcion

More on Thrust

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Thrust unless indicated otherwise):

  • Palm Grease
  • Spank-A-Lee
  • Butterfly
  • Actual Proof
  • Van Halen: Cathedral
  • Spank-A-Lee
  • Palm Grease
  • Herbie Hancock: Watermelon Man
  • Herbie Hancock: Rockit
  • Palm Grease
  • Weather Report: Young and Fine
  • Rusty Bryant: Fire Eater
  • Grover Washington Jr.: Hydra
  • Actual Proof
  • Rhodes Piano Demo
  • Actual Proof
  • Butterfly
  • toe: two moons
  • Palm Grease
  • Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson: Peace Go With You Brother
  • Herbie Hancock: Chameleon

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there.

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In this episode...

Guests

  • Jason Concepcion

About the show

Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.

Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.

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