V.S.O.P. The Quintet: 5 Stars
A couple of days after its appearance at the Live Under The Sky festival, the V.S.O.P. band recorded its first and only studio album in Tokyo’s CBS/Sony studios. The album is restricted to a total of four tracks, none of which the band had ever performed live. The opener, “Skagly,” is a groove-dominated Freddie Hubbard composition, which Hubbard went on to record a few months later in a jazz-funk setting under his own name (Skagly, 1980).
Hancock’s “Finger Painting” and Williams’ “Mutants On The Beach” find the band swinging with usual delight. The final track, Wayne Shorter’s “Circe,” is an impressionistic ballad with Shorter’s sax explorations sailing over Carter’s softly played bass vamp and Hancock’s trickling piano lines. Five Stars marked the final recorded output of the V.S.O.P. band with this line-up.
Though much of the band’s magic came from its instantaneous communication with a live audience at packed concert venues, this album also demonstrates the unique friendship and musical connection between these “five stars.” – 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes
Produced by David Rubinson.
Recorded July 29, 1979 by Tomoo Suzuki at CBS/Sony Studios, Tokyo.
Mixed by David Rubinson.
Originally released December 5, 1979 as CBS/Sony (Japan) LP 30AP-1036
Note: The original Japanese LP release of this album in 1979 contained tracks 1-4. For some reason, as far as can be determined, all CD issues of this album used the alternate takes of “Skagly” (track 5) and “Finger Painting” (track 6).
- 1. Skagly [Original LP Version] 9:58
- 2. Finger Painting [Original LP Version] 6:45
- 3. Mutants On The Beach 11:04
- 4. Circe 4:32
- 5. Skagly [CD Version] 10:15
- 6. Finger Painting [CD Version] 6:44
- Herbie Hancock (Piano, Composer)
- Freddie Hubbard (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Composer)
- Wayne Shorter (Tenor Sax, Composer)
- Ron Carter (Bass, Composer)
- Tony Williams (Drums, Composer)
- David Rubinson (Producer, Mixing Engineer)
- Tomoo Suzuki (Recording Engineer)