This disc, one of only a few projects that ten-time Grammy winner Herbie Hancock has produced for other artists, is imbued with a dark-hued melancholy that really comes to the fore on a pair of elegant, shape-shifting ballads -- "Benny's Tune," featuring Hancock on piano, and "Over There." Several pieces, Blanchard returning to his African roots thanks to a spirited "Wadagbe" and "Harvesting Dance." Lionel Loueke, a native of Benin, starred on his composition "Wadagbe," which he led off by tapping his guitar's hollow body like a percussion instrument. Then he added a West African chant as his melody, with his voice doubled via microphone effects. The title composition "Flow," split into three tracks spread across the album, opens with a low, hungry groove driven by the group's most recent additions (bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott) and offers variations on the theme for "Part II" and "Part III." This album Flow is an eclectic acoustic-electric hybrid, a nimble, uncompromising fusion of world music and mainstream jazz that suggests the shape of the genre to come.
For four days in mid-December 2004, the trumpeter worked with his sextet at the Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, California. Tracking the sessions at Henson was engineer Don Murray, who has a relationship with Blanchard dating back to 1995, when the trumpeter scored Kasi Lemmons' film Eve's Bayou.