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Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings CD (album) cover

MWANDISHI: THE COMPLETE WARNER BROS. RECORDINGS

Herbie Hancock

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.07 | 7 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Putting Mwandishi (Hancock's African name) in the title of this collection was sort of misleading. I had assumed this was the complete collection of Herbie's incredible avant- fusion Sextet (confusingly enough, also called Mwandishi). Unfortunately, it turns out that about half of the Sextet's small discography is on Columbia, so what we get on this Warner collection is two progressive psychedelic Sextet albums, plus Fat Albert Rotunda, Herbie's first shot at funky RnB jazz. Fat Albert is 60s rare groove jazz at it's best, but it's no match for the esoteric excursions of the far more adventurous Sextet. The only thing these two disparate recording ensembles have in common is Hancock himself, and his unique innovative small horn ensemble orchestrations, as well as his usual futuristic space lounge sensibilities.

Hopefully someday someone will make a CD collection of The Mwandishi Sextet's three studio albums, plus their contributions to Hancock's Death Wish soundtrack and their reunion appearance at Herbie's first VSOP concert. For a really fantastic box set they could also include all the incredible Sextet spin-off groups led by Hancock's side men; Bennie Maupin, Eddie Henderson and Julian Priester.

This Warner collection isn't a bad introduction to the music of Herbie Hancock. You get the fun grooves of Fat Albert, plus the African space orchestra odysseys of the Sextet. That combination of intellectual challenge with warm human emotion pretty much sums up Herbie's amazing music and career.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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