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Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage CD (album) cover

MAIDEN VOYAGE

Herbie Hancock

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.31 | 135 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars This is the little sister of Kind of Blue. Like her six-years-older brother, there are five pieces of magnificent jazz featuring piano, trumpet, saxophone, bass, and drums. While I prefer Bill Evans to Herbie Hancock as a pianist, Hancock is a more versatile player who would get to show off this versatility (sadly, a strung-out Evans wouldn't make it past 1980). Each performance offers something of value to its respective piece and thus the album as a whole. I cannot imagine someone who enjoys Kind of Blue or jazz in general dismissing this masterpiece.

"Maiden Voyage" Featuring one of the greatest melodic motifs in jazz music, "Maiden Voyage" boasts a steady piano making extensive use of minor seventh chords. The lead saxophone ranges from smooth and traditional to rapid and dizzying. Hancock's elegant piano takes over with a pleasing chord melody. As the title suggests, the music causes one to envision the grandeur of the sea on a cloudless day whilst aboard a virgin vessel.

"The Eye of the Hurricane" This more upbeat fare has a greater initial emphasis on the trumpet and the nimble rhythm section. The second half retains the latter but replaces the trumpet with a rapid series of single piano notes that have not only a "falling-down-the-stairs" quality, but a "falling-up-the-stairs" quality too!

"Little One" Toning things down to a sleepy jazz lullaby, "Little One" offers soothing piano and trumpet. Hancock's choice of runs is playful and relaxing at once. The bass solo sneaks in gradually, like a father who wonders why his child is up playing when she should be in bed. His gentle but sturdy voice shows her back to her place, and she complies, drifting off to pleasant dreams.

"Survival of the Fittest" Beginning with a brief drum solo, this fourth piece erupts into a lively shindig kicked off by trumpet. The rapidly alternating notes of the various instruments are like flirtatious preteens ticking one another and instigating a pillow fight. As most of the rest of the musicians take a breather, Hancock keeps the party alive with a sprightly cadenza.

"Dolphin Dance" Returning to the motif-bookended smooth jazz of "Maiden Voyage," this piece provides an appropriate denouement. As cliché as it may be, when I listen to this tune, my mind always conjures up aged lovers enjoying a dance together; maybe that aged couple will be my wife and me someday down the road, and that'd be nice.

Epignosis | 5/5 |

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