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Herbie Hancock

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Herbie Hancock Empyrean Isles album cover
3.88 | 78 ratings | 3 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1964

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One Finger Snap (7:17)
2. Oliloqui Valley (8:27)
3. Cantaloupe Island (5:30)
4. The Egg (13:57)

Total Time 35:11

Bonus tracks on 1987 & 1999 CD releases:
5. One Finger Snap (alternative take) (7:33)
6. Oliloqui Valley (alternative take) (10:45)

Line-up / Musicians

- Herbie Hancock / piano, composer

- Freddie Hubbard / cornet
- Ron Carter / bass
- Anthony Williams / drums

Releases information

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 17, 1964.

Artwork: Reid Miles with Francis Wolff (photo)

LP Blue Note ‎- BLP 4175 (1964, US) Mono version
LP Blue Note ‎- BST 84175 (1964, US) Stereo version

CD Blue Note ‎- CDP 7 84175 2 (1987, US) With 2 bonus tracks
CD Blue Note ‎- 7243 4 98796 2 1 (1999, US) 24-bit remaster by Rudy Van Gelder with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to clarke2001 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars The fact that Herbie always pursued reformative music for the world of Jazz/Fusion is well known to the world including what the situation is. Both of the work that Hebie left at the time of Blue Note are the remarkable piece of works. And, a lot of tunes that various musicians still perform as standard jazz exist. And, the musician who participated in this album is having them have a presentiment of the following V.S.O. P for ten years or more. After it folded and Jazz since "Kind Of Blue" of possession Miles established the route of the mode jazz from Be- Bop, Jazz might take a cooler chord progression and the melody and show stimulation and easing the space of the sound in the diagram. I think that the music that can be listened in this album is a result of their dismantling and restructuring music. And, the shine is revolutionized with Miles as five person gold in 1965. The wind instrument is only a trumpet of Freddie Hubbard in this album. It might give the impression of a little irregular composition. However, to achieve the concept in the musician, they often unite the system. And, it will be able to be said that the system will have succeeded splendidly also in this album. It might have been a start for the system of five people of the gold of Miles that had been said that the performance that invented the mode consistently coolly had been enhanced most. Because "Inventions&Dimensions" and "Speak Like A Child" of the work at the time of Blue Note of Herbie are comparatively famous, this album might have the impression buried in those shines. However, it can enjoy their cool performances enough. And, I might get excited by the conversation by musician's sound like the last tune "The Egg".
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Herbie Hancock's quartet with such still young but great names in future as Freddie Hubbard (cornet), Ron Carter ( bass) and Tony Williams (drums) is still hard-bop (and the year is 1964). But this music is very risky hard-bop, played on the border. No way fusion, the music has many traces of new jazz era is coming.

Excellent Hancock piano is a great evidence how competent piano player he is. But even more - for a first time he plays adventurous music there, with some groove, almost free form composition (especially on final song - "The Egg"). And for sure, this album is a home for Hancock's one of most well-known tune - "Cantaloupe Island" (good enough reason to have this album, if no others).

CD re-release contains two bonuses (alternative versions of original album's tracks). Please note - not a jazz fusion album at all, but excellent one from the last days of hard-bop era, with first touches of modern jazz .

Review by Warthur
4 stars Empyrean Isles is a soft, gentle jazz album which offers few hints of the funk-fusion departures that would litter Herbie Hancock's later career (though Cantaloupe Island does have a little funk in its step). Aside from Herbie's piano, Freddie Hubbard is the major soloist here, with excellent cornet work which Herbie is wise enough to allow to take centre stage whenever the spirit's on Hubbard. Capturing the transformation from hard bop to post-bop, Empyrean Isles carries about it a strange, mysterious air which is perfectly captured by the otherworldly cover photo. Alfred Lion and Ruby van Gelder get the absolute best out of the band's sound too.

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