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Herbie Hancock

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Herbie Hancock Man-Child album cover
3.55 | 69 ratings | 7 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hang Up Your Hang Ups (7:27)
2. Sun Touch (5:09)
3. The Traitor (9:36)
4. Bubbles (8:59)
5. Steppin' in It (8:36)
6. Heartbeat (5:17)

Total Time 44:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Herbie Hancock / piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner D6 Clavinet, synths (Oberheim Polyphonic, ARP Odyssey, Pro-Soloist, 2600 & String Ensemble)

- David T. Walker / electric guitar
- Dewayne McKnight / electric guitar
- Melvin "Wah Wah" Watson / guitar, synthesizer, talkbox
- Bennie Maupin / bass clarinet, alto & bass flutes, saxello, tenor & soprano saxophones, percussion
- Stevie Wonder / harmonica
- Wayne Shorter / soprano saxophone
- Jim Horn / flute, saxophone
- Ernie Watts / flute, saxophone
- Richard Hyde / tuba, bass trombone
- Garnett Brown / trombone
- Bud Brisbois / trumpet
- Jay DaVersa / trumpet
- Louis Johnson / electric bass
- Paul Jackson / electric bass
- Henry Davis / electric bass
- James Gadson / drums
- Mike Clark / drums
- Harvey Mason / drums
- Bill Summers / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Dario Campanile

LP Columbia ‎- PC 33812 (1975, US)

CD Columbia ‎- CK 33812 (1990, US)
CD Columbia ‎- COL 471235 2 (1992, Europe) Remastered (?)

Thanks to zafreth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HERBIE HANCOCK Man-Child ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

HERBIE HANCOCK Man-Child reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

Of Hancock's funk era; Man-child is easily their better album, by now the Headhunters (thr group without HH) had recorded their debut album, one f the first space-funk album, and a damn good one at that, too!! While Thrust had lots of moments and was arguably better than HH (the album), MC turns out to be this line-up's apex and has its most impressive artwork as well (Mwandishi-era excepted of course). With HH now having a keyboard collect ion big enough to make Emerson and Wakeman jealous, he's nicely seconded by the Summers/Clark/Jackson rhythm trio, one that was envied by many leaders as the complex killer funk rhythms abounded and seemed effortless. Up front Maupin gets help from Wayne Shorter and Earnie Watts, Garnett Browne.

Opening on the futilely-titled Hang up Your Hang Ups, the combo engages in a high-flying funk with strong chorus horn arrangements, and halfway through a thorough rhythm change with HH switching to Fender Rhodes. Sun Touch is a much gentler and suave electric piano led piece and with synth-based layers, but this sounds a bit like as if Max Middleton (J Beck) has gone by and not that much is happening. The album's centrepiece is Trailor, with its huge bass line and HH's wild synth use, but the horns are making wonders. an amazing piece of music even if once the groove is installed, it tends to remain in it, sometimes making lengths, but hardly a problem here.

On the flipside, Bubbles is another suave piece of music and the gradual construction makes it the proggiest (Jackson's bass lines are absolutely fab-u-lous), with a rare guitar solo, Wayne Shorter's sax coupled with descending guitar lines, the gradual appearance of the electric appearances through the synth layers. Simply astounding. Next to it, Steppin' In It, sounds exactly like it's title... a big turd.. I'm exaggerating of course, as we are now in a huge funky track, but it's just no that subtle compared with the preceding Bubbles. HH's electric piano and Jackson's bass brings this track through nicely although it overstays its welcome by at least three or four minutes, Stevie Wonder's harmonica not changing this fact one iota. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, it's long. The closing Heartbeat is a killer tune where the electric piano can remind Brian Auger's Oblivion express, except that the musos are so much better here. A repeated one-note bass that give a wild guitar run around and in less than 20 seconds the complex groove is built, they have the guts to repeat this the following minute,

Theoretically this is the end of HH's HH era, if you count the studio albums only (there is a live coming up), and HH will return to more standard jazz material (I think, not sure), before attacking the dance market with the awful (for me anyway) Rock It. If I must compare the three Mwandishi albums to the three Headhunters albums, I prefer the former, because I'm a fan of all three albums, while in the latter, only the last one (the presently discussed) is really fascinating, the previous two, being good, but no cigar.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars It is called that Herbie is so-called "Electric Herbie" and has already been admitted his active album in the 70's was indeed music of the high level also in the world. The element of the transition might be contained a little as ..album.. overall impression. It might be guessed that there are a real intention for the listener and an opinion of unwilling when the flow of the work that he since "Head Hunters" announced is chased. The success in "Head Hunters" might have the impression that the diagram of Herbie=Head Hunters is established as the result for people. And, the album since "Head Hunters" might also have the fact that gives a very much or a loose impression when his work in the 70's is considered. However, it is guessed that they are considered to the end by the element of merits and demerits because other works were not obscured. It looks for space in which "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" and the tension to feel will be able to look for the color of Herbie ..this album.. whole in the fact though the route of Funk is strong. The world where Herbie indeed creates "Steppin' In It" in which Stevie Wonder participated is achieved. The world where the anacatesthesia overflows indeed in "Sun Touch" etc. is created. Giving a somewhat loose impression might look like the flow of "Secrets". However, it can know how they try a reformative, progressive creation in the route when listening to the activity at this time and the record of live.
Review by friso
3 stars Herbie Hancock - Man-Child (1975)

Yet another masterfull jazz/funk record from Herbie Hancock. Those who know of this period in his carreer won't be suprised to hear this a inventive funk album with lot's of nice keyparts by Hancock, the smoothest of basslines and drums and some nice wind instruments. The Surprise is however the addition of the electric guitar. It doesn't play a very essential role and doesn't have a lot of solo's but it makes the musical landscape complete.

I won't discribe all the songs, for they all have the same sound. The variation on this album is a bit too low, but all the tracks by itself are great. Some changes in direction would have been nice though. Also the music doens't really serve the nice coverart very well.

This is the kind of music you want to have for your relaxing evenings and parties. A lot of people will recognise the quality of this music and like it. Somehow this record lacks a real masterpiece to be considered a progressive piece of music. It's perfect funk/jazz though and if you like jazz you should never skip on this one. I myself would recommend the three Smwandi albums over the three Headhunters records, but I like have this one as well. Three stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I like jazz-fusion generally and some early Hancock work ("Sextant" time) as well. But "Headhunters" story is different thing. Starting from very commercially successful "Head Hunters"album Hancock change his dirrection to funk-fusion. And if in "Head Hunters"album there were just first steps ( but with bigger variety of songs), "Man -Child " is top-point.

It means, that Hancock and co. modernised their music till highest technique in funk-fusion. If you like accent on musicanship technique ( in funk-jazz,anyway) ,possibly you will like this album.

I affraid, that high technique showed another problem : style limited musical abilities. As a result ,you hear here 6 absolutely similar musical pieces, all with pulsating funk rhythm, precision musicianship, and ... boring. Same rhythm and structure hypnotyze you to death!

After few first songs I got a feeling I'm on James Brown concert ( only charismatic figure of late James was a reason why this music still was listenable). But as usual with pure funk, very soon you understand that all the time you're listening one very long song. In fact, there is no melody, just concentration on specific rhythm.

Big advance is that the music is performed by great musicians. But even that can't save you from boredom during listening.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars When I first heard this album back in 75 it struck me as a commercial sell-out. Certainly coming on the heels of the previous hyper abstract jazz avant-funk of Thrust, Man Child is more slicked up and maybe a little bit discofied, but I'm glad I revisited this gem because it rates right up there with some of Herbie's best. This album is mid-70s ultra-slick and reflects the then growing post-hippie move towards an urban cool ascetic. Gone is the frenetic soloing and sparse syncopated textures of Thrust, but in their place we get some of Hancock's best electronic/acoustic orchestrations that float on top of sophisticated interlocking funk rhythm patterns. This album moves beyond funk as introduced by Sly Stone and others, and carries the genre into complicated intersecting patterns that recall classic traditional African music and/or modern day minimalism.

It's that ultra-smooth sound of this album that turned me off in the past, but I now find to be one of it's main attractions. In a lot of ways this album recalls Herbie's 60s post-Miles work in which he backed his Debussy/lounge piano stylings with a mini orchestra for that ultimate loungecore-jazz meets mid-20th century composers sound. To further their appeal, the more laid back songs on Man Child have that 'modern in any era' sound that would have been perfect for cosmic martinis aboard the 60s version of The Starship Enterprise, or maybe one of the more avant early James Bond flicks.

Along with the three 'slow jams' we also get three up-tempo funk numbers, but this is funk Herbie style. Not as raw or bold as the JBs or Sly, Hancock's funk has a polished intellectual approach that weaves countless instruments together in a dense contrapuntal texture that is damn near impossible to reproduce with the relaxed finesse that this crew has. Although Herbie's playing on here tends to reflect the 'cool' approach of the music, on Hearbeat he unleashes one of his classic aggressive RnB meets McCoy Tyner solos.

Although once suspect as a possible part of the growing disco culture that spawned it, a few decades later, and totally removed from that culture, this album has taken on new life as the perfect combination of Hancock's 60s cool jazz, and his early 70s jazz/funk.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Last week I became a dad to a little baby-girl, so Man-Child seemed an apt title to pick for the next review. Besides, with her being all over the place, I can only review baby-proof music from now on! Well, Hancock's third album in the funky Head Hunters period is duly approved. In other words she's sound asleep.

Compared to the incredibly dense Thrust, this album flows easier, with persistent funk and dub rhythms taking center-stage. The opener is the eye-catcher and one of Hancock's most infectious funk tracks. If you can remain quietly seated while listening to this then you must be a true anti-dance marvel.

The album remains entirely pleasant but besides the opener and the closer, it lacks highlights. Even with 6 tracks, the variation in grooves, riffs and melodies is too low. The arrangements and musical interplay is too relaxed and sure not as stunning as Thrust. It makes the album perfect background music for baby feeding and diaper changes but it's not something that will make me close my eyes and just listen.

The album goes into more accessible and mainstream directions then the previous Hancock albums but it is very effective at what it does and it never sinks to the level of cheesy melodies or dull disco grooves. So all in all, still a good and musical funky album from mr HH.

Review by Warthur
3 stars It took me a while to come around to the majority opinion that Man-Child is inferior to Thrust. Whereas Thrust felt like an inferior photocopy of Head Hunters, this one does at least feed the jazz-funk direction of the band back into the spacier, more esoteric territory that the Mwandishi-era lineup had made its own to create an intriguing soundscape which sounds halfway between dreamy space journey progressive jazz fusion and raw, raunchy softcore porn jazz-funk. At the same time, however, there's a major problem: none of the material here is as good as the Mwandishi era albums, and the jazz-funk side of the album's sound has dated worse than the Head Hunters lineup's other outings.

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