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HERBIE HANCOCK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Herbie Hancock biography
With a career that covers half of the 20th Century, and shows no sign of slowing down as we move further into the 21st, Herbie Hancock is one of the major music figures of our time. Within the world of progressive jazz/rock fusion he is topped only by Miles Davis when it comes to musical vision, but a bit ahead of Miles and all the rest when it comes to composition and soloing ability. Within the broader world of jazz music in general, his innovations on the piano place him in an elite group that includes Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Theolonius Monk, Bill Evans, Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra. Herbie's piano playing brings together many influences including French impressionism and neo-classicism, Bill Evan's soft touch, Horace Silver's hard bop, McCoy Tyner's quartal voicings and Bud Powell's fast single note lines, and creates a personal style that is instantly recognizable even if you only hear him play one or two notes.

Herbie was born in 1940 and by the age of eleven was performing Mozart's Concerto in D Major in a children's concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. When he was 20 Art Blakey picked him to join his Jazz Messengers. While with Blakey, Hancock learned how to play a mixture of RnB and jazz known as hard bop, a style that would later become the foundation for jazz fusion. Three years later Herbie was asked to join Miles' new quintet. During this time with Miles, Herbie, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams developed a totally new and unique way to play behind soloists. Disregarding the more conservative approach of their predecessors, these three didn't just keep time, instead they played with the rhythm and harmony in restless and constantly inventive ways. It was during this time that Herbie developed his unique comping style that combines French neo-classical harmonies with syncopated rhythms and African derived single note lines played in octaves. While with Miles, Herbie also put out several solo albums including some, such as 'Speak Like a Child', that include Herbie's arrangements for small jazz orchestras. His unique scoring for instrumental ensembles reveal the expected French influences, as well as an influence from Gil Evans' orchestrations for Miles Davis. These laid-back and impressionistic albums sound like cool future lounge music for the ultra hipster of tomorrow.

In 1971 Hancock formed his Sextet, an ultra-progressive group that combined free jazz, electronics, futuristic African grooves and extremely invent...
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Buy HERBIE HANCOCK Music


Maiden VoyageMaiden Voyage
Remastered
Blue Note Records 1999
Audio CD$3.52
$1.86 (used)
Head HuntersHead Hunters
Remastered
Sony 1997
Audio CD$3.33
$0.49 (used)
PossibilitiesPossibilities
Warner P&D 2005
Audio CD$18.36
$0.01 (used)
Empyrean IslesEmpyrean Isles
Remastered
Blue Note Records 1999
Audio CD$4.39
$2.51 (used)
Essential Herbie HancockEssential Herbie Hancock
Remastered
Sony 2006
Audio CD$11.97
$10.99 (used)
River: The Joni LettersRiver: The Joni Letters
Import
Verve 2007
Audio CD$7.41
$0.25 (used)
The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988
Box set
Legacy 2013
Audio CD$150.51
$152.02 (used)
The Imagine ProjectThe Imagine Project
Herbie Hancock Records 2010
Audio CD$4.65 (used)
Inventions & DimensionsInventions & Dimensions
Extra tracks · Remastered
Blue Note Records 2005
Audio CD$4.62
$4.34 (used)
My Point of ViewMy Point of View
Remastered
Blue Note Records 1999
Audio CD$5.28
$3.47 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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Miles Davis Live in Europe 1967 Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter (2011 CD) US $6.99 Buy It Now 3h 29m
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Herbie Hancock Future Shock 1999 SPECIAL RUSSIAN VERSION US $9.94 Buy It Now 4h 26m
Herbie Hancock & Foday Musa Suso VILLAGE LIFE Columbia Promo LP Record Album US $10.00 Buy It Now 4h 40m
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Bill Evans - Ultimate Bill Evans (1998, CD) Verve Records Herbie Hancock US $6.25 Buy It Now 5h 26m
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Herbie Hancock - Voyager (Brand New CD) US $2.00 Buy It Now 6h 2m
RON CARTER lp ~ UPTOWN CONVERSATION Embryo 1979 Billy Cobham Herbie Hancock US $9.50 Buy It Now 6h 21m
HERBIE HANCOCK - Sunlight LP - COLUMBIA Original 1978 - NM- US $17.99 Buy It Now 6h 25m
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8h 4m
The Imagine Project [Digipak] by Herbie Hancock (CD, Jun-2010, Hancock Records) US $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 15m
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1997) All that Jazz 2 (14 tracks : Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adder US $4.39 Buy It Now 8h 40m
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8h 48m
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Herbie Hancock "Ready Or Not" 45 RPM Single (1979) US $3.00 [0 bids]
9h
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10h 11m
HERBIE HANCOCK Original "Crossings" Warner Brothers # 2617 1972 US $20.00 Buy It Now 10h 11m
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10h 16m
Herbie Hancock "Ready Or Not" 45 RPM Single (1979) US $0.99 [0 bids]
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10h 21m
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10h 35m
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HERBIE HANCOCK & CHICK COREA -"In Concert" LP 1978 1st PROMO RADIO EDITION US $23.88 Buy It Now 11h 36m
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11h 42m
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18h 32m
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19h 44m
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Herbie Hancock: Call it 95 12" 12inch vinyl record single 9b US $18.00 Buy It Now 20h 29m
Herbie Hancock Dedication Japan Mastersound Mini LP CD w OBI Paper Sleeve Nobu US $89.99 Buy It Now 20h 55m
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Herbie Hancock Headhunters Remastered Limited 180gram Audiophile LP US $38.54 Buy It Now 21h 17m
Herbie Hancock Jefferson Airplane Afrika Bambaataa FSUK3 2xCD Ministry Of Sound US $10.49 Buy It Now 21h 26m
Empyrean Isles (Special Ed)(RVG - Herbie Hancock New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $14.14 Buy It Now 21h 47m
Herbie Hancock Hot & Heavy 1984 Premier CBR-1030 Jazz UK Import Vinyl LP NM US $14.99 Buy It Now 22h 18m
HERBIE HANCOCK " AUTODRIVE " 12" VINYL 1983 NEAR MINT CBS TA 3802 US $9.22 Buy It Now 22h 25m
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22h 50m
Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter & Billy Cobham Hurricane! DVD NEW! US $11.39 Buy It Now 22h 56m
HERBIE HANCOCK-HEAD HUNTERS-JAPAN BLU-SPEC CD2 D73 US $25.50 Buy It Now 23h 5m
Takin'Off - Herbie Hancock (2013, Vinyl New) US $17.61 Buy It Now 23h 27m
herbie hancock sound system vinyl lp US $9.99 [0 bids]
23h 35m
Branford Marsalis Herbie Hancock Ramsey Lewis Roy Ayers Don Cherry Ron Carter CD US $7.99 Buy It Now 23h 39m
HERBIE HANCOCK "Sunlight" orig '78 Columbia LP (liner notes slv/VPI cleaned) US $7.99 Buy It Now 23h 46m

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HERBIE HANCOCK shows & tickets


  • Montreux Jazz Festival 2014 on 4 Jul 2014
  • Umbria Jazz Festival on 11 Jul 2014
  • Herbie Hancock e Wayne Shorter on 25 Jul 2014

HERBIE HANCOCK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HERBIE HANCOCK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 4 ratings
Rock Your Soul (aka Jammin' With Herbie)
1961
3.78 | 25 ratings
Takin' Off
1962
3.08 | 5 ratings
My Point of View
1963
3.88 | 12 ratings
Inventions And Dimensions (aka Succotash)
1963
3.80 | 33 ratings
Empyrean Isles
1964
4.34 | 129 ratings
Maiden Voyage
1965
2.98 | 6 ratings
Blow-Up [OST split with The Yardbirds]
1966
4.28 | 20 ratings
Speak Like a Child
1968
3.61 | 17 ratings
The Prisoner
1969
3.67 | 17 ratings
Fat Albert Rotunda
1969
4.07 | 39 ratings
Mwandishi
1971
4.30 | 204 ratings
Crossings
1972
4.16 | 110 ratings
Sextant
1973
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (soundtrack)
1973
3.84 | 124 ratings
Head Hunters
1973
4.14 | 69 ratings
Thrust
1974
4.00 | 11 ratings
Death Wish
1974
3.63 | 36 ratings
Man-Child
1975
3.11 | 16 ratings
Secrets
1976
2.95 | 2 ratings
Herbie Hancock Trio
1977
3.00 | 4 ratings
Direct Step
1978
2.72 | 15 ratings
Sunlight
1978
1.42 | 7 ratings
Feets, Don't Fail Me Now
1979
3.36 | 20 ratings
Mr. Hands
1979
2.12 | 6 ratings
Monster
1980
3.51 | 5 ratings
The Piano
1980
3.04 | 5 ratings
Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams
1981
1.50 | 2 ratings
Magic Windows
1981
1.00 | 2 ratings
Lite Me Up
1982
2.67 | 21 ratings
Future Shock
1983
3.09 | 8 ratings
Sound-System
1984
4.05 | 2 ratings
Village Life [with Foday Musa Suso]
1985
3.02 | 5 ratings
Round Midnight (O.S.T.)
1986
1.92 | 5 ratings
Perfect Machine
1988
3.05 | 3 ratings
A Tribute to Miles
1992
3.04 | 7 ratings
Dis Is Da Drum
1994
3.04 | 10 ratings
The New Standard
1995
3.96 | 5 ratings
1 + 1 [with Wayne Shorter]
1997
3.82 | 9 ratings
Gershwin's World
1998
2.07 | 8 ratings
Future 2 Future
2001
1.66 | 4 ratings
Possibilities
2005
4.03 | 10 ratings
River: The Joni Letters
2007
3.23 | 12 ratings
The Imagine Project
2010

HERBIE HANCOCK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Hear, O Israel
1968
3.00 | 2 ratings
In Concert, Vol. 2 (with Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter and Eric Gale)
1973
2.10 | 2 ratings
Dedication
1974
3.12 | 9 ratings
Flood
1975
3.88 | 5 ratings
V.S.O.P.
1977
4.00 | 10 ratings
V.S.O.P.: The Quintet
1977
4.67 | 3 ratings
V.S.O.P.: Tempest in the Colosseum
1977
3.09 | 4 ratings
An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea
1978
4.00 | 4 ratings
V.S.O.P.: Live Under the Sky
1979
4.05 | 2 ratings
CoreaHancock
1979
3.00 | 1 ratings
Herbie Hancock Quartet
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
One Night With Blue Note, Volume 1 (with Bobby Hutcherson / James Newton)
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz Africa (with Foday Musa Suso)
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
Day Dreams
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live: Detroit/Chicago
2005

HERBIE HANCOCK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Future2Future Live
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Watermelon Man
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Herbie Hancock & the New Standard Allstars in Japan
2008

HERBIE HANCOCK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Herbie Hancock
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Treasure Chest
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kawaida (with Don Cherry)
1975
3.00 | 1 ratings
Herbie Hancock
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of Herbie Hancock
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Under the Sky
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Essential Herbie Hancock
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Herbie Hancock
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
the Very best Of Herbie hancock
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Quartet Live
1994
5.00 | 2 ratings
Cantaloupe Island
1994
4.05 | 6 ratings
Mwandishi: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Blow Up Extra-Sessions
1995
2.00 | 1 ratings
Then & Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Late Night Jazz Favorites
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Watermelon Man The Ultimate Hancock!
2010

HERBIE HANCOCK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Watermelon Man / Three Bags Full
1962
2.33 | 3 ratings
Rockit
1983

HERBIE HANCOCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Empyrean Isles by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1964
3.80 | 33 ratings

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Empyrean Isles
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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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 Mwandishi by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 39 ratings

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Mwandishi
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When one speaks of Fusion, a select group instantly spring to minds. Miles Davis, Ian Carr & Nucleus, Return To Forever, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, and of course, Herbie Hancock. A beautifully-balanced pianist with exceptional talent, Hancock started issuing records around the same time as The Beatles(his first was 1962's 'Takin' Off') whilst also playing with the likes of Miles Davis and Chick Corea as a sideman and soloist. His first album of note was the coolly atonal 'Maiden Voyage', issued by Blue Note in 1965, but his first forays into fusion-style jazz appeared on 1968's funk-dipped 'Speak Like A Child'. From here on both the quality and experimental nature of Hancock's work began to increase, and the late-sixties transitional albums 'The Prisoner' and 'Fat Albert Rotunda' showcased some scintillating work from Hancock and his team. These last two albums blended spacey fusion histrionics and trad-jazz elements, the old melded with the new, yet were still rooted in the classical textures of the genre's past. As the sixties faded and the seventies began, however, Hancock would unveil 'Mwandishi', his first first full-blown fusion epic. The opening act of a trilogy of classic Hancock fusion albums, 1970's 'Mwandishi' is arguably the pick of the three, a visceral, highly-charged and exhilarating sonic odyssey that takes the listener deep into the musical galaxy of jazz-fusion. This journey is continued on the equally-as- brilliant 'Crossings'(1971) and also on the densely-concocted 'Sextant', yet the failure of the latter would see Hancock quickly abandon his atmospheric fusion style in favour of straight-up jazz-funk, issuing the seminal 1973 album 'Head Hunters', an album that would provide Hancock's breakthrough into the international musical arena. However, despite the lack of commercial success gleaned by 'Sextant' - a strange and difficult album - the fusion -era albums of Herbie Hancock have lasted the years well, still sounding as fresh and vital as they did during the early-seventies. All three are highly-recommended to those wishing to explore jazz-rock, though in this writer's mind 'Mwandishi' is the real masterpiece. Enjoy.

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 Head Hunters by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 124 ratings

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Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars Herbie Hancock retooled the musical direction he headed for Head Hunters, realizing that people weren't buying his Mwandishi-era albums (I'm sure the same reason a fan of later Tangerine Dream is likely to be scared off of Zeit). It's those albums were a bit over the heads of mainstream listeners. Look, Mwandishi, Crossings, and Sextant were hardly made for mainstream listeners, and since my tastes are not exactly mainstream, I have no problem with these albums and really enjoy them a lot. Hancock simply formed a new band, although retaining Bennie Maupin from the old lineup.

It's nice to see Herbie Hancock did not dumb down his music to reach a wider audience, although Head Hunters is an admittedly more accessible, but instead of doing something overly mainstream, he adopts a funk approach. Certainly funky tendencies showed up on Sextant, particularly on "Hornets" with the funky blaxploitation-type drumming and clavinet, but it often veered on the avant garde. "Chameleon" is the most recognized song on this album and you can imagine tons of rap DJs sampling this song. There's this wonderful funky approach as well as more fusion-oriented passages. He then totally does a drastic remake of "Watermelon Man". If you've heard the 1962 original, with the piano and horns, you can't deny how catchy it is. I even find this song enjoyable even though I was never a fan of his Blue Note-era albums (I couldn't get into them, but I can see many jazz fans would enjoy them so I don't bother reviewing them since they're perfectly good albums I am unable to connect with). This 1973 remake is drastically different with odd Africal rhythms and strange whistle or bottle sounds, and the music updated for electric piano and clavinet. You might have to listen to this several times to notice that the familiar theme does creep up, it's certainly not in that straightforward piano and horn-dominated style of the original. Fusion fans are really going to be blown away with "Sly", an obvious tribute to Sly & the Family Stone. The band really gets into a really intense jam, but the funk influences Hancock has adopted for this album are ever present. "Vein Melter" is the closing piece and the closest to the previous sound you'll get, in fact Bennie Maupin's sax playing was more in lines with what was heard in Crossings. Going for this more accessible funk-influenced fusion certainly helped Herbie Hancock big time. It definitely prevented him from being dropped from Columbia Records (I'm certain had he recorded another album like Sextant, Columbia would have likely dropped him). I really find nothing to fault Head Hunters, it's very much a classic, and it did not require many listens to be amazed by it either!

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 Head Hunters by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 124 ratings

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Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The textbook example of how to sell out and yet keep your musical dignity intact.

I'll go on record saying that SEXTANT might be my favourite album that Herbie Hancock put out, let alone one of his highest artistic triumphs. That artistic accomplishment didn't exactly translate into financial security. And I'm sure that the well-established powerhouse in Columbia Records wanted something that had more commercial viability. In essence, Hancock took a gamble by striking the Mwandishi concept after three albums, reducing the lineup of his band to just five, and taking pages out of Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder as a foundation for his next sonic approach.

HEAD HUNTERS is the resultant album of which most people that know of Herbie Hancock will register in their brains immediately. The music of HEAD HUNTERS is a counterbalance between jazz that the musicians are used to and funk, one of the music styles all the rage back when the album premiered. You could draw parallels to Hancock's career and Miles Davis's at the time, since Davis had notably ON THE CORNER as his big album at the time, another jazz record with strong funk leanings.

In all honesty, despite the more commercial approach the Headhunters (that will be the band name for a time) are going in, the album does retain most of the magic that made SEXTANT special. For starters, Bennie Maupin is the only other holdover from the Mwandishi lineup, a move that almost seems like common sense given how much character Maupin's reeds add to a piece of music (here, hear ''Sly''). Hancock's interpretation of funk crosses over well into the jazz world to the point where ''Chameleon'' is a new jazz standard despite the jam having heavy foreshadowing to hip hop. Where HEAD HUNTERS excels at is setting up a good groove and building on it without overstaying its welcome. It's why ''Chameleon'' has success in the first place, but the rapid fire section of ''Sly'' and the mid-tempo lock groove of a remake of ''Watermelon Man'' add to the overall appeal.

I would say HEAD HUNTERS has more funk in it than jazz, so the classic jazz fans might be turned off. Yet, any fan of jazz in a retro fashion will find this more than acceptable; especially those with more rock, funk and hip hop backgrounds. For me, the only reason HEAD HUNTERS is not an enjoyable masterpiece is that ''Vein Melter'' is significantly weaker than everything else on the album.

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 Flood by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Live, 1975
3.12 | 9 ratings

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Flood
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Thanks to some apparently super-enthusiastic fan devotion towards certain Western rock acts, the 1970's saw a series of live albums, usually double or even triple-sided, issued in Japan only. Titles included the superb Santana triple-live release 'Lotus'(which ended up being one of the biggest-selling import albums ever) and this lengthy offering from Herbie Hancock recorded during 1975. By this time, Hancock had almost completed his gradual move away from the avant-garde-edged psychedelic afro-fusion sound featured on the likes of 'Sextant' and 'Crossings', instead choosing to develop the popular jazz-funk style found on his seminal 'Head Hunters' album. As a result, 'Flood' proves a mixed bag, with Hancock, in an admirable-yet-misguided move, choosing to reel off a live set that encapsulates the three major stages of his career up until that point, with classical jazz readings, experimental fusion sojourns and bristling funk medleys making up this surprisingly flat two-disc effort. With his Head Hunters outfit in tow - Paul Jackson, Bennie Maupin and Mike Clark all back him with highly-competent yet strangely uninvolving performances - 'Flood' seems like a missed opportunity. Hancock's 1970's studio repertoire is, of course, superb, yet for various reasons he has never been able to truly emulate his complex, funk-dipped sound in the live arena. A prime example, 'Flood' starts slowly, offering up a melodic-yet-dull reading of 'Maiden Voyage' before similarly mediocre versions of 'Actual Proof', 'Watermelon Man' and 'Chameleon' fail to heat proceedings up. So, what you have here then is a highly-talented collection of musicians basically going through the motions, the eclectic set-list actually working against the group. Flat, indulgent and ultimately rather restrained, 'Flood' ranks as one of the most disappointing live documents of the fusion era, and as mediocre an album as Hancock is ever likely to put his name too. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 204 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Before hitting the jazz-funk jackpot with his seminal 'Head Hunters' album Herbie Hancock furrowed a distinctly cosmic path with a series of albums inspired the work of his mentor and friend Miles Davis. The release of both 'In A Silent Way' and 'Bitches Brew' helped break the burgeoning fusion moment originally started by Tony Williams Lifetime, and it allowed Hancock to truly experiment at the outer limits of the jazz genre, fusing elements of rock, funk, psychedelia and African rhythms into his bold new brand of cosmic jazz that adorned the albums 'Mwandishi' and 'Sextant'. Sandwiched in between those two was 'Crossings', the album that arguably best defined this period of Hancock's career, featuring a spacey vibe, plenty of haunting instrumental passages and some ghostly moments of tribal perCussion. Split over three tracks, 'Crossings' proves a fusion masterclass, a psychedelic jazz journey in the mould of Return To Forever's 'Where Have I Known You Before', 'The Inner Mounting Flame' by John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra or the quicksilver strains of Billy Cobham's 'Spectrum'. Alongside both those and Miles Davis 1969 to 1975 period recordings, 'Crossings' is one of the key jazz-rock / fusion albums, and those who take the time to appreciate Hancock's epic compositions will be thoroughly rewarded. A near classic. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 204 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Crossings" is an exploration of jazz fusion with some of the most compelling lengthy pieces composed for a Herbie Hancock album, by the Mwandishi band. There are only three tracks but all are captivating, beginning with the album side 'Sleeping Giant' with an intro of African tribal polyrhythmic percussion. It settles into a jazz groove that simmers along until the rhythm breaks and there is a brass passage of improvised elegance. A trumpet solo glows brightly as Hancock pours out keyboard liquid and there are some chilling African percussive vibes. Then a streetwise funkadelic beat crashes through, like the crime-jazz soundtrack of "Shaft", or a 70s "Dirty Harry" movie. It is little wonder that the man was called on to create soundtracks for 70s crime movies such as "Death Wish". Maupin's sax is absolutely masterful here, nothing compares to the way he makes that sax cry in pain. A killer track in any music connoisseur's collection.

Side two houses two Maupin-penned tracks, that are still consistent in excellence. 'Quasar' is first with some haunting flute and a transfixing bassline from Williams. The jazz dissonance is quite a compelling sound though very off kilter. It takes a while to gather momentum but the spacey streaks are quite uncanny. The cosmic fusion is augmented by angelic flute lines and low synth buzzes.

'Water Torture' is even more electronic and so delightfully different to the previous tracks. The dissonance of odd meters is created by alto sax trills, off beat basslines and keyboard improvisations. It sounds in places like the soundtrack of a crime movie again, bringing to mind sections of 70s scenes of Charles Bronson impending violence. This is a little too quirky for my tastes but it is okay to close the album with a different approach. At 7 minutes in I was longing for some kind of change in direction as the crime-jazz soundtrack was getting tiresome, but it continues in the same vein.

The album is definitely one of the all time greats in the world of Hancock, along with "Headhunters" and "Sextant". I am not a real fan of this style but I am having my ears opened lately with some cool jazz. From Hancock, I had only previously heard 'Rock-it' before this so it is nice to know the man is deserved of his massive reputation outside of that breakdance electro 80s era.

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 Sextant by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.16 | 110 ratings

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Sextant
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Any concept of what ''jazz'' should be will be shattered as soon as you listen to SEXTANT. Herbie Hancock takes a normal jazz fusion approach and wings out into more experimental/avant areas to make one of the most forward thinking albums ever.

Here's smart idea #1: have the track titles make sense to what the music is doing. WEATHER REPORT had that knack on their debut album, and Hancock can get that visceral connection as well. When I think of ''Hornets'', I thinking of the buzzing sounds from the keyboards that remind me of actual hornets. That's just an example.

Smart idea #2: set up a groovy backbone so that the length is not an issue. Even as plinky, plunky and Tangerine-Dreamy as ''Rain Dance'' is, the handclaps give the track an identifiable groove that you can bop your head to.

Smart idea #3: Bennie Maupin. The man practically made Miles Davis's BITCHES BREW album an enjoyable experience. He takes on more woodwind instruments here via necessity. But that bass clarinet does show up in ''Hidden Shadows'' parroting the bass, and boy is that spellbinding.

And keep in mind that some African based rhythms creep their way into the sound of the band here to the point where that is the reason why the jams hold up so well. That rhythmic foundation is key to the artistic achievement of SEXTANT. It's as if the ideas originally set by Osibisa are taken to the next level.

SEXTANT is far more than a fusion album. It's a dazzling music experience unlike any you've ever laid ears on. A masterpiece from inception.

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 The Prisoner by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.61 | 17 ratings

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The Prisoner
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before Herbie Hancock followed Miles Davis' lead into uncharted realms of cross-genre experimentation, The Prisoner was the culmination of his post-bop work of the 1960s. On a par with other Hancock albums from his post-bop period such as Maiden Voyage, the album takes advantage of an expanded lineup to offer a busier and more complex sound. A musical tribute to Martin Luther King - whose slaying a mere year previously was still fresh in the public's mind - Herbie Hancock claims that the album expresses his real personality better than any preceding piece. It's impossible to judge whether that's a case without meeting the man, but I can see how the personality of the album might be one Herbie wants to present to the world. After all, who wouldn't want to be regarded as similarly brainy, complex, deep, moving and politically aware to the music on here?

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 Head Hunters by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.84 | 124 ratings

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Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Sextant was dazzling, make no mistake about it, but with Head Hunters Herbie goes for a change of approach, injecting horse doctors' doses of funk into the mix, scaling back the more abstract space rock-inspired passages radically, and getting a new backing lineup to really bring the sound of the album together. Particular props have to go to Paul Jackson's bass work - a fat, meaty bass sound being absolutely vital to any funk undertaking - as well as the completely off the wall percussion work of Bill Summers, who brings a truckload of different instruments to bear. But more or less every performer has their moment in the spotlight here - Bennie Maupin's flute performances are a particular treat - and of course Herbie's synths and keyboards are a constant presence. It's a bit of an abrupt gear shift after the Mwandishi albums, but it's an undeniably successful one.

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