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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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Head HuntersHead Hunters
Remastered
Columbia / Legacy 1997
Audio CD$2.93
$1.87 (used)
Essential Herbie HancockEssential Herbie Hancock
Remastered
Sony 2006
Audio CD$9.57
$2.98 (used)
Man-ChildMan-Child
Import
Sony Bmg Europe 2000
Audio CD$4.28
$2.99 (used)
Speak Like a ChildSpeak Like a Child
Blue Note Records 2014
Vinyl$15.37
$17.60 (used)
River: The Joni LettersRiver: The Joni Letters
Verve 2007
Audio CD$7.50
$0.23 (used)
Maiden VoyageMaiden Voyage
Remastered
Blue Note Records 1999
Audio CD$3.87
$2.97 (used)
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Herbie Hancock Rock It columbia 1983 44 03978 12'' SINGLE LP Record US $3.75 [0 bids]
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37m 36s
MILES DAVIS MY FUNNY VALENTINE JAPAN LP 23AP 2562 George Coleman Herbie Hancock US $24.99 Buy It Now 45m 40s
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Herbie Hancock - Takin Off CD PICKWICK US $11.49 Buy It Now 2h 15m
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Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi CD US $15.76 Buy It Now 5h 45m
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HERBIE HANCOCK - Blow-Up - Jazz Sound Track CD US $4.99 [1 bids]
5h 51m
Herbie Hancock - River: Joni Letters CD US $19.56 Buy It Now 6h 13m
Herbie Hancock - Jazz Inspiration CD US $12.70 Buy It Now 6h 13m
Herbie Hancock - Treasure Chest CD US $14.14 Buy It Now 6h 17m
HERBIE HANCOCK v.s.o.p radio edit selections LP Mint- AS 360 Vinyl 1977 Record US $14.00 Buy It Now 6h 17m
Herbie Hancock - Cantaloupe Island CD US $12.59 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Herbie Hancock - Speak Like A Child CD US $12.59 Buy It Now 6h 22m
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles CD US $12.59 Buy It Now 6h 23m
Herbie Hancock - V.S.O.P.: Live Under The Sky CD US $19.96 Buy It Now 6h 25m
Herbie Hancock - Jazz To Funk CD US $18.29 Buy It Now 6h 26m
HERBIE HANCOCK Secrets jazz funk fusion MINT promo lp US $9.56 Buy It Now 6h 34m
Herbie Hancock - Essential Herbie Hancock CD US $18.07 Buy It Now 6h 36m
Herbie Hancock - Sextant CD US $8.61 Buy It Now 6h 44m
Herbie Hancock - Ken Burns Jazz CD US $10.09 Buy It Now 6h 44m
HERBIE HANCOCK Feets Don't Fail Me Now jazz funk Lp US $8.56 [0 bids]
6h 56m
HERBIE HANCOCK Man-Child funk jazz fusion funk 12" vinyl Lp US $10.97 [0 bids]
6h 57m
Herbie Hancock(12" Vinyl)You Bet Your Love-VG/VG US $8.99 Buy It Now 7h
Bob Brookmeyer And Friends,Stan Getz,Herbie Hancock,Gary Burton,Elvin Jones,LP US $12.85 Buy It Now 7h 6m
Diana Ross on Black Music Mag Cover January 1975 Bobby Womack Herbie Hancock US $24.12 Buy It Now 7h 13m
HERBIE HANCOCK / FEETS DON'T FAIL JAPAN MINI LP CD OOP US $49.99 [0 bids]
7h 19m
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HERBIE HANCOCK - THE HERBIE HANCOCK TRIO [1977] [9/23] - NEW CD US $9.60 Buy It Now 7h 28m
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HERBIE HANCOCK: THE BEST OF HERBIE HANCOCK LP I THOUGHT IT WAS YOU US $16.07 Buy It Now 7h 43m
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7h 52m
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Future Shock Herbie Hancock - Columbia Label no. FC 38814 US $5.95 Buy It Now 8h 18m
Sextant by Herbie Hancock (CD, Aug-1998, Columbia (USA)) US $3.79 Buy It Now 8h 35m
HERBIE HANCOCK CHICK COREA an evening with in concert 2 LP VG+ WLP PC2 35663 US $12.00 Buy It Now 8h 36m
Herbie Hancock : Then And Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock CD (2008) US $5.98 Buy It Now 8h 41m
Faith Evans on Blues & Soul Magazine Cover 1995 Yolanda Adams Herbie Hancock US $12.06 Buy It Now 9h 2m
CHARLES TOLLIVER & HERBIE HANCOCK & RON CARTER "PAPER MAN" Arista Freedom AL1002 US $26.00 [0 bids]
9h 10m
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DAY DREAMS - HERBIE HANCOCK (PRISM LEISURE 2002) 132B US $2.99 Buy It Now 9h 58m
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HERBIE HANCOCK - FLOOD [HERBIE HANCOCK] - NEW CD US $20.49 Buy It Now 10h 40m
Herbie Hancock Blues & Soul Iss 207 1976 George Benson The Emotions C M Lord US $20.10 Buy It Now 10h 59m
Herbie Hancock Blues & Soul Iss 358 1982 Brass Construction Maze Ritchie Family US $12.06 Buy It Now 10h 59m
Herbie Hancock Blues & Soul Issue 274 1979 Tina Turner Gary's Gang Switch US $12.06 Buy It Now 11h
herbie hancock 50mm x 50mm PROMO photo press slide negative #C/7952 US $8.02 Buy It Now 11h 5m
Round Midnight Soundtrack Herbie Hancock Dexter Gordon Wayne Shorter LP Promo US $20.00 Buy It Now 11h 5m
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Herbie Hancock - River: Joni Letters [CD New] US $13.18 Buy It Now 11h 8m
HERBIE HANCOCK - ESSENTIAL HERBIE HANCOCK NEW CD US $21.04 Buy It Now 11h 11m
HERBIE HANCOCK - MR. HANDS [HERBIE HANCOCK] [5099747124020] - NEW CD US $14.15 Buy It Now 11h 21m
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HERBIE HANCOCK Secrets LP James Levi Bennie Maupin Doin' It Swamp Rat Spider US $7.99 Buy It Now 11h 36m
HERBIE HANCOCK-INVENTIONS AND DIMEN~-JAPAN BLUE NOTE CD BONUS TRACK D25 US $21.50 Buy It Now 11h 43m
HERBIE HANCOCK Traces LP Stereo Jazz Fusion Up Front Maulana Dunia Kamili US $11.97 Buy It Now 11h 44m
DONALD BYRD-A NEW PERSPECTIVE-JAZZ LP on BLUE NOTE MONO, NY, HERBIE HANCOCK, HA US $9.99 [1 bids]
11h 45m
Herbie Hancock - Sunlight LP - Columbia VG+ US $6.00 [0 bids]
11h 58m
JOE FARRELL Moon Germs 1973 Herbie Hancock Stanley Clarke Jack DeJohnette CTI LP US $14.99 Buy It Now 12h
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Herbie Hancock 1983 ROCKIT 7" 45 Columbia 38-04054 EX US $1.99 [0 bids]
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12h 10m
Quincy Jones - Back on the Block (CD, Qwest) Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Take 6 US $2.65 Buy It Now 12h 17m
THE BEST OF HERBIE HANCOCK 1979 CBS LP JAZZ FUNK IN VERY GOOD CONDITION US $2.09 [1 bids]
12h 20m
Milt Jackson Sunflower LP EX/NM '73 Jazz RVG CTI 6024 Herbie Hancock F. Hubbard US $9.99 [0 bids]
12h 36m
HERBIE HANCOCK Sound System Ex+ CBS Soul LP US $11.24 Buy It Now 12h 57m
TONY WILLIAMS The Joy Of Flying jazz fusion w Herbie Hancock & Stanley Clarke Lp US $6.26 [0 bids]
12h 57m
HERBIE HANCOCK Maiden Voyage NM Blue Note FREDDIE HUBBARD Carter Dolphin Dance US $24.99 Buy It Now 13h 2m
BOB BROOKMEYER and friends LP Herbie Hancock Stan Getz Elvin Jones Gary Burton US $9.99 Buy It Now 13h 6m
HERBIE HANCOCK Rock It LP Vinyl NM Cover VG++ 12" Single Long US $6.64 Buy It Now 13h 13m
HERBIE HANCOCK Sunlight LP Budget Vinyl VG / VG Free Combined Ship $25+ US $8.99 Buy It Now 13h 19m
HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P. Dbl LP Budget Vinyl VG++ / VG++ Free Combined Ship $25+ US $6.99 Buy It Now 13h 19m
JAZZ FUNK LP-ALPHONSE MOUZON "BY ALL MEANS" PA/USA (1981) HERBIE HANCOCK US $8.99 [0 bids]
13h 21m
Herbie Hancock: Monster, Columbia JC-36415, 1980 US $1.99 [0 bids]
13h 32m
BLOW-UP BLOW UP HERBIE HANCOCK CD ALBUM FILM SOUNDTRACK 1992 IMPORT YARDBIRDS US $7.70 Buy It Now 13h 44m

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HERBIE HANCOCK shows & tickets


  • Herbie Hancock live at K.D. Vatroslava Lisinskog on 26 Nov 2014
  • Herbie Hancock at Sava Centar, Belgrade on 27 Nov 2014
  • Herbie Hancock live at JazzFest Brno on 29 Nov 2014
  • Herbie Hancock + Chick Corea at The Paramount Theatre, Seattle on 14 Mar 2015
  • Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea on 21 Mar 2015
  • Chick Corea + Herbie Hancock at Massey Hall, Toronto on 14 Apr 2015
  • Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea on 18 Apr 2015

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)

3.21 | 5 ratings
Rock Your Soul (aka Jammin' With Herbie)
1961
3.80 | 26 ratings
Takin' Off
1962
3.12 | 6 ratings
My Point of View
1963
3.88 | 14 ratings
Inventions And Dimensions (aka Succotash)
1963
3.80 | 34 ratings
Empyrean Isles
1964
4.31 | 135 ratings
Maiden Voyage
1965
3.02 | 9 ratings
Blow-Up [OST split with The Yardbirds]
1966
4.25 | 26 ratings
Speak Like a Child
1968
3.61 | 19 ratings
The Prisoner
1969
3.67 | 20 ratings
Fat Albert Rotunda
1969
4.07 | 46 ratings
Mwandishi
1971
4.26 | 226 ratings
Crossings
1972
4.14 | 121 ratings
Sextant
1973
3.92 | 6 ratings
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (soundtrack)
1973
3.85 | 133 ratings
Head Hunters
1973
4.07 | 72 ratings
Thrust
1974
4.00 | 14 ratings
Death Wish
1974
3.57 | 40 ratings
Man-Child
1975
3.12 | 19 ratings
Secrets
1976
3.00 | 3 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 | 21 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
2.68 | 23 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
2.00 | 6 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
2.11 | 9 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)

2.33 | 6 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 | 6 ratings
V.S.O.P.
1977
3.97 | 11 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
3.95 | 2 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
4.07 | 7 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
 The Essential Herbie Hancock by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.95 | 2 ratings

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The Essential Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars I have long had an intention to listen to Herbie Hancock's most progressive fusion albums from the 70's. Also in general I haven't yet formed a closer picture of the large discography of the legandary American jazz keyboardist, but this 2-CD compilation served as a good basic introduction a couple of years ago. It covers the years from 1962 to 1996 (the CD was released in 2006). I had made myself a "best of the best" single disc of it, and after listening to it this morning with great pleasure I thought to write the first review here.

I'm fond of jazz (favouring more recent stuff, vocal jazz and fusion included) but I'm not an expert in the genre's historical phases. When I listen to a canonised classic jazz musician it's not so important for me to fully ackowledge the musician's place in the genre development. One of Hancock's achievements is the vast diversity, including the aforementioned progressive fusion, hip hop and other danceable styles. Some of his music perhaps goes too much into territories not very pleasant to us prog listeners.

The opening tracks 'Watermelon Man' and 'Round Midnight' (the latter being an overplayed jazz standard, not written by Hancock or even associated to him especially) didn't make it to my own CD, but starting from 'Cantaloupe Island' from his perhaps first masterpiece album Maiden Voyage (1965) the music feels timeless, not worn-out in the least bit. The title track of that album is wonderful, nearly 8-minute composition with plenty of progressivity. The music has intelligence and passion in perfect balance, as well as groove and melody. Side by side with Hancock's piano the leading role is given to e.g. reed instruments, such as Freddie Hubbard's cornet/trumpet.

The late 60's collaborations with MILES DAVIS are also represented, but not the electric fusion side of it. Finishing the first disc, 'Joanna's Theme' is taken from the Death Wish soundtrack (1974). It's really good to have the music in chronological order, so the compilation gives an overall picture of Hancock's different phases. Disc Two wanders from acoustic piano trio stuff to fusion and to the futuristic electricity of 'Rockit'. The New Standard (1996) was an album that covered e.g. Peter Gabriel ('Mercy Street'), Simon & Garfunkel, Prince and Sade. Here it's represented by HH's own tune 'Manhattan'.

There's no doubt that connoisseurs would have much to argue about what's included and what's not, not to speak about the inability to pack the whole respectable career in just two discs, but even with an emphasis on well known tracks this is more than a decent compilation, and a very functionable introduction.

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 Takin' Off by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1962
3.80 | 26 ratings

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Takin' Off
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After performing on one album with the Pepper Adams & Donald Byrd Quintet, HERBIE HANCOCK wasted no time TAKIN' OFF into the limelight with his first solo release. Although this is basically a continuation of the hard bop found on the quintet's album, HERBIE is allowed to blossom here and he really stands out amongst the crowds of other hard boppers of the day. His signature piano playing isn't quite as funk-tinged as it would become in the 70s but it is already here gestating in this more traditional take on the contemporary jazz with top notch musicians to back him up. The duo horn section of Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon with bassist Butch Warren and drummer Billy Higgins prove that HERBIE HANCOCK was ready for prime time and luckily for him success came almost instantly.

The album kicks off with "Watermelon Man" which may sound familiar because it's the same tune that was re-recorded for his jazz n' funkfest album "Headhunters" which like this debut upped his stardom another few notches. This first version is a standard jazz bop affair with a nice and easy delivery going on. Fans of HERBIE's later jazz-fusion work may not be impressed with this album since this is a HERBIE HANCOCK going with the flow of the contemporary music scene but he does it with such panache and confidence that it is an excellent album that shows the promise of the diversifying sounds he would later embrace. I prefer the more upbeat songs myself and find the slower ballads less interesting, however the strong tracks alone make this more than a worthy listening experience for pure jazz lovers.

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 Rock Your Soul (aka Jammin' With Herbie) by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1961
3.21 | 5 ratings

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Rock Your Soul (aka Jammin' With Herbie)
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album was originally released in 1961 and HERBIE HANCOCK debuts to the recording world on it but it was released under the name PEPPER ADAMS AND DONALD BYRD QUINTET - Out Of This World.

This album not only exhibits the cumbersome band names and titles of jazz albums throughout recording history but also is the perfect example of how a few recorded tracks that went virtually unheard at the time of release would go on to be repackaged, renamed under not only totally different track names and sequential order but also by completely different composers and artists! This album would have probably been a total obscurity in history had it not been for the the fact that it is the very first recording to feature HERBIE HANCOCK.

Let me list all the differences simply as a place to sort out the dizzying variations.

Those released under the artist name

PEPPER ADAMS & DONALD BYRD QUINTET

Original release:

album: Out Of This World

released in 1961 as Warwick W 2041

tracks:

1. Curro's

2. It's a Beautiful Evening

3. Mr. Lucky Theme

4. Bird House

5. Day Dreams

Second version:

album: Out Of This World Vol 2

released in 1988 as Warwick 2041 - 2

tracks:

1. I'm An Old Cowhand (Unreleased)

2. Day Dreams (alt. take)

3. Out Of This World (alt. take)

4. Mr. Lucky (alt. take)

5. Curro's (alt. take)

6. Byrd House (alt. Take)

Third version:

album: Out Of This World: The Complete Warwick Sessions

released in 2010 on CD

tracks:

1. Byrd House

2. Mr. Lucky

3. Day Dreams

4. I'm An Old Cowhand

5. Curro's

6. It's A Beautiful Evening

7. Out Of This World

Many of these tracks have also been released and put together in many ways as HERBIE HANCOCK album compilations as well. These album titles include:

Voyager

Jammin'(with Herbie)

Hancock!

And

ROCK YOUR SOUL, which is technically a 2007 compilation of versions of these tracks

They have been renamed as they've been repackaged:

1. Jammin' With Herbie = Curro's

2. Herbie's Blues = Bird House

3. Rock Your Soul = Mr. Lucky

4. T.C.B. With Herbie = Out Of This World

5. Soul Power = Day Dreams

6. Cat Call = I'm An Old Cowhand

Note that "It's A Beautiful Evening" is missing from this release

After all that, let me get to the music. Well what we get here is some nice pleasant hard bop fairly standard from the period. Nothing extraordinary yet nothing horrible either. It is interesting to hear the very first recording from HERBIE HANCOCK where he simply accompanies the band and even though you can hear a trace of his jazz funk sound that would evolve into more interesting creations, I don't think this is an essential recording by any means. His piano playing pretty much continues on his very first album "Takin' Off" where it has improved. I guess I would pick this up at a very reduced price but don't lose any sleep if you can't find it. One of those collector's items and a good example of how poorly some earlier jazz albums were re-released over the decades, which makes it extremely confusing.

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 Empyrean Isles by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1964
3.80 | 34 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 | 46 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
3.85 | 133 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
3.85 | 133 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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 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.26 | 226 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

3 stars The Crossings is often described as one of the greatest Herbie Hancock's fusion albums, but it has failed to impress me .. matter of fact, I am considering throttling it back to 2 stars only.

The Side A is quite decent, but nothing to write home about - a couple jazz-rock/fusion bits here and there, diluted by some foggy experimental stuff of the "it fell where it got dropped it" kind.

The Side B didn't work out well for me at all. It certainly didn't sound anything like jazz. And I can't remember what it sounded like - for which lapse of memory I sincerely apologize to those who may read this review.

Perhaps, I should force myself to listen to the second part of the CD on my way to Walmart and back :)

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 Maiden Voyage by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1965
4.31 | 135 ratings

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Maiden Voyage
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

5 stars I do not know if I would necessarily categorize this album as jazz-rock fusion, but I am ever so glad the Maiden Voyage has made it into the Progarchives lists!

(a side note: isn't that incredible that Herbie Hancock, who'd come up with this masterpiece 50 years ago, is still in business!)

To my ear, the Maiden Voyage is the highest achievement in the modal jazz realm. Miles Davis and John Coltrane may have invented modal jazz as a style (subgenre?), and their heir best-loved albums Kind of Blue and A Love Supreme have lots of brilliant stuff, but they aren't quite as pleasant to listen to as a whole. In other words, the Maiden Voyage is probably the most perfect all-around modal album of the 1960s era. I can think of some younger artists who have made even better albums, but to me the Maiden Voyage remains the modal jazz standard, which all newer albums will be measured up against.

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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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