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HERBIE HANCOCK

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Herbie Hancock biography
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock - Born April 12, 1940 (Chicago, USA)

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 t...
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Maiden VoyageMaiden Voyage
Blue Note 2014
$16.36
$18.73 (used)
Takin' Off [LP]Takin' Off [LP]
Blue Note 2019
$22.99
Empyrean Isles [LP]Empyrean Isles [LP]
Blue Note 2015
$14.08
$15.99 (used)
Head Hunters [Vinyl]Head Hunters [Vinyl]
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2010
$21.88
$15.95 (used)
5 Original Albums [5 CD]5 Original Albums [5 CD]
Blue Note 2018
$11.48
$8.44 (used)
Man-ChildMan-Child
Sony Bmg Europe 2000
$5.32
$3.91 (used)
ThrustThrust
Legacy 2011
$5.80
$8.98 (used)
SextantSextant
Legacy 2008
$4.98
$1.85 (used)
Best Of: Herbie HancockBest Of: Herbie Hancock
Blue Note 1988
$13.01
$1.70 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Pieces of a Dream "Imagine This" LP Orig Herbie Hancock USD $6.99 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock - Flood [New CD] Herbie Hancock - Flood [New CD] Remastered, Japa USD $22.35 Buy It Now
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HERBIE HANCOCK Autodrive 1983 UK 3-track 12'' Single EXCELLENT CONDITION USD $6.12 Buy It Now
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Roy Ayers - Stoned Soul Picnic (2002) 1968 Herbie Hancock atlantic jazz USD $7.67 Buy It Now
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KIMIKO KASAI, HERBIE HANCOCK Butterfly JAPAN CD SRCS-9332 1997 USD $41.84 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK AUTODRIVE 7" VINYL USD $3.20 Buy It Now
ANDY SUMMERS CHARMING SNAKES CD FROM 1990 PRIVATE MUSIC POLICE HERBIE HANCOCK USD $18.99 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK PLUS OTHERS,A TRIBUTE TO MILES,CD ALBUM,1994 USD $6.38 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK,LIVE UNDER THE SKY,DOUBLE CD ALBUM ,COLUMBIA 2004 USD $10.21 Buy It Now
Dis Is Da Drum by Herbie Hancock (CD, Mar-2003, Mercury) USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea 'An Evening With In Concert DBL LP USD $4.95 [1 bids]
Herbie Hancock-The Prisoner Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $22.84 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK Sound-System JAPAN CD SRCS-9509 1998 USD $45.73 Buy It Now
The Best of Herbie Hancock - CD Album - 1995 - 9 Great Tracks USD $10.21 Buy It Now
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MY POINT OF VIEW Herbie Hancock RG Edition 1999 New Sealed CD Ships Free USD $12.50 Buy It Now
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HERBIE HANCOCK FEETS DON'T FAIL ME NOW CBS/SONY 25AP 1340 Japan LP USD $12.00 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock - Treasure Chest (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.92 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK / Lite Me Up JAPAN CD Mini LP w/OBI SRCS-9507 USD $64.50 Buy It Now
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Herbie Hancock Death Wish OST PL33199 1974 Columbia Vinyl Record LP R23 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK / Secrets JAPAN CD Mini LP w/OBI SRCS-9340 USD $44.50 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK / Magic Windows JAPAN CD Mini LP w/OBI SRCS-9506 USD $44.50 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK "V.S.O.P." (2 LPS) PREMIUM QUALITY USED LP (NM/EX) USD $18.99 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock - Feet's Don't Fail Me Now LP. Jc 35764. E vinyl - Plays nice USD $10.79 Buy It Now 39m 20s
Herbie Hancock - Thrust LP. PC 32965. E vinyl - nice USD $19.79 Buy It Now 41m 38s
Cantaloupe Island - Herbie Hancock Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $12.40 Buy It Now 58m 49s
Electro/Funk Herbie Hancock Vinyl LP Record USD $15.34 [0 bids]
59m 31s
Inventions & Dimensions by Herbie Hancock (CD, 1989, Blue Note) GOOD / FREE S&H USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 12m
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Blue Note Record Herbie Hancock 84175 Close to Mint Vinyl Record 1985 USD $9.99 [1 bids]
1h 32m
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HERBIE HANCOCK Perfect Machine (CD 1988) USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1h 55m
HERBIE HANCOCK Blow Up Soundtrack VG+ LP 1966 MGM SE4447 ST Yardbirds USD $29.95 Buy It Now 2h 17m
Takin' Off * by Herbie Hancock (CD, May-1996, Blue Note (Label)) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2h 23m
HERBIE HANCOCK HARD ROCK IT *RARE* US 12" PICTURE DISC VINYL COLUMBIA 1984 LTD USD $49.90 Buy It Now 2h 37m
CONCERT LP AN EVENING w/ HERBIE HANCOCK CHICK COREA 1978 CBS VINYL 2 RECORD SET USD $34.99 [0 bids]
2h 50m
Herbie Hancock Gershwin's World SEALED CD Stevie Wonder Chick Corea WayneShorter USD $7.99 Buy It Now 3h 16m
ROUND MIDNIGHT-HERBIE HANCOCK-SOUNDTRACK-ORIGINAL YUGOSLAV CASSETTE TAPE 1986 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3h 21m
Herbie Hancock My Point Of View Blue Note CD USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3h 22m
HERBIE HANCOCK QUARTET - Chicago 1981. Vinyl. New LP. Album. Record. Jazz. Funk. USD $12.77 Buy It Now 3h 29m
Herbie Hancock : River the Joni Letters CD (2007) USD $3.88 Buy It Now 3h 30m
CHICK COREA/HERBIE HANCOCK - AN EVENING WITH CHICK COREA & HERBIE HANCOCK NEW CD USD $11.96 Buy It Now 3h 34m
HERBIE HANCOCK - CANTALOUPE ISLAND NEW CD USD $8.28 Buy It Now 3h 36m
HERBIE HANCOCK "Riot" vintage Blue Note 2LP (shrink/best of) USD $11.98 Buy It Now 3h 55m
Airto "Identity" original vinyl LP 1975 w/ Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3h 56m
The Best of Herbie Hancock [Blue Note] by Herbie Hancock (CD, Feb-2002, Toshiba USD $8.50 Buy It Now 3h 57m
HERBIE HANCOCK HARDROCK 7" VINYL RECORD 45 RPM SLEEVE VG+ / VINYL NM 1984 USD $7.03 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Music Matters 45rpm Blue Note Reissue Dble LP Herbie Hancock Inventions USD $127.84 [0 bids]
4h 29m
Gershwin's World by Herbie Hancock (CD, Oct-1998, Verve) USD $3.73 Buy It Now 4h 29m
PAUL DESMOND Summertime SEALED Gatefold New Vinyl LP 1969 SP-3015 Herbie Hancock USD $38.89 Buy It Now 4h 39m
Harold Vick - Watch What Happens CD Featuring Herbie Hancock USD $12.77 Buy It Now 4h 47m
Herbie Hancock - My Point Of View - Hard Bop-Post Bop Vinyl LP - Blue Note-Mono USD $15.99 [1 bids]
4h 49m
HERBIE HANCOCK QUARTET - Self-Titled (1990) - CD - **Excellent Condition** USD $18.75 Buy It Now 4h 49m
CROSSINGS - Herbie Hancock Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $11.77 Buy It Now 4h 59m
Fat Albert Rotonda - Herbie Hancock Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $11.58 Buy It Now 4h 59m
Herbie Hancock Go For It USD $1.27 [0 bids]
5h 8m
Kimiko Kasai With Herbie Hancock - Butterfly [VINYL] USD $30.84 Buy It Now 5h 15m
Herbie Hancock - The Essence - 12" Vinyl Record USD $12.77 Buy It Now 5h 17m
"THE BEST OF HERBIE HANCOCK" - RECORD ALBUM LP - COLUMBIA JC36309 - 1A/1A USD $14.95 Buy It Now 5h 19m
Herbie Hancock ~Secrets~ (VINYL_LP_RECORD) "Cantelope Island" 1976 Columbia Rec. USD $15.99 Buy It Now 5h 20m
Round Midnight (Soundtrack) (Herbie Hancock,Dexter Gordon,Lonette McKee) ('86) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 5h 29m
(CD) HERBIE HANCOCK - River: The Joni Years / AUTOGRAPHED USD $24.99 Buy It Now 5h 43m
Classic Jazz The Seventies CD Various Artists NEW Miles Davis/Herbie Hancock USD $6.95 Buy It Now 5h 44m
Herbie Hancock - Feets Don't Fail Me Now 12" Vinyl Album 1979 USD $3.84 [0 bids]
5h 47m
Herbie Hancock - The New Standard (CD, Jun-2011, Verve) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 6h 9m
KENNY DORHAM: Una Mas US Blue Note 4127 EAR Orig Herbie Hancock Jazz LP Hear! USD $475.00 Buy It Now 6h 13m
Betty/Miles Davis The Columbia Years Vinyl LP Record herbie hancock jimi hendrix USD $31.99 Buy It Now 6h 29m
HERBIE HANCOCK Takin' Off 180g VINYL LP Sealed NUMBERED Dexter Gordon CISCO 2006 USD $89.99 Buy It Now 6h 32m
Chick Corea Herbie Hancock Keith Jarret McCoy Tyler Rare Jazz Lp Record 1st Pres USD $10.00 Buy It Now 6h 35m
THRUST - Herbie Hancock Compact Disc Free Shipping! USD $11.72 Buy It Now 6h 42m
Herbie Hancock Feets Don't Fail Me Now 1979 SEALED USA LP w/ HYPE STICKER USD $14.99 Buy It Now 6h 53m
Herbie Hancock - Sextant [New CD] USD $7.23 Buy It Now 7h 16m
Herbie Hancock-Takin' Off CD NEW USD $9.53 Buy It Now 7h 38m
Herbie Hancock . VSOP . made in Holland . 1977 CBS 2 LP USD $10.43 [0 bids]
7h 42m
The Best of Herbie Hancock The Blue Note Years CDP 5 91142 2 Jazz Funk USD $9.99 Buy It Now 7h 46m
Herbie Hancock JAZZ LP Feets Dont Fail Me Now 1979 USA USD $13.98 Buy It Now 7h 46m
Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock, Herbie Hancock, Good USD $8.00 Buy It Now 7h 56m
HERBIE HANCOCK MONSTER COLUMBIA JC36415 PROMO USA 1980 NM/VG+ USD $15.00 Buy It Now 8h 8m
Herbie Hancock Late Night Jazz Favorites CD Afro Boogie Far Out Hot USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 8m
VICTORIA DOMALGOSKI LP Victoria WLP PROMO San Francisco HERBIE HANCOCK 1971 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 8h 17m
HERBIE HANCOCK - TREASURE CHEST - WB RECORDS-2WS 2807 - NEW-MINT - GATE FOLD USD $25.00 Buy It Now 8h 19m
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A(2)vintage Herbie Hancock Rockit/Autodrive 12"RECORD PROMO w/photo bio jazz USD $12.99 Buy It Now 8h 45m
Return of the Headhunters; 1998 CD, Jazz Fusion, Herbie Hancock, Bennie Maupin, USD $2.19 Buy It Now 8h 48m
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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)

3.84 | 46 ratings
Takin' Off
1962
3.38 | 20 ratings
My Point of View
1963
3.96 | 33 ratings
Inventions And Dimensions [Aka: Succotash]
1964
3.83 | 61 ratings
Empyrean Isles
1964
4.23 | 199 ratings
Maiden Voyage
1965
3.03 | 17 ratings
Blow-Up (OST)
1966
4.22 | 43 ratings
Speak Like A Child
1968
3.61 | 34 ratings
The Prisoner
1969
3.68 | 36 ratings
Fat Albert Rotunda
1969
3.20 | 11 ratings
Jammin' With Herbie [Aka: Rock Your Soul; Voyager]
1970
4.09 | 80 ratings
Mwandishi
1971
4.27 | 300 ratings
Crossings
1972
4.15 | 187 ratings
Sextant
1973
3.97 | 12 ratings
The Spook Who Sat By The Door (OST)
1973
3.89 | 217 ratings
The Herbie Hancock Group: Head Hunters
1973
4.12 | 117 ratings
Thrust
1974
3.89 | 25 ratings
Death Wish (OST)
1974
3.56 | 60 ratings
Man-Child
1975
3.06 | 36 ratings
Secrets
1976
3.09 | 13 ratings
The Herbie Hancock Trio
1977
2.85 | 15 ratings
Directstep
1978
2.65 | 29 ratings
Sunlight
1978
1.63 | 19 ratings
Feets Don't Fail Me Now
1979
3.51 | 15 ratings
The Piano
1979
2.14 | 16 ratings
Monster
1980
3.30 | 33 ratings
Mr. Hands
1980
3.31 | 13 ratings
Herbie Hancock Trio - With Ron Carter + Tony Williams
1981
2.00 | 11 ratings
Magic Windows
1981
1.80 | 10 ratings
Lite Me Up
1982
2.74 | 43 ratings
Future Shock
1983
3.00 | 16 ratings
Sound-System
1984
4.04 | 7 ratings
Herbie Hancock & Foday Musa Suso: Village Life
1985
2.98 | 8 ratings
Round Midnight (OST)
1986
1.91 | 13 ratings
Perfect Machine
1988
3.08 | 14 ratings
Dis Is Da Drum
1994
3.20 | 11 ratings
Herbie Hancock, W. Shorter, R. Carter, W. Roney & T. Williams: A Tribute To Miles
1994
3.04 | 17 ratings
The New Standard
1995
3.90 | 12 ratings
Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter: 1+1
1997
3.79 | 20 ratings
Gershwin's World
1998
2.12 | 14 ratings
Future 2 Future
2001
1.74 | 10 ratings
Possibilities
2005
3.97 | 15 ratings
River - The Joni Letters
2007
3.08 | 17 ratings
The Imagine Project
2010

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

3.50 | 4 ratings
Hear, O Israel
1968
3.00 | 4 ratings
In Concert, Vol. 2 (with Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter and Eric Gale)
1973
2.21 | 5 ratings
Dedication
1974
3.21 | 21 ratings
Flood
1975
4.03 | 12 ratings
V.S.O.P.
1977
4.09 | 15 ratings
V.S.O.P.: The Quintet
1977
4.67 | 6 ratings
V.S.O.P.: Tempest in the Colosseum
1977
3.15 | 7 ratings
An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea
1978
4.08 | 7 ratings
V.S.O.P.: Live Under the Sky
1979
4.00 | 4 ratings
CoreaHancock
1979
3.13 | 5 ratings
Herbie Hancock Quartet
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
One Night With Blue Note, Volume 1 (with Bobby Hutcherson / James Newton)
1985
3.00 | 1 ratings
Jazz Africa (with Foday Musa Suso)
1986
3.00 | 1 ratings
Day Dreams
2002
4.00 | 4 ratings
Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live: Detroit/Chicago
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Omaha Civic Auditorium 17th November 1975
2015

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
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Herbie Hancock
1979
5.00 | 2 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
2.91 | 2 ratings
the Very best Of Herbie hancock
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Quartet Live
1994
4.60 | 5 ratings
Cantaloupe Island
1994
4.07 | 8 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
2.00 | 5 ratings
Rockit
1983

HERBIE HANCOCK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.27 | 300 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars After leaving Blue Note Records in 1969, HERBIE HANCOCK was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for the Bill Cosby animated television special 'Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert' which allowed him to move beyond his primarily pure jazz realm of post- bop and modal jazz and find new ways to unleash his creative expressions with his former employer Miles Davis in the world of jazz- fusion. While Davis was creating impressionist surrealism with his adventures into the jazz-rock hybrid paradigm, HANCOCK on the other hand was lured into the possibilities of a funk-jazz fusion resulting from his admiration of Sly & The Family Stone. After signing on to Warner Bros. he would release his first fusion album 'Fat Albert Rotunda' in 1969 which would set the stage for his entire run through the 70s but after that album was released he got more ambitious as his interest in Sun Ra's avant-garde explorations started to enter the picture along with various strains of electronic music.

With 1971's 'Mwandishi' HANCOCK ventured into a complex trilogy of albums named after the first edition. On that album he employed the talents of bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart, and a trio of horn players: Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), and multi-reedist Bennie Maupin which despite resulting in a lackluster sales performance still managed to garner critical acclaim. For the second offering of the Mwandishi Trilogy, HANCOCK wanted to spruce it up a bit with extra doses of electronica. Patrick Gleeson was scheduled to audition for some key parts but HANCOCK was blown away by his uncanny command of the instrument and how he could make the music talk in ways he'd never experienced and thus Gleeson joined the band as the seventh member and appeared on the next two albums beginning with HANCOCK's tenth overall album in the canon called CROSSINGS.

In addition to the seven main members, there are additional performers with congas and chorus vocals. The opening track 'Sleeping Giant' was monumental in scope. The near 25 minute track opens in an eruption of tribal percussion as if a war dance were being performed in the distant deepest jungles of the Congo. This newest development displaysed HANCOCK's infatuation with the percussive explorations of Sun Ra's avant-garde jazz escapades that quietly fueled the underground jazz world of the 60s. While the percussive drive is completely outside the purview of the lockstep orthodoxies that the jazz world had settled into, the orgy of pummeling drums and congas juxtaposes the ancient traditional African rhythms alongside more sanctioned modern jazz styles. The track subtly introduces electronic counterpoints until it finally erupts in the fully fueled funk fusion that provides the main harmonic drive throughout the album.

'Sleeping Giant' signifies a contemplative spiritual journey of the African diaspora experience as displayed by the album cover art of Robert Springett who would continue producing eye catching cover art for HANCOCK for the rest of the 70s. The album is basically split between this lengthy track, originally as the entire side one on vinyl which was written by HANCOCK while the second side which contains the other two tracks were written by Maupin. Around the seven minute mark the percussion ceases and it becomes a spacier form of spiritual jazz with both modal styled keyboard tinkling but the funk bass wrests control of the formless fluttering about of the angularity and nudges the the rhythmic groove back into the a more structured flow as if playing tug-of-war with the horn section's desire to go fully freeform. Eventually the funk wins as it sounds more like the completely controlled funk fusion of the 'Fat Albert Rotunda' album. The track continues to drift in and out of funk and spacier airy fairy jazz until it reaches its conclusion.

The middle track 'Quasar' is by far the shortest of the three but still extending past the seven minute mark. A much more avant-jazz track, this one evokes the most 'out there' moments of Sun Ra's works such as 'Strange Strings' that eschew any known confines of tradition but the track slowly takes on more recognizable acoustic jazz characteristics with a plethora of freaky Moog sounds sputtering around like overdosing drug addicts at a party gone wrong tripping their brains out aimlessly about. Despite some of the moments of funk and fleeting moments of melody, 'Quasar' wins as the most surreal track on the album award as it evokes its namesake of a distant starlike extragalactic object with moments of clarity randomly emerging from the static. This is really a weird track as the talking trumpets seem to be communicating with the acoustic jazz bass and funk-tinged keyboards. The ambient backdrop keeps the track in a constant state of distant surreality.

The second longest track is the grand finale 'Water Torture' which rightfully begins with some sounds emulating flowing water and a rather erratic tribal beat as if a surprise attack is eminent. There is a lot of effort thrown into the intricately designed percussion as it casts a spell to paint the dots of the picture that the wind instruments and Moog sounds fill in with shades of colorful timbres and dynamics and even has moments of progressive big band fury. While it may not seem possible after the hypnotic unpredictability of 'Quasar,' this track of almost fourteen minutes evokes the ultimate psychedelic journey into the world of jazz where cohesion and complete breakdown drift in and out of sync. Once again, the adventurous Earthly detachment of Sun Ra's influence is on display however the moments of funk, fleeting melodies and playfulness of the timbres, rhythms and dynamics showcase HANCOCK's idiosyncratic journey into similar musical arenas but treads his own sliver of this avant-sector of the jazz- fusion world.

While the following 'Sextant' would take things into the even stranger and more complex world of the avant-garde, CROSSINGS as its name implies is the perfect crossroads of sort for the funk-jazz fusion affairs of the previous two albums and even the complete abandonment of the paradigm set even on the 'Mwandishi' album. CROSSINGS is really one of those albums that you simply have to experience to understand and not only experience once but many times in different moods and allow the various other-worldly effects to sink in. This is not an easy listening album to say the least as it entwines so many different music genres and twists them into new multi-faceted creations that sound like no other even within the Mwandishi Trilogy itself. Given the complexity of the music it would seem there may be some classical influences underlying its magnanimous ability to continue an almost imperceptible melodic flow to the album's lengthy run as if the melodies themselves were twisted until obfuscation darkened all but the fleeting few that were allowed to surface from their banishment into another dimension. Hauntingly beautiful, CROSSINGS was a major achievement that would only be topped by the 'Sextant' album that followed.

 Sextant by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 187 ratings

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Sextant
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Trevere

5 stars Pulse. Feel. Timing. These are the building blocks of rhythm as currently known, and Herbie Hancock's Sextant gets down to the nitty-gritty of it. Borrowing unabashedly from tribal percussion, Hancock and his Mwandishi-era octet pursue a bare rhythmic feel, strongly recalling African drum circles and early forms of music itself. However, they do this in an incredibly innovative and particular way, as they not only utilize acoustic percussion but also from modular synthesizers and electronic drums. The resulting product is a delightful show of rhythm, in which the octet put forth a futuristic but fundamental-based sound like nothing before it; it's as if the listener is attaining a small glimpse of what tribal music will sound like hundreds of years from now. On top of the percussive elements, the octet also pushes the futuristic feel with electronic soundscapes which enhance the advanced harmonic concepts played by the band. Mellotrons, clavinets, and a variety of synthesizers (as well as an occasional acoustic piano) played by Hancock provide a solid foundation whilst texturizing the music further. The rest of the members melodically play off the keys with a variety of instruments. These range from saxophones, clarinets, and trumpets to flugelhorns and Hum-A-Zoos. Naturally, a huge array of sonic capabilities is explored on the record, resulting in an incredible amount of color through sound. Vivid Avant-tinged soundscapes are thrust on the listener throughout the album's 40-minute runtime in an unapologetically brazen manner. Although Sextant fascinates with its unique sound, it can be slightly overwhelming at times. The mixture and modernization of the wide range of musical ideas seen on the record is rather jarring at times, proving undeniably esoteric. However, the record is more rewarding because of it, as musical ideas can be extrapolated from it in a seemingly endless fashion. New themes and concepts transpire with each new listen. Sextant, Herbie's most innovative outing, is a truly remarkable album that cannot be properly experienced until heard, and it is absolutely advisable one does so. Time to groove.
 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.27 | 300 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Trevere

5 stars Pulse. Feel. Timing. These are the building blocks of rhythm as currently known, and Herbie Hancock's Sextant gets down to the nitty-gritty of it. Borrowing unabashedly from tribal percussion, Hancock and his Mwandishi-era octet pursue a bare rhythmic feel, strongly recalling African drum circles and early forms of music itself. However, they do this in an incredibly innovative and particular way, as they not only utilize acoustic percussion but also from modular synthesizers and electronic drums. The resulting product is a delightful show of rhythm, in which the octet put forth a futuristic but fundamental-based sound like nothing before it; it's as if the listener is attaining a small glimpse of what tribal music will sound like hundreds of years from now.

On top of the percussive elements, the octet also pushes the futuristic feel with electronic soundscapes which enhance the advanced harmonic concepts played by the band. Mellotrons, clavinets, and a variety of synthesizers (as well as an occasional acoustic piano) played by Hancock provide a solid foundation whilst texturizing the music further. The rest of the members melodically play off the keys with a variety of instruments. These range from saxophones, clarinets, and trumpets to flugelhorns and Hum-A-Zoos. Naturally, a huge array of sonic capabilities is explored on the record, resulting in an incredible amount of color through sound. Vivid Avant-tinged soundscapes are thrust on the listener throughout the album's 40-minute runtime in an unapologetically brazen manner.

Although Sextant fascinates with its unique sound, it can be slightly overwhelming at times. The mixture and modernization of the wide range of musical ideas seen on the record is rather jarring at times, proving undeniably esoteric. However, the record is more rewarding because of it, as musical ideas can be extrapolated from it in a seemingly endless fashion. New themes and concepts transpire with each new listen. Sextant, Herbie's most innovative outing, is a truly remarkable album that cannot be properly experienced until heard, and it is absolutely advisable one does so. Time to groove.

 Thrust by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.12 | 117 ratings

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Thrust
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After getting his feet wet, Herbie Hancock approached Miles Davis to join in one of his line-ups in 1963, and helped to build up his rhythm section at the time. The section he built up was a young one, but it turned out they were quite effective, and Hancock began his professional music career off of that experience. Almost immediately, he was in the public eye, and when he struck out as a solo artist for Blue Note Records a year later, he really had no problem getting his name and reputation out there. He worked with Miles Davis until 1968 and expanded his solo career at the same time. By 1969, he had built up his reputation enough to record under his own name, or under various project names.

In 1973, he formed The Headhunters, and soon released an album under that name. This new funky sound helped him expand his fan base by crossing over to pop genres. His mix of jazz, pop, r&b, soul and funk was present on this album and it turned out to be a big hit, thus spawning other albums.

The 2nd album under The Headhunters name was 'Thrust' released in 1974 and it continued the sound started with the successful and acclaimed 'Head Hunters' album. It also turned out to be a huge selling album and is still considered relevant and important today. It consists of 4 tracks spanning a total run time of 38 minutes.

'Palm Grease' starts by establishing a beat and is soon joined by percussion and a funky synth, adding some bass and later sax and keyboards playing the main hook together. The tenor sax later takes over improvising off of the main riff, with plenty of keys supporting and at times taking over the lead. The catchy rhythm and flashy percussion carries it all forward and make the sound very appealing and accessible, but Hancock hadn't totally let the simple theme carry his tracks yet, so there is still plenty of real jazz improvisation to keep things interesting.

Hancock's 1973 album was a soundtrack for the controversial movie 'The Spook Who Sat By the Door' which was also a highly acclaimed album. The next track on 'Thrust' which is called 'Actual Proof' was originally written for that soundtrack. This track is less funky, but still quite upbeat and driven more by jazz and to a lesser degree, r&b. A fast moving bass line drives the solo keyboards (Fender Rhodes electric piano) that highlight most of this track. The feel is much more progressive with some interesting competing meters between the improvisation and the rhythm section. This is not just a great example of Hancock's abilities on the electric piano, but is also an example of how he was able to make the rhythm section that supports improvisation much more interesting thus making the overall sound much more vibrant and dynamic. This style of having a complex rhythm section underneath the solo instrument was all started by Hancock when he worked with Miles Davis and is one of the things that made Hancock so important and popular in those days. This track doesn't really expand on other solo instrumentation until later in the 2nd half of the track when the alto flute gets a chance to show off a bit.

'Butterfly' is a much slower groove starting out featuring the bass clarinet and alto sax playing the main theme together. Of course, the rhythm section is allowed to mess around with their own riffs, and soon the sax takes over the improvisation with a sweet solo as things get a little funkier with the freedom that the bass has to make his part interesting, but the tempo staying moderate. The keys in this one pretty much holds everything together, but later, you get a solo from Hancock too, this time enhanced with some interesting sounding wind instruments. The interplay between the instruments makes this track interesting, and it stands out a lot more because of the slower tempo. There are also noticeable layers of different synths. This track would be used on the Headhunters live album 'Flood' which would be released in 1975. After Hancock gets to show off his toys and his talent, the theme returns as at the first after the 9 minute mark.

'Spank-a-Lee' goes back to the fast funky groove similar to the first track but with some really cool effects furnished by both Hancock and the one man brass section Bernie Maupin. That man is another extremely well talented musician and it is easy to see why Hancock used his talents a lot, even prior to forming The Headhunters. He layers some of his instruments to make some interesting sounds and contrasts through the album, but they really stand out here, and go so well with Hancock's style. After a while, the sax breaks out of the fray with another nice solo. Hancock knew he had a top notch musician there and it is great he would allow him to show off also, but also gives more variety to the music. They always complimented each other so well. As the track goes on, the sax gets to get quite wild at places carrying things to crazy heights and then reigning himself back in. Later, the rhythm gets more responsive to the improvisation and the bands interaction shines through. This is a perfect track to end a perfect album.

No doubt that this is one of Hancock's best, and it is deserving of that. The best part is how the amazing line-up works so well together. Alas, Hancock would eventually move away to a more pop oriented sound, while the Headhunters would continue for a little while without him. But, at least we ended up with at least four great albums with this band. This is definitely a jazz fusion masterpiece and really proves what an excellent artist Hancock was when he was producing his best and most relevant albums. Nothing on this album sound dated, it could have been recorded yesterday. What is interesting though is how Hancock's pop oriented albums that came later do sound outdated. But, before all that happens, we have some excellent performances that stand the test of time much better.

 Mwandishi by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.09 | 80 ratings

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Mwandishi
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 60s was a busy time for child prodigy HERBIE HANCOCK. After getting his feet wet in the jazz world with Donald Byrd, it took him no time at all to be noticed by the greatest bigwigs in the industry. Miles Davis, arguably one of the greatest jazz talents ever to have roamed the planet, snatched HANCOCK up at the tender age of 23 and placed him as a major part of his Second Great Quintet. HANCOCK remained with Davis throughout the decade and although he was catering to Davis' every musical whim, was carefully taking cues in many ways and soaking in his masterful tutelage like a sponge. Despite having released a great number of albums during his stint as keyboardist-in-chief on such classic albums ranging from "Seven Steps To Heaven" all the way to "In A Silent Way," HANCOCK himself hadn't really come of age on his own until he got to his "Fat Albert Rotunda" album where he seemed to have found his inner voice and took his own path down jazz-funk-fusion alley.

Despite having found his way, he hadn't quite found his identity, a plight that many African-Americans have faced across many the ages having no lineage records from where exactly their DNA had emerged but rather adapting to the strange new land in which they were brought generations ago. Around the late 60s, HANCOCK was also coming of age as an individual after having conquered the musical arenas a decade prior. This is the period when he adopted a Swahili alter-ego named MWANDISHI, a concept that blossomed like African violets after a series of gentle nourishing rain showers until the idea for a new musical direction became eminent. Once the great MWANDISHI was unleashed, there was no stopping him and no looking back. What became a new identity fruitfully gelled into an entire trilogy of musical innovation that to this very day remains some of HANCOCK's most mesmerizing and complex musical output of his entire career.

After shedding his "Watermelon Man" persona which he had worn since his debut "Takin' Off," HANCOCK changed gears from the Saturday morning cartoon subject matter of "Fat Albert Rotunda" and transmogrified into a deep contemplative form of spiritual jazz that took the listener along for the ride of HANCOCK's own inner journey into the unknown and beyond. However to pull this miraculous metamorphosis off convincingly HANCOCK reconfigured his entire band make-up with all new members with the only returning member Buster Williams donning the new persona Mchaezaji. Likewise, the new set of six musicians would also adopt names from their respective lineages. While most were of African descent, Nicaraguan conga and timbale member Jose Areas would become Chepito and the appearance by Ronnie Monstrose stayed in his already Euro-penned appellation.

The first album of the trilogy is logically titled MWANDISHI with an album cover of a self-reflecting (inner and outer) HANCOCK in chromatic aberration pondering the existential quandaries of the universe. The album contained three lengthy tracks that focused on free form collective improvisation that utilized extremely complex and unusual time signatures with a particular emphasis on HANCOCK's unique Fender Rhodes piano playing which continued the ties from the most experimental Miles Davis albums of the era, however despite the obvious ties to the world of Davis, HANCOCK makes MWANDISHI his own in every way, shape and irregularly laid out form. This would become a trend that would only magnify on the subsequent "Crossings" and "Sextant" albums. As HANCOCK himself stated "So much of Africa has been squeezed out of black America, and we're taking a look at ourselves and recognizing our heritage."

And with that emphasis on self-reflection, the very first track "Ostinato (Suite For Angela)" is dedicated to Angela Davis and provides the most percussive and easily digestible track on the album with a strong ostinato bass groove providing the backbone for a series of unusual time signature deviations. The track in its conga rich and percussively prominent domain delves into bizarre mixes of 15/4 meters followed by 4/4, 7/8 every other variation in, between and around. This is the only track to feature both Chepito and Ronnie Montrose on guitar. Despite the free form jams into extreme complexity, the track flows as smooth as silk. The second track "You'll Know When You Get There" is more of a divine heavenly journey into the ethers and into the clouds. While the track is over ten minutes in length, it is followed by the similarly sounding 21 plus minute "Wandering Spirit Song." Both tracks emphasize more free form approaches with less rhythmic structure and more ethereal floatiness. They display HANCOCK's mastery of extensive use of tension and release where the tensions build slowly as the instrumentation increases only to find resolution with HANCOCK's use of sustained synthesized chords. In some ways, this album reminds me of some of the post-rock of the 21st century in how it provides a blueprint for that style.

MWANDISHI was the album that proved HERBIE HANCOCK was one of the true originals in the entire jazz-fusion scene of the early 70s. The concepts, musical compositional approach and instrumentation were strange new amalgamations of musical creativity unheard before and carried out with the most free form precision outside of the alien world of Sun Ra. After hearing the more dynamic following albums "Crossings" and "Sextant" it may be hard to appreciate the genius of this first installment in the MWANDISHI trilogy in the context of its era, but it is not too difficult for the attentive listener to pick out the subtle details which makes the album stand out amongst the crowd of its day. While personally MWANDISHI may be my least favorite chapter in the trilogy, it is nevertheless an essential prerequisite for appreciating the long lasting jazz-fusion that HANCOCK would pump out that led to his more funkified "Headhunters" days. Not only a landmark of jazz-fusion history but an intricately gorgeous album in all its free form glory. The beauty of MWANDISHI is that it does not discard HANCOCK's past but rather incorporates the many chapters of his musical career and pushes them into entirely fresh musical arenas.

 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.27 | 300 ratings

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Crossings
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Man, Herbie Hancock could do no wrong during his legendary Mwandishi era. I mean, how could anyone, really? A marriage of traditional African music with contemporary electronica, all in a jazz context. With a guiding philosophy like that, the creative possibilities are endless! With this second instalment in the series, Herbie was presumably looking to evolve beyond the initial "Mwandishi" album, because he certainly did, and did so gracefully.

As great as "Mwandishi" was as a jazz album, there really wasn't too much on display that couldn't be found elsewhere in the jazz world, but with "Crossings", a sort of differentiation was beginning to develop. It wouldn't be until "Sextant" that Herbie and his bandmates would have something completely and wholly unique, but that's a different story. Because this developmental album captures some real magic, and is a defining pinnacle of Herbie's creativity.

So what makes "Crossings" one of those albums to write home about? That would be the album's first side, "Sleeping Giant". A true behemoth if I've ever heard one, this track feels almost like its own side-long prog epic, in a purely jazz setting. While extended, 20+ minute recordings are not atypical of jazz at all, what makes "Sleeping Giant" so remarkable is the sheer variety of moods that it manages to capture and the level of structural development that it undertakes. This is no 24 minute noodling session on top of a chord progression; this is a bona fide musical excursion. From the primordial opening, where traditional ethnic drums layer over top one another, to the sleek, cool soundscapes more akin to urban nightlife, there's a fantastic sense of pacing throughout. And the whole thing flows very organically, this isn't an awkward start-and-stop type of piece, or a "prog by numbers" medley by any means. From a compositional perspective, this is a true achievement of jazz.

Side two doesn't meet quite the same "wow-worthy" standard as "Sleeping Giant", but it's not a wasted section of vinyl at all. "Quasar" offers a heavier focus on the electronics that Herbie was experimenting with, which creates some very interesting sonic palettes. This carries over into "Water Torture", which closes off the album with a lazier, more subdued approach. My overall appraisal? Well, a stellar side and a decent side is still a very fine album when you average it all out. For serious jazz fans, I'd probably rate this is as essential listening. In fact, "Quasar" and "Water Torture" are very fine tracks, just not my cup of tea. For the prog sphere, though, I'm not sure if I'd extend my praise quite so far. This isn't a prog album after all (even though it is a very progressive one by most metrics). With that in mind, I'd still consider this to be an excellent jazz album for prog fans to pick up, if not exclusively for the fascinating structural creativity of side one. 4 stars.

 Sextant by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.15 | 187 ratings

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Sextant
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars The finale of the Mwandishi trilogy, Herbie Hancock and crew find themselves the most immersed in their exploratory African soundscapes as ever, and give one last artistic hoorah before the more commercial "Head Hunters" follow-up album.

This album truly is one of a kind. A more avant-garde jazz album, this is certainly not a "progressive rock" album, but it is undoubtedly a progressive album. Heavily influenced by African rhythms, "Sextant" creates some of the most delightfully abstract jazz put to record. There is very little discernible melody to be noted, but who cares? There are more than enough prog-by-numbers symphonic albums out there if that's what you're looking for. This album is a unique sonic collage, and an artistic tour de force. With that in mind, "Sextant" is best listened to hypnotically, simply following the grooves and letting the sounds passively take you away to places you didn't even know existed.

The album's first side is the highlight for me, although the magic permeates through all 3 extended compositions. "Rain Dance" dabbles into early electronic music and sets the album's tone very nicely: futuristic and cosmic, yet earthy and organic, paradoxically intertwined in a vast astral plane. The album cover gives a pretty good impression of the sorts of vistas you can expect to lie on these unbeaten paths. "Hidden Shadows", perhaps the most accessible piece on the record, continues the journey while building off of an almost funk-like beat. This one is a favourite of mine. The second side, which consists of the 19+ minute long "Hornets", is a bit more of an acquired taste. While the grooves on side one were relatively easy to get caught up in, "Hornets", as the name suggests, is spiny and abrasive with its dissonance. Although not immediately inviting, repeated listens should put you in the right sort of mood to appreciate its own distinct take on the "Sextant" sound.

This is no doubt an album of great artistic merit, and one that all jazz fans and fans of avant-garde music should invest in. At first I had reservations about "Hornets", but over time I have come to appreciate its own blend of organic grooves as well. In all, "Sextant" is an excellent album, even if not a strictly prog one: 4 stars.

 Dis Is Da Drum by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.08 | 14 ratings

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Dis Is Da Drum
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars I cannot fathom that there would be any question that HERBIE HANCOCK has been amongst the crème de le crème of fusionists that the jazz world has ever experienced. Right from the very start of his early career this keyboardist extraordinaire was chomping at the bit to break free from the standard post-bop of the day by incorporating hitherto unheard of techniques into the jazz world such as orchestral accompaniments, inventive new ways of expressing simple chords and ways of incorporating non-jazz elements seamlessly into the genre which eventually entered him access into the musical world of Miles Davis and beyond. In the 70s HANCOCK really took off with this innovation with "Mwandishi" trilogy, the funk jazz of "Headhunters" and the jazz-inflicted electro- funk of albums like "Future Shock" in the 80s. Never being one to rest on his laurels the 90s proved to be yet another period of adventurous experimentation with hip-hop and dance music that after simmering for a decade on the world's dance floors eventually got the label "acid jazz."

With HERBIE's ambition to leave no viable rhythmic stones unturned he headed into the studio with a huge eclectic crew of musicians and producers from both the past and modern day to create one of his most accessible and unusual albums (for him) yet - DIS IS DA DRUM, an album that tackles the 90s hip-hop rhythms, 80s dance floor grooves and jazz history of the past. Of course, HERBIE effortlessly melds all of the above together in the most pleasant of ways creating the perfect jazz meets dance floor album that keeps the dance floor sensibilities intact while fortifying them with his lush keyboard solos, sampling loops, jazz instruments like sax and trumpet while incorporating ethnic African instruments ranging from the djembe, bata, conga dunun, shekere, cabasa all the while keeping it sewn together with the state of art production technology the era had to offer.

While i have to admit that this was not what i expected upon first listen, i remained open minded and found it took a few spins to sink in. While not exactly difficult to absorb upon listen number one, it can be a slap in the face for any jazz purists who are expecting the usual syncopation as usual or the complexities of post-bop or 70s fusion. This is a feel good album that treats the listener to steady dance floor / hip hop beats while letting the jazz-fusion feast play second fiddle while retaining its consistency and danceable rhythms that dominate DIS IS DA DRUM. No fear for those who crave the complexibtilies of jazz. They are there but simply contributing a behind-the-scenes approach where they ooze out now and again to remind you that this is indeed a HERBIE HANCOCK album and his high standards insure us that he has the knack for choosing the best of the best to help fulfill his vision of this unique musical expression.

DIS IS DA DRUM is often described as the perfect party jazz album and that is a statement that i am totally on board with. This is indeed a nice cocktail lounge cornucopia of sounds that works so well as background music but with enough savoir-faire to please jazz musicians who are keen to notice all the details. While this certainly will never rank amongst the top achievements that HERBIE HANCOCK has contributed to the world of music in general, this remains a nice little supplemental feast of sounds for those who wish to delve beyond the classics and into the more eccentric little adventures that HANCOCK has embarked upon. Generally speaking this album starts out very strong but seems to diminish its effect as it progresses due to the fact that the incessant monobeats do steal the thunder of it being a totally outstanding album. Still though, not a bad listen in the least.

3.5 rounded down

 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
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Takin' Off by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1962
3.84 | 46 ratings

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Takin' Off
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

Thanks to Easy Money for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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