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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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Inventions & Dimensions [LP]Inventions & Dimensions [LP]
Blue Note 2019
$24.98
Head Hunters [Vinyl]Head Hunters [Vinyl]
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2010
$21.26
$18.25 (used)
5 Original Albums [5 CD]5 Original Albums [5 CD]
Blue Note 2018
$10.66
$9.66 (used)
Takin' Off [LP]Takin' Off [LP]
Blue Note 2019
$19.08
$15.35 (used)
Maiden VoyageMaiden Voyage
Reissued · Remastered
Blue Note 1999
$5.04
$2.38 (used)
Empyrean Isles [LP]Empyrean Isles [LP]
Blue Note 2015
$15.63
$12.53 (used)
The Essential Herbie HancockThe Essential Herbie Hancock
Remastered
Sony Legacy 2006
$13.83
$10.79 (used)
ThrustThrust
Legacy 2011
$5.09
$7.61 (used)
PossibilitiesPossibilities
Warner P&D 2005
$21.49
$1.53 (used)
River: The Joni LettersRiver: The Joni Letters
Verve 2007
$4.50
$1.66 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Herbie Hancock ?- Rock Your Soul US Cd NEW SEALED USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock RARE WHITE LABEL Hardrock 45 A+ Columbia FREE US SHIPPING USD $11.24 Buy It Now
Jazz-Club Piano ~ Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock CD USD $27.95 Buy It Now
JOE FARRELL moon germs HERBIE HANCOCK LP Vinyl JAPAN KING CTI SR-3340 USD $21.99 Buy It Now
Herbie Hancock My Point of View Blue Note 84126 Hank Mobley Grant Green VG+ USD $29.00 [7 bids]
Herbie Hancock - The New Standard - 1996 Jazz CD [Verve] Excellent Condition USD $6.95 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK CHICK COREA In Concert 2xLP 1978 Columbia 35663 USD $13.99 Buy It Now
DONALD BYRD I'm Tryin' To Get Home LP BLUE NOTE 84188 Herbie Hancock Grant Green USD $29.03 Buy It Now
MILES DAVIS Live-Evil 2 x LP COLUMBIA G30954 US '71 Herbie Hancock Wayne Shorter USD $29.03 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK-EMPYREAN ISLES plus 2 SHM-CD C94 Universal Music New Japan F/S USD $24.99 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK Directstep JAPAN CD SRCS-9565 1999 OBI USD $47.56 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK - Fat Albert Rotunda [CD] USD $8.10 Buy It Now
CD: HERBIE HANCOCK Possibilities JOHN MAYER Sting & More Artists 2006 JAZZ Hush USD $4.78 Buy It Now
The Best Of Herbie Hancock 33 RPM 12" Record Herbie Hancock ShopVinyls.com USD $29.99 Buy It Now
WES MONTGOMERY A DAY IN THE LIFE LP 1967 RVG HERBIE HANCOCK NICE COND! G+/VG!!B USD $6.99 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK POSSIBILITIES CD USD $8.59 [0 bids]
Herbie Hancock Flood Live In Japan RSD BF 2018 vinyl 2 LP gatefold NEW/SEALED USD $60.96 Buy It Now
HERBIE HANCOCK Mr. Hands JAPAN CD SRCS-7029 1991 NEW USD $75.79 Buy It Now
Blue Note: Ronnie Foster Herbie Hancock Sandy Nelson Grant Green U.S. promo 2 cd USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Reel to reel tape 7 2 track Herbie Hancock ?- Empyrean Isles 1964 USSR made USD $39.00 Buy It Now
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Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Blue Note 84195 rare Vinyl Record LP USD $20.32 [0 bids]
USD $27.10 Buy It Now
MILES DAVIS MY FUNNY VALENTINE JAPAN LP 18AP 2062 George Coleman Herbie Hancock USD $24.99 Buy It Now
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Paul Desmond LP GATEFOLD Herbie Hancock 1970 USD $8.75 Buy It Now 18m 33s
WAYNE SHORTER Schizophrenia LP BLUE NOTE BST 84297 US '69 RVG Herbie Hancock VG+ USD $86.23 Buy It Now 20m 51s
HERBIE HANCOCK The Imagine Project CD NEW India Arie Jeff Beck Pink Chieftains USD $9.06 Buy It Now 23m 7s
HERBIE HANCOCK/MICHAEL BRECKER/ROY HARGROVE - DIRECTIONS IN MUSIC: LIVE AT MASSE USD $18.97 Buy It Now 38m 42s
Herbie Hancock I Thought It Was You UK 45 7" single +No Means Yes USD $1.22 Buy It Now 43m 41s
Herbie Hancock : Jazz Moods: 'Round Midnight CD (2004) FREE Shipping, Save £s USD $3.61 Buy It Now 2h 50m
HERBIE HANCOCK - CUTTINGS/CLIPPINGS COLLECTION (REF E8) USD $8.53 Buy It Now 2h 58m
All Time Best Reclam Musik Edition - Herbie Hancock (CD New) USD $10.43 Buy It Now 3h 24m
Herbie Hancock I Thought It Was You UK 7" vinyl single record SCBS6530 C USD $12.20 Buy It Now 3h 27m
Herbie Hancock Fat Albert Rotunda vinyl LP album record UK WS1834 USD $51.18 Buy It Now 3h 41m
Future Shock Herbie Hancock vinyl LP album record Japanese 30AP-2550 SONY USD $63.46 Buy It Now 3h 45m
Sound-System - Shrink Herbie Hancock Japanese vinyl LP album record 30AP2920 USD $63.46 Buy It Now 3h 45m
Herbie Hancock Hardrock 7" vinyl single record UK A4616 CBS 1984 USD $12.20 Buy It Now 3h 52m
Jazz Greats 3 cd BOX SET Herbie Hancock/Nina Simone/Miles Davis/Grant Green/MORE USD $13.90 Buy It Now 4h 14m
HERBIE HANCOCK autodrive 7" WS EX/- uk cbs A 3802 sol USD $8.58 Buy It Now 4h 18m
Herbie Hancock - A Jazz Collection (CD 1992) Remastered (4) USD $2.76 Buy It Now 4h 20m
Herbie Hancock Mega-Mix 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) USA 44-04960 COLUMBIA USD $14.67 Buy It Now 4h 25m
Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turpentine In Concert VolumeTwo. Record USD $24.99 Buy It Now 4h 27m
Herbie Hancock Vibe Alive 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) UK 6514328 CBS 1988 USD $14.67 Buy It Now 4h 30m
Rockit (Long Version) Herbie Hancock UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) TA3577 USD $17.12 Buy It Now 4h 42m
Herbie Hancock Sunlight - Stickered Sleeve vinyl LP album record UK CBS82240 USD $23.26 Buy It Now 4h 51m
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles [CD] USD $8.29 Buy It Now 4h 52m
HERBIE HANCOCK-V.S.O.P. 1977 COLUMBIA RECORDS GATEFOLD 2 LP'S PG 34688 EXC. VG+ USD $7.99 Buy It Now 5h 8m
Herbie Hancock-Mr. Hands CD NEW USD $11.23 Buy It Now 5h 20m
HERBIE HANCOCK:PRE-OWNED 4 PACK-LP'S:the best of herbie Hancock 2lp --secrets -- USD $25.00 [0 bids]
5h 21m
Dis Is Da Drum by Herbie Hancock (CD, Mar-2003, Mercury) NEW Sealed USD $19.95 Buy It Now 5h 26m
Herbie Hancock-Mr. Hands CD NEW USD $12.74 Buy It Now 5h 27m
Herbie Hancock: Jammin' With Herbie - CD German Import. USD $1.83 [0 bids]
5h 38m
HERBIE HANCOCK - SUNLIGHT - LP N.MINT/N.MINT/S CBS 82240/A1-B1/1978 UK USD $30.67 Buy It Now 6h 4m
Herbie Hancock ?- Rockit 1983 OLD SKOOL ELECTRO!! USD $4.90 Buy It Now 6h 6m
Herbie Hancock - Quartet NL 2LP 1982 /3* USD $19.49 Buy It Now 6h 29m
HERBIE HANCOCK Beat Wise / Chemical Residue 45 VG+ TO EXC USD $7.77 Buy It Now 6h 40m
HERBIE HANCOCK MAN-CHILD CD USD $4.90 Buy It Now 6h 46m
Y2-48 HERBIE HANCOCK Rock It ... 12" SINGLE ... 1983 ... 44-03978 USD $19.95 Buy It Now 6h 47m
HERBIE HANCOCK * ROUND MIDNIGHT * 7" PROMO SINGLE P/S (XPS 219) EX/EX 1986 USD $4.90 Buy It Now 6h 56m
Herbie Hancock - Headhunters (NEW CD) USD $7.97 Buy It Now 6h 58m
Herbie Hancock_Head Hunters_CD_Jazz Funk_Keyboard_Piano_70s_EX USD $3.67 [0 bids]
7h
Takin' Off, Herbie Hancock, Audio CD, New, FREE & Fast Delivery USD $5.74 Buy It Now 7h 7m
Herbie Hancock ?Feets Don't Fail Me Now Vinyl VG Slight Warp LP ?JC 35764 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 7h 14m
HERBIE HANCOCK AND CHIC COREA IN CONCERT NM PROMO COPY USD $79.99 Buy It Now 7h 23m
Herbie Hancock-Mwandishi CD NEW USD $12.95 Buy It Now 7h 40m
ED THIGPEN Out of the Storm UK 1966 VERVE stereo Herbie Hancock, Burrell JAZZ LP USD $24.54 Buy It Now 7h 44m
HERBIE HANCOCK Thrust PCA 32965 8 Track Tape USD $19.88 Buy It Now 8h 31m
Herbie Hancock- Inventions and Dimensions- 1964- mint/unplayed tape USD $8.50 Buy It Now 8h 37m
George Kawaguchi Plays Herbie Hancock Japan CD 1987 USD $79.99 Buy It Now 8h 37m
HERBIE HANCOCK Sound-System 28AP2918 JAPAN LP CBS SONY OB MATERIAL BILL RASWELL USD $19.99 Buy It Now 9h 7m
Herbie Hancock & V.S.O.P.: Live Under The Sky, 18 Track, Sealed 2 CD Set USD $12.99 Buy It Now 9h 15m
HERBIE HANCOCK - TAKIN' OFF - MONO & STEREO VERSIONS (NEW SEALED 2CD) USD $5.39 Buy It Now 9h 22m
HERBIE HANCOCK LP Rock It 12" Futureshock MEGA MIX jazz vinyl single 44-04960 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 9h 32m
Herbie Hancock Sunlight 1978 Original Vinyl Lp Nr Mint A1/B1 USD $9.82 [0 bids]
9h 48m
PURPLE DISCO MACHINE " DISCOTHEQUE " SEALED VINYL LP FALLOUT HERBIE HANCOCK USD $25.76 Buy It Now 9h 51m
HERBIE HANCOCK-STARS IN THEIR EYES YAM DUB 12" RARE! USD $61.36 [0 bids]
10h 2m
Herbie Hancock LP Chick Corea IN CONCERT White Label Promo SPECIAL RADIO EDITION USD $19.99 Buy It Now 10h 29m
Herbie Hancock - The Best Of Herbie Hancock - The Hits (CD 1999) VG cond USD $0.61 [1 bids]
10h 30m
Herbie Hancock - Fat Albert Rotunda (Digipak CD ) Exc condition USD $2.44 [0 bids]
10h 32m
Herbie Hancock 12" vinyl LIMITED EDITION PROMO 1978 'I Thought It Was You' CBS USD $12.26 [0 bids]
10h 35m
HERBIE HANCOCK 12" PROMO "Ready or Not/ You Bet Your Love" '79 orig wlp ~ NM! USD $24.77 Buy It Now 11h
HERBIE HANCOCK : Victoria Palace 1976 -Large NEWSPAPER ADVERT- 40cm x 18cm USD $1.22 [0 bids]
11h 3m
HERBIE HANCOCK & CHICK COREA An Evening With COLUMBIA 2XLP NM/VG++ gatefold > USD $8.00 [0 bids]
11h 7m
HERBIE HANCOCK Crossings WARNER BROS LP VG+/VG++ gatefold > USD $10.00 [4 bids]
11h 8m
HERBIE HANCOCK Fat Albert Rotunda WARNER BROS LP VG+ > USD $12.50 [7 bids]
11h 9m
Donald Byrd Takin Care Business Herbie Hancock LP Records Vinyl Album TCB 1002 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 11h 9m
HERBIE HANCOCK "Inventions And Dimensions" NEW SEALED JAZZ CD 1 of last 3 !!! USD $12.99 Buy It Now 11h 10m
HERBIE HANCOCK Head Hunters COLUMBIA LP VG+ > USD $8.50 [2 bids]
11h 10m
Herbie Hancock Go For It USD $1.22 [0 bids]
11h 10m
HERBIE HANCOCK Maiden Voyage BLUE NOTE LP VG+/VG++ dmm > USD $8.00 [1 bids]
11h 11m
HERBIE HANCOCK Mwandishi WARNER BROS LP SHRINK > USD $13.50 [3 bids]
11h 12m
HERBIE HANCOCK Quartet COLUMBIA 2XLP promo > USD $8.00 [0 bids]
11h 13m
HERBIE HANCOCK Secrets COLUMBIA LP VG+/VG++ SHRINK > USD $10.50 [3 bids]
11h 14m
HERBIE HANCOCK - THRUST NEW CD USD $8.19 Buy It Now 11h 14m
HERBIE HANCOCK Self Titled BLUE NOTE BN-LA399-H2-0798 2XLP VG++/VG+ gatefold USD $8.00 [1 bids]
11h 15m
GRANT GREEN GOIN' WEST HERBIE HANCOCK MINI LP JAPAN USD $29.99 Buy It Now 11h 16m
HERBIE HANCOCK Sextant COLUMBIA LP VG++/VG+ promo > USD $12.50 [4 bids]
11h 16m
HERBIE HANCOCK Takin' Off BLUE NOTE LP VG+ stereo UA > USD $9.50 [2 bids]
11h 17m
HERBIE HANCOCK CHICK COREA AN EVENING IN CONCERT 1978 MINI LP JAPAN 2CD USD $49.99 Buy It Now 11h 17m
HERBIE HANCOCK HEAD HUNTERS MINI LP JAPAN USD $29.99 Buy It Now 11h 17m
HERBIE HANCOCK SPEAK LIKE A CHILD THAD JONES MINI LP JAPAN USD $29.99 Buy It Now 11h 17m

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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)

3.83 | 47 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 | 62 ratings
Empyrean Isles
1964
4.21 | 204 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
4.10 | 80 ratings
Mwandishi
1971
4.26 | 302 ratings
Crossings
1972
4.14 | 191 ratings
Sextant
1973
3.97 | 12 ratings
The Spook Who Sat By The Door (OST)
1973
3.89 | 219 ratings
The Herbie Hancock Group: Head Hunters
1973
4.13 | 119 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
 Sextant by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.14 | 191 ratings

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Sextant
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Lore Knowledge

4 stars Easily the best Hancock album. I am not a jazz fan but it's so good that I like it a lot and treat it more like progressive rock music. I know it's not rock but the vibe is somehow rockish. Traditional jazz sounds very old to me and even being 40+ I still feel too young for it. This one on the other hand even after 46 years sounds fresh and exciting. Look at the album cover. The music is like that cover. First of all it's crazy, it's colourful, it's erotic like those dancers. Some strange noises here and there that's the electronic part of it. Mad moon calling, dance in the rain like a madman (just kidding, simply have fun). Listen with care.
 Crossings by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.26 | 302 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
4.14 | 191 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
4.26 | 302 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
4.13 | 119 ratings

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Thrust
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.10 | 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
4.26 | 302 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
4.14 | 191 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.

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

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