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Herbie Hancock



Herbie Hancock Official Web Site Herbie Hancock Official Web Site

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Herbie Hancock will always be one of the most revered and controversial figures in jazz -- just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century. Though grounded in Bill Evans and able to absorb blues, funk, gospel, and even modern classical influences, Hancock's piano and keyboard voices are entirely his own, with their own urbane harmonic and complex, earthy rhythmic signatures -- and young pianists cop his licks constantly. Having studied engineering and professing to love gadgets and buttons, Hancock was perfectly suited for the electronic age; he was one of the earliest champions of the Rhodes electric piano and Hohner clavinet and would field an ever-growing collection of synthesizers and computers on his electric dates. Yet his love for the grand piano never waned, and despite his peripatetic activities all around the musical map, his piano style continues to evolve into tougher, ever-more-complex forms. He is as much at home trading riffs with a smoking funk band as he is communing with a world-class post-bop rhythm section -- and that drives purists on both sides of the fence up the wall. Having taken up the piano at age seven, Hancock quickly became known as a prodigy, soloing in the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11. After studies at Grinnell College, Hancock was invited by Donald Byrd in 1961 to join his group in New York City, and before long, Blue Note offered him a solo contract. His debut album, Takin' Off, took off indeed after Mongo Santamaria covered one of the album's songs, "Watermelon Man." In May 1963, Miles Davis asked him to join his band in time for the Seven Steps to Heaven sessions, and he remained there for five years, greatly influencing Miles' evolving direction, loosening up his own style, and upon Miles' suggestion, converting to the Rhodes electric piano. In that time span, Hancock's solo career also blossomed on Blue Note, pouring forth increasingly sophisticated compositions like "Maiden Voyage," "Cantaloupe Island," "Goodbye to Childhood," and the exquisite "Speak Like a Child." He also played on many East Coast recording sessions for producer Creed Taylor and provided a groundbreaking score to Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blow Up, which gradually led to further movie assignments. Having left the Davis band in 1968, Hancock recorded an elegant funk album, Fat Albert Rotunda, and in 1969 formed a sextet that evolved into one of the most exciting, forward-looking jazz-rock groups of the era. Now deeply immersed in electronics, Hancock added the synthesizer of Patrick Gleeson to his Echoplexed, fuzz-wah-pedaled electric piano and clavinet, and the recordings became spacier and more complex rhythmically and structurally, creating its own corner of the avant-garde. By 1970, all of the musicians used both English and African names (Herbie's was Mwandishi). Alas, Hancock had to break up the band in 1973 when it ran out of money, and having studied Buddhism, he concluded that his ultimate goal should be to make his audiences happy. The next step, then, was a terrific funk group whose first album, Head Hunters, with its Sly Stone-influenced hit single, "Chameleon," became the biggest-selling jazz LP up to that time. Now handling all of the synthesizers himself, Hancock's heavily rhythmic comping often became part of the rhythm section, leavened by interludes of the old urbane harmonies. Hancock recorded several electric albums of mostly superior quality in the '70s, followed by a wrong turn into disco around the decade's end. In the meantime, Hancock refused to abandon acoustic jazz. After a one-shot reunion of the 1965 Miles Davis Quintet (Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, with Freddie Hubbard sitting in for Miles) at New York's 1976 Newport Jazz Festival, they went on tour the following year as V.S.O.P. The near-universal acclaim of the reunions proved: that Hancock was still a whale of a pianist; that Miles' loose mid-'60s post-bop direction was far from spent; and that the time for a neo-traditional revival was near, finally bearing fruit in the '80s with Wynton Marsalis and his ilk. V.S.O.P. continued to hold sporadic reunions through 1992, though the death of the indispensable Williams in 1997 cast much doubt as to whether these gatherings would continue. Hancock continued his chameleonic ways in the '80s: scoring an MTV hit in 1983 with the scratch-driven, proto-industrial single "Rockit" (accompanied by a striking video); launching an exciting partnership with Gambian kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso that culminated in the swinging 1986 live album Jazz Africa; doing film scores; and playing festivals and tours with the Marsalis brothers, George Benson, Michael Brecker, and many others. After his 1988 techno-pop album, Perfect Machine, Hancock left Columbia (his label since 1973), signed a contract with Qwest that came to virtually nothing (save for A Tribute to Miles in 1992), and finally made a deal with PolyGram in 1994 to record jazz for Verve and release pop albums on Mercury. Now well into a youthful middle age, Hancock's curiosity, versatility, and capacity for growth have shown no signs of fading, and in 1998 he issued Gershwin's World. -- All Music Guide, by Richard S. Ginell


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1956Jazzvisions: Jazz Africa
1962Takin' Off
1963My Point of View
1963Inventions and Dimensions
1964Empyrean Isles
1965Maiden Voyage
1968Speak Like a Child
1969The Prisoner
1969Fat Albert Rotunda
1973Head Hunters
1974Death Wish
1975Love Me by Name
1976Happy the Man
1977The Herbie Hancock Trio [1977]
1977V.S.O.P.: The Quintet
1977Live in Japan
1977Tempest in the Colosseum [live]
1977V.S.O.P., Vol. 1
1978Direct Step
1978The Piano
1979Live under the Sky
1979In Concert [Duets] [live]
1979Feets, Don't Fail Me Now
1980Mr. Hands
1981Herbie Hancock Trio [1981]
1981Double Rainbow
1981Magic Windows
1982Lite Me Up
1983Future Shock
1985Village Life
1986Jazz Africa [live]
1986Third Plane
1988Perfect Machine
1988Songs for My Father
1992Evening With Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert [live]
1993Dis Is Da Drum
1995Jammin' with Herbie
1995New Standard
1996In Concert [live]
1996Living Jazz
1998Gershwin's World
2000Night Walker Direct Source
2000Jammin' with Herbie Hancock
2001Mr. Funk
2001Future 2 Future
2002Day Dreams [live]
2002Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall


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1956 Jazzvisions: Jazz Africa

01. Kumbasora
02. Debo
03. Cigarette Lighter
04. Jimbasing

1962 Takin' Off

01. Watermelon Man
02. Three Bags Full
03. Empty Pockets
04. The Maze
05. Driftin'
06. Alone and I
07. Watermelon Man [alternate take]
08. Three Bags Full [alternate take]
09. Empty Pockets

1963 My Point of View

01. Blind Man, Blind Man
02. A Tribute to Someone
03. King Cobra
04. The Pleasure Is Mine
05. And What If I Don't
06. Blind Man, Blind Man [alternate take]

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1963 Inventions and Dimensions

01. Succotash
02. Triangle
03. Jack Rabbit
04. Mimosa
05. A Jump Ahead

1964 Empyrean Isles

01. One Finger Snap
02. Oliloqui Valley
03. Cantaloupe Island
04. The Egg
05. One Finger Snap [alternate take]
06. Oliloqui Valley [alternate take]

1964 Succotash

01. Jack Rabbit
02. Mimosa
03. A Jump Ahead
04. Succotash
05. Triangle

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1965 Maiden Voyage

01. Maiden Voyage
. 02. The Eye of the Hurricane
03. Little One
04. Survival of the Fittest
05. Dolphin Dance

1968 Speak Like a Child

01. Riot
02. Speak Like a Child
03. First Trip
04. Toys
05. Goodbye to Childhood
06. The Sorcerer

1969 The Prisoner

01. I Have a Dream
02. The Prisoner
03. Firewater
04. He Who Lives in Fear
05. Promise of the Sun
06. The Prisoner [alternate take]
07. Firewater [alternate take]

1969 Fat Albert Rotunda

01. Wiggle-Waggle
02. Fat Mama
03. Tell Me a Bedtime Story
04. Oh! Oh! Here He Comes
05. Jessica
06. Fat Albert Rotunda
07. Lil' Brother

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1970 Mwandishi

01. Ostinato (Suite for Angela)
02. You'll Know When You Get There
03. Wandering Spirit Song

1971 Crossings

01. Sleeping Giant
02. Quasar
03. Water Torture

1972 Sextant

01. Rain Dance
02. Hidden Shadows
03. Hornets

1973 Head Hunters

01. Chameleon
02. Watermelon Man
03. Sly
04. Vein Melter

1974 Dedication

01. Maiden Voyage
02. Dolphin Dance
03. Nobu
04. Cantaloupe Island

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1974 Thrust

01. Palm Grease
02. Actual Proof
03. Butterfly
04. Spank-A-Lee

1974 Death Wish

01. Death Wish
02. Joanna's Theme
03. Do a Thing
04. Paint Her Mouth
05. Rich Country
06. Suite Revenge
07. Ochoa Knose
08. Party People
09. Fill Your Hand

1975 Flood

01. Introduction/Maiden Voyage
02. Actual Proof
03. Spank-A-Lee
04. Watermelon Man
05. Butterfly
06. Chameleon
07. Hang up Your Hang Ups

1975 Love Me by Name

1976 Man-Child

01. Hang up Your Hang Ups
02. Sun Touch
03. The Traitor
04. Bubbles
05. Steppin' in It
06. Heartbeat

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1976 Secrets

01. Doin' It
02. People Music
03. Cantaloupe Island
04. Spider
05. Gentle Thoughts
06. Swamp Rat
07. Sansho Shima

1976 Happy the Man

1976 Kawaida GB

1977 The Herbie Hancock Trio [1977]

01. Watch It
02. Speak Like a Child
03. Watching Waitin' For
04. Look
05. Milestones

1977 V.S.O.P.: The Quintet

01. One of a Kind
02. Third Plane
03. Jessica
04. Lawra
05. Introduction of Players/Darts
06. Dolores
07. Little Waltz
08. Byrdlike

1977 Live in Japan

1977 Tempest in the Colosseum [live]

01. Eye of the Hurricane
02. Diana
03. Eighty-One
04. Maiden Voyage
05. Lawra
06. Red Clay

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1977 Sunlight

01. I Thought It Was You
02. Come Running to Me
03. Sunlight
04. No Means Yes
05. Good Question

1977 V.S.O.P., Vol. 1

01. Piano Introduction
02. Maiden Voyage
03. Nefertiti
04. Introduction of Players/Eye of the Hurricane
05. Toys
06. Introductions
07. You'll Know When You Get There
08. Hang up Your Hang Ups
09. Spider

1978 Direct Step

01. Butterfly
02. Shiftless Shuffle
03. I Thought It Was You

1978 The Piano

01. My Funny Valentine
02. On Green Dolphin Street
03. Someday My Prince Will Come
04. Harvest Time
05. Sonrisa
06. Manhattan Island
07. Blue Otani

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1979 Live Under the Sky

1979 In Concert [Duets] [live]

1979 Feets, Don't Fail Me Now

01. You Bet Your Love
02. Trust Me
03. Ready or Not
04. Tell Everybody
05. Honey from the Jar
06. Knee Deep

1980 Mr. Hands

01. Spiraling Prism
02. Calypso
03. Just Around the Corner
04. 4 A.M.
05. Shiftless Shuffle
06. Textures

1980 Monster

01. Saturday Night
02. Stars in Your Eyes
03. Go for It
04. Don't Hold It In
05. Making Love
06. It All Comes Around

1981 Herbie Hancock Trio [1981]

01. Stable Mates
02. Dolphin Dance
03. A Slight Smile
04. That Old Black Magic
05. La Maison Goree

1981 Quartet

01. Well, You Needn't
02. 'Round Midnight
03. Clearways
04. A Quick Sketch
05. The Eye of the Hurricane
06. Parade
07. The Sorcerer
08. Pee Wee
09. I Fall in Love Too Easily

1981 Double Rainbow

1981 Magic Windows

01. Magic Number
02. Tonight's the Night
03. Everybody's Broke
04. Help Yourself
05. Satisfied With Love
06. The Twilight Clone

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1982 Lite Me Up

01. Lite Me Up!
02. The Bomb
03. Gettin' to the Good Part
04. Paradise
05. Can't Hide Your Love
06. The Fun Tracks
07. Motor Mouth
08. Give It All Your Heart

1983 Future Shock

01. Rockit
02. Future Shock
03. TFS
04. Earth Beat
05. Autodrive
06. Rough
07. Rockit

1984 Sound-System

01. Hard Rock
02. Metal Beat
03. Karabali
04. Junku
05. People Are Changing
06. Sound System
07. Metal Beat

1985 Village Life

01. Moon/Light
02. Ndan Ndan Nyaria
03. Early Warning
04. Kanatente

1986 Jazz Africa [live]

01. Kumbasora
02. Debo
03. Cigarette Lighter
04. Jimbasing

1986 Third Plane

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1988 Perfect Machine

01. Perfect Machine
02. Obsession
03. Vibe Alive
04. Beat Wise
05. Maiden Voyager
06. Chemical Residue
07. Vibe Alive
08. Beat Wise

1988 Songs for My Father

1992 Evening With Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea: In Concert [live]

01. Someday My Prince Will Come
02. Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)
03. Button Up
04. Introduction of Herbie Hancock by Chick /Corea
05. February Moment
06. Maiden Voyage
07. La Fiesta

1993 Dis Is Da Drum

01. Call It '95
02. Dis Is da Drum
03. Shooz
04. Melody (On the Deuce by 44)
05. Mojuba
06. Butterfly
07. Ju Ju
08. Hump
09. Come and See Me
10. Rubber Soul
11. Bo Ba Be Da

1994 Jamming

1995 Jammin' with Herbie

01. Jammin' With Herbie
02. Herbie's Blues
03. Rock Your Soul
04. T.C.B. With Herbie
05. Soul Power
06. Cat Call

1995 New Standard

01. New York Minute
02. Mercy Street
03. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
04. When Can I See You
05. You've Got It Bad Girl
06. Love Is Stronger Than Pride
07. Scarborough Fair
08. Thieves in the Temple
09. All Apologies
10. Manhattan (Island of Lights and Love)

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1996 In Concert [live]

1996 Living Jazz

1997 1+1 (w/Wayne Shorter)

01. Meridianne-A Wood Sylph
02. Aung San Suu Kyi
03. Sonrisa
04. Memory of Enchantment
05. Visitor from Nowhere
06. Joanna's Theme
07. Diana
08. Visitor from Somewhere
09. Manhattan Lorelei
10. Hale-Bopp Hip-Hop

1998 Gershwin's World

01. Overture (Fascinating Rhythm)
02. It Ain't Necessarily So
03. The Man I Love
04. Here Come de Honey Man
05. St. Louis Blues
06. Lullaby
07. Blueberry Rhyme
08. It Ain't Necessarily So
09. Cotton Tail
10. Summertime
11. My Man's Gone Now
12. Prelude in C Sharp Minor
13. Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In G, 2nd
14. Embraceable You

2000 Night Walker

01. Night Walker
02. Live and Awake
03. Scoochie
04. Witch Fire
05. Afro Boogie
06. Far Out
07. Hot and Heavy
08. Herbie's Blues
09. T.C.B. With Herbie
10. Soul Power

2000 Jammin' with Herbie Hancock [Collectables]

01. Currio's
02. Bird House
03. Mr. Lucky
04. Out of This World
05. Daydreams
06. I'm an Old Man

2001 Mr. Funk

01. Watermelon Man
02. Actual Proof
03. Hang up Your Hang Ups
04. Heartbeat
05. Kuru/Speak Like a Child
06. Cantaloupe Island
07. Swamp Rat
08. Come Running to Me
09. 4 A.M.
10. Everybody's Broke
11. Rockit

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2001 Future 2 Future

01. Kebero, Pt. 1
02. Wisdom
03. The Essence
04. This Is Rob Swift
05. Black Gravity
06. Tony Williams
07. Be Still
08. Ionosphere
09. Kebero, Pt. 2
10. Alphabeta
11. Virtual Hornets

2002 Day Dreams [live]

01. Day Dreams
02. Kamli
03. Curro's
04. Herbie's Blues
05. It's a Beautiful Evening
06. Rock Your Soul
07. One and Awake
08. Hot Piano
09. Jammin' With Herbie
10. Witchfire
11. Nightwalkers

2002 Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall

01. The Sorcerer
02. The Poet
03. So What/Impressions
04. Misstery
05. Naima
06. Transition
07. My Ship
08. D Trane

2003 Prisioner

01. I Have a Dream
02. The Prisoner
03. Firewater
04. He Who Lives in Fear
05. Promise of the Sun
06. The Prisoner [alternate take]
07. Firewater [alternate take]

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Graphics by YSM

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