Todays Artist is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Starting his career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. 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 over the musical map, his piano style continued 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. Ultimately his music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieve success among pop audiences. ........ N'joy
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Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Winnie Belle (Griffin), a secretary, and Wayman Edward Hancock, a government meat inspector. His parents named him after the singer and actor Herb Jeffries. He attended the Hyde Park Academy. Like many jazz pianists, Hancock started with a classical music education. He studied from age seven, and his talent was recognized early. Considered a child prodigy, he played the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 in D Major, K. 537 (Coronation) at a young people's concert on February 5, 1952, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (led by CSO assistant conductor George Schick) at the age of 11. Through his teens, Hancock never had a jazz teacher, but developed his ear and sense of harmony. He was also influenced by records of the vocal group the Hi-Lo's.
In 1960, he heard Chris Anderson play just once, and begged him to accept him as a student. Hancock often mentions Anderson as his harmonic guru. Hancock left Grinnell College, moved to Chicago and began working with Donald Byrd and Coleman Hawkins, during which period he also took courses at Roosevelt University (he later graduated from Grinnell with degrees in electrical engineering and music. Grinnell also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1972). Byrd was attending the Manhattan School of Music in New York at the time and suggested that Hancock study composition with Vittorio Giannini, which he did for a short time in 1960. The pianist quickly earned a reputation, and played subsequent sessions with Oliver Nelson and Phil Woods. He recorded his first solo album Takin' Off for Blue Note Records in 1962. "Watermelon Man" (from Takin' Off) was to provide Mongo Santamaría with a hit single, but more importantly for Hancock, Takin' Off caught the attention of Miles Davis, who was at that time assembling a new band. Hancock was introduced to Davis by the young drummer Tony Williams, a member of the new band.
Hancock received considerable attention when, in May 1963, he joined Davis's Second Great Quintet. Davis personally sought out Hancock, whom he saw as one of the most promising talents in jazz. The rhythm section Davis organized was young but effective, comprising bassist Ron Carter, 17-year-old drummer Williams, and Hancock on piano. After George Coleman and Sam Rivers each took a turn at the saxophone spot, the quintet gelled with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone. This quintet is often regarded as one of the finest jazz ensembles as of yet.
The second great quintet was where Hancock found his own voice as a pianist. Not only did he find new ways to use common chords, but he also popularized chords that had not previously been used in jazz. Hancock also developed a unique taste for "orchestral" accompaniment – using quartal harmony and Debussy-like harmonies, with stark contrasts then unheard of in jazz. With Williams and Carter he wove a labyrinth of rhythmic intricacy on, around and over existing melodic and chordal schemes. In the latter half of the 1960s their approach became so sophisticated and unorthodox that conventional chord changes would hardly be discernible; hence their improvisational concept would become known as "Time, No Changes".
While in Davis's band, Hancock also found time to record dozens of sessions for the Blue Note label, both under his own name and as a sideman with other musicians such as Shorter, Williams, Grant Green, Bobby Hutcherson, Rivers, Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard.
His albums Empyrean Isles (1964) and Maiden Voyage (1965) were to be two of the most famous and influential jazz LPs of the 1960s, winning praise for both their innovation and accessibility (the latter demonstrated by the subsequent enormous popularity of the Maiden Voyage title track as a jazz standard, and by the jazz rap group US3 having a hit single with "Cantaloop" (derived from "Cantaloupe Island" on Empyrean Isles) some twenty nine years later). Empyrean Isles featured the Davis rhythm section of Hancock, Carter and Williams with the addition of Hubbard on cornet, while Maiden Voyage also added former Davis saxophonist Coleman (with Hubbard remaining on trumpet). Both albums are regarded as among the principal foundations of the post-bop style. Hancock also recorded several less-well-known but still critically acclaimed albums with larger ensembles – My Point of View (1963), Speak Like a Child (1968) and The Prisoner (1969) featured flugelhorn, alto flute and bass trombone. 1963's Inventions and Dimensions was an album of almost entirely improvised music, teaming Hancock with bassist Paul Chambers and two Latin percussionists, Willie Bobo and Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez.
During this period, Hancock also composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup (1966), the first of many film soundtracks he recorded in his career. As well as feature film soundtracks, Hancock recorded a number of musical themes used on American television commercials for such then well known products as Pillsbury's Space Food Sticks, Standard Oil, Tab diet cola and Virginia Slims cigarettes. Hancock also wrote, arranged and conducted a spy type theme for a series of F. William Free commercials for Silva Thins cigarettes. Hancock liked it so much he wished to record it as a song but the ad agency would not let him. He rewrote the harmony, tempo and tone and recorded the piece as the track "He Who Lives in Fear" from his The Prisoner album of 1969.
Davis had begun incorporating elements of rock and popular music into his recordings by the end of Hancock's tenure with the band. Despite some initial reluctance, Hancock began doubling on electric keyboards including the Fender Rhodes electric piano at Davis's insistence. Hancock adapted quickly to the new instruments, which proved to be important in his future artistic endeavors.
Under the pretext that he had returned late from a honeymoon in Brazil, Hancock was dismissed from Davis's band. In the summer of 1968 Hancock formed his own sextet. However, although Davis soon disbanded his quintet to search for a new sound, Hancock, despite his departure from the working band, continued to appear on Davis records for the next few years. Appearances included In a Silent Way, A Tribute to Jack Johnson and On the Corner.
Hancock left Blue Note in 1969, signing with Warner Bros. Records. In 1969, Hancock composed the soundtrack for Bill Cosby's animated prime-time television special Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert. Music from the soundtrack was later included on Fat Albert Rotunda (1969), an R&B-inspired album with strong jazz overtones. One of the jazzier songs on the record, the moody ballad "Tell Me a Bedtime Story", was later re-worked as a more electronic sounding song for the Quincy Jones album Sounds...and Stuff Like That!! (1978).
The sextet, later a septet with the addition of Gleeson, made three albums under Hancock's name: Mwandishi (1971), Crossings (1972), and Sextant (1973) ; two more, Realization and Inside Out, were recorded under Henderson's name with essentially the same personnel. The music exhibited strong improvisational aspect beyond the confines of jazz mainstream and showed influence from the electronic music of contemporary classical composers.
Synthesizer player Gleeson introduced the instrument on Crossings, released in 1972, one of a handful of influential electronic jazz/fusion recordings to feature synthesizer that year. On Crossings (as well as on Weather Report's I Sing the Body Electric), the synthesizer is used more as an improvisatory global orchestration device than as a strictly melodic instrument. An early review of Crossings in Downbeat magazine complained about the synthesizer, but a few years later the magazine noted in a cover story on Gleeson that he was "a pioneer" in the field of electronics in jazz. In the albums following The Crossings, Hancock started to play synth himself, with synth taking on a melodic role.
Hancock's three records released in 1971–73 later became known as the "Mwandishi" albums, so-called after a Swahili name Hancock sometimes used during this era (Mwandishi is Swahili for writer). The first two, including Fat Albert Rotunda were made available on the 2-CD set Mwandishi: the Complete Warner Bros. Recordings, released in 1994. Of the three electronic albums, Sextant is probably the most experimental since the ARP synthesizers are used extensively, and some advanced improvisation ("post-modal free impressionism") is found on the tracks "Hornets" and "Hidden Shadows" (which is in the meter 19/4). "Hornets" was later revised on the 2001 album Future2Future as "Virtual Hornets".
After the sometimes "airy" and decidedly experimental "Mwandishi" albums, Hancock was eager to perform more "earthy" and "funky" music. The Mwandishi albums – though later seen as respected early fusion recordings – had seen mixed reviews and poor sales, so it is probable that Hancock was motivated by financial concerns as well as artistic restlessness. Hancock was also bothered by the fact that many people did not understand avant-garde music. He explained that he loved funk music, especially Sly Stone's music, so he wanted to try to make funk himself.
He gathered a new band, which he called The Headhunters, keeping only Maupin from the sextet and adding bassist Paul Jackson, percussionist Bill Summers, and drummer Harvey Mason. The album Head Hunters, released in 1973, was a major hit and crossed over to pop audiences, though it prompted criticism from some jazz fans. Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital three decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop.
Drummer Mason was replaced by Mike Clark, and the band released a second album, Thrust, the following
year, 1974. (A live album from a Japan performance, consisting of compositions from those first two Head Hunters releases was released in 1975 as Flood.) This was almost as well received as its predecessor, if not attaining the same level of commercial success. The Headhunters made another successful album called Survival of the Fittest in 1975 without Hancock, while Hancock himself started to make even more commercial albums, often featuring members of the band, but no longer billed as The Headhunters. The Headhunters reunited with Hancock in 1998 for Return of the Headhunters, and a version of the band (featuring Jackson and Clark) continues to play and record.
In 1973, Hancock composed his soundtrack to the controversial film The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Then in 1974, he composed the soundtrack to the first Death Wish film. One of his memorable songs, "Joanna's Theme", was re-recorded in 1997 on his duet album with Shorter, 1 + 1. Hancock's next jazz-funk albums of the 1970s were Man-Child (1975), and Secrets (1976), which point toward the more commercial direction Hancock would take over the next decade. These albums feature the members of the Headhunters band, but also a variety of other musicians in important roles.
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Less overtly adventurous than its predecessor, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage nevertheless finds Herbie Hancock at a creative peak. In fact, it's arguably his finest record of the '60s, reaching a perfect balance between accessible, lyrical jazz and chance-taking hard bop. By this point, the pianist had been with Miles Davis for two years, and it's clear that Miles' subdued yet challenging modal experiments had been fully integrated by Hancock. Not only that, but through Davis, Hancock became part of the exceptional rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, who are both featured on Maiden Voyage, along with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The quintet plays a selection of five Hancock originals, many of which are simply superb showcases for the group's provocative, unpredictable solos, tonal textures, and harmonies. While the quintet takes risks, the music is lovely and accessible, thanks to Hancock's understated, melodic compositions and the tasteful group interplay. All of the elements blend together to make Maiden Voyage a shimmering, beautiful album that captures Hancock at his finest as a leader, soloist, and composer.
One of the most sublime albums of all time, "Maiden Voyage" represents not only the pinnacle of Herbie Hancock's late 60s acoustic work, but quite possibly that of his entire career. Striking a perfect balance between mainstream Hard Bop and the more avant-garde jazz of the era, each track is a masterpiece that manages to combine melodious lyricism with levels of rhythmic and tonal complexity in a way that is virtually unrivalled even to this day, proving definitively that one needn't sacrifice accessibility on the altar of experimentation. Relaxing without being sedative, deep without being impenetrable, and tuneful without ever feeling condescending, "Maiden Voyage" is an absolutely essential album for every jazz aficianado to have in their collection, and as the title implies (whether intentionally or coincidentally), one that also makes a terrific point of entry for anyone unfamiliar with the genre who might be seeking a starting point from which to begin experiencing the world of jazz.
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (flac 218mb)
1 Watermelon Man 7:05
2 Three Bags Full 5:22
3 Empty Pockets 6:08
4 The Maze 6:45
5 Driftin' 6:53
6 Alone And I 6:25
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (ogg 101mb)
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A young Herbie Hancock contributed the bulk of the score to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 screen classic, evoking the ambience of swinging London with grooves that create effective bluesy moods on the slow pieces, and funky ones on the up-tempo tracks. Rock fans remember the film and the soundtrack for the inclusion of a rare Yardbirds number, "Stroll On" (actually, an adaptation of "The Train Kept A-Rollin'"), one of only three songs they recorded with both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitars.
Herbie Hancock - Blow-Up O.S.T. (flac 197mb)
01 Main Title "Blow-Up" 1:34
02 Verushka (Part 1) 2:44
03 Verushka (Part 2) 2:12
04 The Naked Camera 3:25
05 Bring Down The Birds 1:47
06 Jane's Theme 5:04
07 Stroll On (The Yardbirds) 2:47
08 The Thief 3:13
09 The Kiss 4:16
10 Curiosity 1:31
11 Thomas Studies Photos 1:13
12 The Bed 2:37
13 End Title "Blow-Up" 0:52
14 Butchie's Tune 2:45
15 Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind 2:01
16 Am I Glad To See You (Tomorrow) 4:29
17 Blow-Up (Tomorrow) 1:53
. (ogg mb)
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Between 1965's Maiden Voyage and 1968's Speak Like a Child, Herbie Hancock was consumed with his duties as part of the Miles Davis Quintet, who happened to be at their creative and popular peak during those three years. When Hancock did return to a leadership position on Speak Like a Child, it was clear that he had assimilated not only the group's experiments, but also many ideas Miles initially sketched out with Gil Evans. Like Maiden Voyage, the album is laid-back, melodic, and quite beautiful, but there are noticeable differences between the two records. Hancock's melodies and themes have become simpler and more memorable, particularly on the title track, but that hasn't cut out room for improvisation. Instead, he has found a balance between accessible themes and searching improvisations that work a middle ground between post-bop and rock. Similarly, the horns and reeds are unconventional. He has selected three parts -- Thad Jones' flügelhorn, Peter Phillips' bass trombone, Jerry Dodgion's alto flute -- with unusual voicings, and he uses them for tonal texture and melodic statements, not solos. The rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Mickey Roker keeps things light, subtle, and forever shifting, emphasizing the hybrid nature of Hancock's original compositions. But the key to Speak Like a Child is in Hancock's graceful, lyrical playing and compositions, which are lovely on the surface and provocative and challenging upon closer listening.
Herbie Hancock - Speak Like a Child (flac 296mb)
01 Riot 5:40
02 Speak Like A Child 7:40
03 First Trip 5:55
04 Toys 5:49
05 Goodbye To Childhood 7:05
06 The Sorcerer 5:32
07 Riot (First Alternate Take) 4:55
08 Riot (Second Alternate Take) 4:40
09 Goodbye To Childhood (Alternate Take) 5:49
Herbie Hancock - Speak Like a Child (ogg 99mb )
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Centered around some soundtrack music that Herbie Hancock wrote for Bill Cosby's Fat Albert cartoon show, Fat Albert Rotunda was Hancock's first full-fledged venture into jazz-funk -- and his last until Head Hunters -- making it a prophetic release. At the same time, it was far different in sound from his later funk ventures, concentrating on a romping, late-'60s-vintage R&B-oriented sound. with frequent horn riffs and great rhythmic comping and complex solos from Hancock's Fender Rhodes electric piano. The syllables of the titles alone -- "Wiggle Waggle," "Fat Mama," "Oh! Oh! Here He Comes" -- have a rhythm and feeling that tell you exactly how this music saunters and swaggers along -- just like the jolly cartoon character. But there is more to this record than fatback funk. There is the haunting, harmonically sophisticated "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" (which ought to become a jazz standard), and the similarly relaxed "Jessica." The sextet on hand is a star-studded bunch, with Joe Henderson in funky and free moods on tenor sax, Johnny Coles on trumpet, Garnett Brown on trombone, Buster Williams on bass, and Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums. Only Williams would remain for Hancock's 1977 electric V.S.O.P.: The Quintet album to come. In addition, trumpeter Joe Newman, saxophonist Joe Farrell, guitarist Eric Gale, and drummer Bernard Purdie make guest appearances on two tracks.
Herbie Hancock - Fat Albert Rotunda (flac 207mb)
01 Wiggle Waggle 5:48
02 Fat Mama 3:45
03 Tell Me A Bedtime Story 5:00
04 Oh! Oh! Here He Comes 4:05
05 Jessica 4:11
06 Fat Albert Rotunda 6:27
07 Lil' Brother 4:25
. Herbie Hancock - Fat Albert Rotunda (ogg 87mb)
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