The Headhunters released Speakers In The House on November 4th through Ropeadope Records, the legendary jazz-funk ensemble's first new album in 11 years. Co-lead by percussionist Bill Summers and drummer MikeClark with support from NEA Jazz Master Donald Harrison on alto saxophone, The Headhunters latest studio effort arrives just in time to celebrate this American music institution's 50th anniversary in 2023, having formed around Herbie Hancock's classic recording, Head Hunters, in 1973. An eight-track set available on Ropeadope Records/Devil Hills Entertainment, highlights from Speakers In The House include the New Orleans' second-line grooves of "Rocking At The Mole House," the world music-influenced jazz-fusion of "Kongo Square" and a modern post-bop re-imagination of the classic Headhunters' composition "Actual Proof," first released on their 1974 album, Thrust. Joining Summers, Clark and Harrison for the recording are keyboardist Stephen Gordon and bassist Reggie Washington plus special guests Jerry Z on organ, One Drop aka Scott Roberts on drums, Fode Sissoko on Kora and Ashlin Parker on trumpet.
Few bands can boast a history as fortuitous and storied as The Headhunters. That history began back in 1973 when iconic musician Herbie Hancock formed the band featuring saxophonist/clarinetist Bennie Maupin, bassist Paul Jackson Jr., drummer Harvey Mason and percussionist Bill Summers. What each member of The Headhunters brought to the table helped forge a timeless legacy and history that most bands can only dream of. Their blend of jazz with funk and rock would go on to sell over a million albums worldwide, while the band's legacy would inspire musicians of every genre for years to come, be sampled by various hip-hop artists throughout the '80s and '90s, and influence countless musicians' styles of playing today.
The Headhunters impact remains a global phenomenon, and their time with Hancock proved to be a life changing experience. The band has released six more full-length albums including Thrust in 1974 with the addition of drummer Mike Clark, and stepping out on their own sans Hancock's involvement on Survival of the Fittest in 1975 and on Straight from the Gate in 1977.
Following sold out shows earlier this Fall in San Francisco and Seattle, The Headhunters plan to tour throughout 2023 with new dates to be announced shortly. The current line-up features percussionist Bill Summers, drummer Mike Clark, bassist Chris Severin, saxophonist Donald Harrison and pianist Kyle Roussel.
"What Bill and I and The Headhunters do is experience the moment and explore," explains Mike Clark. "We're not in a gym, this isn't a competition. This is art. We’re in that moment and there is no other. The Headhunters is an act of passion, of love for humanity, and for our planet."
- Evolution Revolution by C. Michael Bailey
- On Top: Live in Europe by Mark F. Turner
Radio & PodcastsRead more articles
April 25, 2014
Jazz Legends The Headhunters Featuring Founding Members Mike Clark And...
June 09, 2011
Something Else! Interview: Percussionist Bill Summers, of the...
May 03, 2011
Something Else! Sneak Peek: The Headhunters, "Tracie" (2011)
April 25, 2011
The Headhunters' "Platinum" Set for 6/14 on Owl, Bravura CD Features...
October 25, 2010
The Headhunters, 'Platinum' (Feb 2011) features Snoop Dogg, George...
October 19, 2010
Owl Studios Readies Headhunters CD Featuring Snoop Dogg, George Clinton
May 14, 2008
Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" Among Cultural Treasures
June 06, 2005
Les Paul Tonight-Mingus Big Band Tue.-Ed Palermo Plays Zappa...
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
On Top: Live in Europe
Basin Street Records