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Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock is an NEA Jazz Master

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all about today.

Herbie Hancock's creative path has moved fluidly between almost every development in acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B since 1960. He has attained an enviable balance of commercial and artistic success, arriving at a point in his career where he ventures into every new project motivated purely by the desire to expand the boundaries of his creativity.

There are few artists in the music industry who have gained more respect and cast more influence than Herbie Hancock. As the immortal Miles Davis said in his autobiography, "Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven't heard anybody yet who has come after him."

Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 11. He began playing jazz in high school, initially influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. Also at this time, an additional passion for electronic science began to develop. As a result, he took a double major in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.

In 1960, at age 20, Herbie was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd, who asked him to join his group. Byrd also introduced Herbie to Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records, and after two years of session work with the likes of Phil Woods and Oliver Nelson, he signed to the legendary label as a solo artist. His 1963 debut album, Takin’ Off, was an immediate success, producing “Watermelon Man,” a big hit on jazz and R&B radio. Also in 1963, Herbie received the call that was to change his life and secure his place in jazz history. Miles Davis invited Herbie to join the Miles Davis Quintet. During his five years with Davis, Herbie and his colleagues thrilled audiences and recorded classic after classic, including the albums ESP, Nefertiti, and Sorcerer. Most jazz critics and fans regard this group, which also included Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums), as the greatest small jazz group of the 1960s. Even after he left Davis' group, Herbie still made appearances on Davis' groundbreaking recordings In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, which heralded the birth of jazz-fusion.

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13
Album Review

Alan Shorter: Mephistopholes To Orgasm Revisited

Read "Mephistopholes To Orgasm Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


It is often said of a musician, be they alive or no longer with us, that they deserve to be better known. This is emphatically true of the wayward trumpeter and composer Alan Shorter, who was overshadowed during his lifetime by his brother, Wayne Shorter, and who continues to be passed over today in 2024. Some responsibility for his obscurity lies with Alan Shorter himself. Known as Doc Strange to his teenage schoolmates in Newark, New Jersey, ...

25
Reassessing

The Electric Years Box Set

Read "The Electric Years Box Set" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


In a year that has brought us a true bounty of previously unheard majesty including Evenings at the Village Gate: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy (Impulse!), and Bill Evans; Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestra Recordings from Denmark (1965-1969), (Elemental Music) it is only fitting that Miles Davis get his due. And in a very, very big way. Seared into modern memory, modern art, the music presented on the gloriously massive, eleven LP set Miles Davis: The Electric Years ...

6
Live Review

Herbie Hancock At Chautauqua Auditorium

Read "Herbie Hancock At Chautauqua Auditorium" reviewed by Steven Roby


Herbie Hancock Chautauqua Auditorium Boulder, CO September 12, 2023 After Herbie Hancock and his quartet settled on the stage, a woman in the crowd yelled, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo." It's a chant used in the practice of Nichiren Buddhism, which Hancock has said enhances his ability to improvise in his music. “That's the secret to a happy and fulfilling life," he responded. The sold-out show in the historic Chautauqua Auditorium was filled with ...

1
Live Review

Umbria Jazz: mezzo secolo

Read "Umbria Jazz: mezzo secolo" reviewed by Libero Farnè


Umbria Jazz 2023 Varie sedi Perugia 7--16.7.2023 50 anni di Umbria Jazz e 90 del suo fondatore e direttore artistico Carlo Pagnotta: un evento unico, festeggiato con un'edizione veramente speciale, ricca di musica e di iniziative collaterali, che ha superato nella programmazione come nella partecipazione del pubblico i livelli degli ultimi anni pre-Covid. Alcuni numeri significativi: un incasso da biglietti superiore a 2.3 milioni di euro per 40 mila presenze paganti, con una media di ...

1
Radio & Podcasts

Everyone's Gone to the Movies

Read "Everyone's Gone to the Movies" reviewed by Patrick Burnette


Mike ran across a soundtrack or two in his library excursions and hence an episode that's just what it says on the tin--a look at four soundtracks by jazz musicians. We explore which efforts work as “albums" and which are more a series of useful cues and snippets that don't necessarily create a coherent listening experience with no pictures on offer. Plus, as a bonus Mike encapsulates each film so you can decide if you'd like to see--or skip--the inspiration ...

3
Liner Notes

Miles Davis Quintets: Stockholm 1967 & 1969 Revisited

Read "Miles Davis Quintets: Stockholm 1967 & 1969 Revisited" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Let me ask you, how many versions of Miles Davis do you recognize? Let us employ the word 'recognize' in terms of both, to identify and to approve. Listeners new to the world of Miles would be hard pressed to associate the artist seen and heard with Charlie Parker at New York's Three Deuces in 1947 with the same man performing in Montreux, Switzerland some forty years later. Both his look and his sound had changed, making him unrecognizable to ...

21
Readers Poll Results

Your Favorite Living Jazz Pianists

Read "Your Favorite Living Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Michael Ricci


All About Jazz member votes were tabulated and this list represents our favorite living jazz pianists. Fully transparent and easily verifiable, All About Jazz's living pianists poll was conducted during the 2022 calendar year running from April to November. We would like to thank every member who participated in creating this impressive list (200 total!) for the next generation of jazz enthusiasts to discover. 1 Herbie Hancock2Keith Jarrett3Brad Mehldau4Kenny Barron5Bill Charlap6 Fred Hersch7Ahmad Jamal8Vijay Iyer9Jason Moran10Craig Taborn11Gonzalo Rubalcaba12Hiromi13Emmet ...

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1

Performance / Tour

Jazz Icon Herbie Hancock Returns To The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on September 29, 2024

Jazz Icon Herbie Hancock Returns To The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on September 29, 2024

Source: AMT Public Relations

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 5, 2024 NJPAC Prudential Hall Betty Wold Johnson Stage One Center Street Newark, New Jersey 07102 14x GRAMMY winner Herbie Hancock returns to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on Sunday, September 29, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.,in a highly anticipated one-night only concert. The last time he graced the NJPAC stage was in 2017 as a special guest with the Wayne Shorter Quartet. Herbie Hancock is a true icon ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Herbie Hancock's birthday today!

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all ...

3

Festival

June 29-July 8: The 43rd Festival International De Jazz De Montréal!

June 29-July 8: The 43rd Festival International De Jazz De Montréal!

Source: Ann Braithwaite

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, presented by TD Bank Group in collaboration with Rio Tinto, continues to evolve to the beat of the music it showcases. Today, its programming team is very proud to reveal the artists who will be performing at this 43rd edition, which takes place this coming June 29 to July 8. Paid concert tickets will go on sale Thursday, April 6 at 10 a.m. Newsletter subscribers will enjoy an exclusive access to a presale ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Herbie Hancock's birthday today!

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all ...

Video / DVD

Video: Herbie Hancock in 1972

Video: Herbie Hancock in 1972

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

A year and a half before keyboardist Herbie Hancock recorded his seminal Headhunters album in the fall of 1973, he was in Paris performing with his Mwandishi Sextet. Mwandishi is Swahili for composer and it's a name Hancock called himself in the late 1960s and early '70s. Members of his group followed suit: Mchezaji ("player," someone who plays a game) was for Buster Williams, Jabali ("strong as a rock") was for Billy Hart, Mganga ("doctor," whose traditional functions include exorcism, ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Herbie Hancock's birthday today!

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all ...

3

For Sale

Herbie Hancock Celebrates 80th Birthday By Announcing Career-Spanning Vinyl Box Set

Herbie Hancock Celebrates 80th Birthday  By Announcing Career-Spanning Vinyl Box Set

Source: All About Jazz

Vinyl Me, Please and legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock today announce VMP Anthology: The Story of Herbie Hancock—an exclusive vinyl box set celebrating the illustrious career of Herbie Hancock. The Story of Herbie Hancock reinvents the box set experience to take listeners on a sequential journey told across eight albums chosen by Herbie and paired with an exclusive podcast interview series in celebration of Herbie’s 80th birthday, on April 12, 2020. “It brings back fond memories, looking at my discography,” ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Herbie Hancock's birthday today!

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while still maintaining his unique, unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries. With an illustrious career spanning five decades, he continues to amaze audiences and never ceases to expand the public's vision of what music, particularly jazz, is all ...

Recording

10 Little-Known Maiden Voyages

10 Little-Known Maiden Voyages

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

In January 1965, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock received a call from a Hollywood jingle agency. Its client, Yardley, needed background music for a TV commercial and wanted a trio playing something jazzy, since the men’s fragrance ad took place in a sophisticated club. But instead of writing straight-ahead jazz, Mr. Hancock arranged a catchy rhythmic line that was closer to rock. In the weeks ahead, Mr. Hancock completed the assignment and then used the rhythmic chords as the bones for ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Jazz Musician of the Day: Herbie Hancock

Source: Michael Ricci


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Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

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