Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Complete Blue Note 60's Sessions
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
This spectacular six-CD box set contains pianist-composer Herbie Hancock's entire recorded output as a leader for the Blue Note label from 1962 to 1969. This period parallels Hancock's legendary work in Miles Davis's band ... more »
This spectacular six-CD box set contains pianist-composer Herbie Hancock's entire recorded output as a leader for the Blue Note label from 1962 to 1969. This period parallels Hancock's legendary work in Miles Davis's band and documents his incorporation of Davis's concepts into his own ground-breaking brand of group improvisation.Hancock's first recording, Takin' Off, with tenor master Dexter Gordon, yielded his first pop hit, the danceable "Watermelon Man." The next album, My Point of View, produced its similarly grooved follow-up, "Blind Man, Blind Man." Inventions and Dimensions--an underrated session--features Hancock and bassist Paul Chambers with Afro-Cuban percussion masters Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez and Willie Bobo, who marvelously marry the montuno to modal scales. Hancock's percussive pianistics pepper the anthemic, Afro-Hispanic rhythms on "Succotash," and on "Triangle," Hancock and his compadres draw a melodic sketch that moves from a 4/4 blues statement, to a Latin-tinged midsection, to the blues restatement. The bolero-ballad "Mimosa" highlights Hancock's chordal approach.Hancock's Bill Evans/Bud Powell piano synergism emerges with his impressionistic compositional style on Empyrean Isles, which is backed by the deep-toned bass lines and cyclonic drumming of fellow Miles Davis bandmates Ron Carter and Tony Williams. The turbo-charged "One Finger Snap," the melodic musings of "The Egg," and the Motown-motored "Cantaloupe Island" are brilliantly navigated by Freddie Hubbard, on cornet, and the rhythm section. On Maiden Voyage, Hubbard switched to his customary clarion trumpet, with the towering, ex-Miles tenor saxophonist George Coleman completing the frontline. With the aquamarine imagery of the sea, Hancock and crew carve their signatures into jazz immortality on the hypnotically pointed title cut, the postbop swing of "Eye of the Hurricane" and the moving midtempo "Dolphin Dance."Speak Like a Child features Hancock with Carter, drummer Mickey Roker, and some of finest players of the day, including trumpeter Thad Jones, flutist Hubert Laws, and tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. Inspired by Gil Evans's ethereal horn arrangements, Hancock goes on an inventive improvisational magic carpet ride, from the bossa-nova-breezed title track to the subdued swing of "Toys." Hancock's last session, The Prisoner, continues the horn ensemble configuration with Buster Williams on bass and Albert "Tootie" Heath on drums in a darker, somber tone that echoed the turbulent times of 1969, as evidenced by "He Who Lives in Fear," and the Latinesque Martin Luther King tribute, "I Have a Dream."Along with 12 alternate takes, the set also includes Hancock's recordings with other Blue Note artists, including mentor Donald Byrd on the hard bop waltz "Three Wishes"; alto and tenor sax greats Jackie McLean and Wayne Shorter on the blues-baked and elliptical "Yams" and "The Collector"; and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson on a straight-ahead rendition of the "Theme from Blow Up." A track from a failed 1966 R&B date, aptly entitled "Don't Even Go There," provides a forecast of Hancock's future forays in pop music. But for those who grew up on Herbie Hancock's funk-fusion offerings in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, this monumental collection is the treasure chest of his true jazz genius. --Eugene Holley Jr.
Great material, fine packaging, some programming quirks
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 01/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, six discs of Herbie Hancock's Blue Note material -- gathered in its entirety -- could never be considered a bad thing. Listeners will be treated to two genuine classic releases, "Empyrean Isles" and "Maiden Voyage," as well as the vastly underrated recordings with percussionist Willie Bobo, "Inventions and Dimensions," the excellent debut "Takin' Off," the inventive "My Point of View," the lyrical "Speak Like a Child," and the infrequently heard and transitional "The Prisoner." The breadth of compositional talents is well displayed, as is his lithe pianistic technique. The young Hancock always seemed as if he were floating somewhere in space when he played. Listening to these pieces, it's easy to see why he was later attracted to the electric piano.Listeners who came to Hancock in the '70s and beyond should understand that there are no electronics or electrified funk. Herbie began his recording Blue Note recording career in his early twenties as an acoustic jazz pianist. His first album featured an earthy semi-hit "Watermelon Man," but as early as his second album, "My Point of View," he was broadening the musical palette with the addition of trombonist Grachan Moncur, and by the time of "Empyrean Isles," he was penning extended compositions such as "The Egg," with free passages that challenged the inventiveness of his bandmates. "Speak Like a Child" and the less successful "The Prisoner" also used broad orchestral arrangements and shifting colors.The set contains many highlights. There is an excellent booklet that details the tunes and the arc of Hancock's career. Musically, there is the field shout of Dexter Gordon's tenor on "Watermelon Man"; the smooth swagger of "And What If I Don't"; the darting piano kicked along by Latin percussion on "Jack Rabbit"; the loping rhythm of "Cantalope Island" aided by Freddie Hubbard's soaring trumpet; the airy lyricism of "Maiden Voyage"; and the broad aural tapestry of "Riot," just to mention a few.This is a Blue Note compilation, so you know you are going to encounter many fine musicians along the way. The aforementioned Gordon and Hubbard figure prominently on the discs, particularly Hubbard, whose sound seems especially well suited to Hancock's inventions. Tony Williams' drums and George Coleman's tenor sax make fine contributions, and Hank Mobley adds his own buttery tenor sound to the "My Point of View" selections.The complaint I have about the collection is a programming one. One can debate the merit of including alternate takes (I'm normally not big on them), but there are 12 included on the six-disc set. That number is not outrageous, but someone should have rethought including takes back-to-back. The worst example of this occurs on Disc 5, where three consecutive versions of "Riot" appear. That's at least one too many (I'd prefer that alternate takes not be placed immediately before or after the original in any case), but when three versions come in succession, the flow of the music is seriously disrupted.That irritation aside, the collection is generally a challenging and satisfying listening experience, one that reveals Hancock's efforts to broaden the modern conception of jazz."
Blue Note Hancock: The Very, Very Best.
Michael F. Hopkins | Buffalo, NY USA | 11/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who wants a broad spectrum of what the
1960s meant for Jazz, as well as anyone who just wants
to hear some of the strongest, most eloquent, and most
affirmative Music ever conceived, are urgently advised
to obtain this 6 CD collection. HERBIE HANCOCK: THE
COMPLETE BLUE NOTE SIXTIES SESSIONS is a loving
portrait of artistry on the creative move.
From funky Blues to Freedom with a sweeping upswing,
this collection of the acoustic pianist's 1961-1969 work
for Blue Note focuses on his albums as a leader, as well
as his compositional contributions as a sideman for tenorist
Wayne Shorter, trumpeter Donald Byrd, and -most
notably- vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.
This collection represents the heart of Herbie
Hancock. Taking the finest touches of Red Garland, Bill
Evans, and Wynton Kelly, Hancock emerged a nimble enough
player to tackle anything, and his work with Miles Davis
helped to reawaken the trumpeter's innovative palette in
the mid-1960s. What this set brandishes, however, is the
sheer genius of Hancock's own original concept; a key
factor in expanding the period's smoking hard bop into
the simmering dare and explosive challenge of the
then-emerging Jazz avant garde.
Not content to simply groove, and never one to
go "out" for the Hell of it (as most weren't, anyway,
regardless of Ken Burns' critical misassessments!),
Hancock was at the vanguard of the period's second
wave of prime Jazz movers. Along with pianist Andrew
Hill, to say nothing of the overall personnel comprising
these sides, Hancock was a key factor in relaying the
multiharmonic, polyrhythmic advances of the period's
Jazz avant garde into some of the 1960s' most stunningly
captivating, awe-inspiring, utterly beautiful performances
Listen to the aural splendor of "Mimosa", the
tantalizing playfulness of "Oliloqui Valley", or the
epic portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered in
the sumptuous "I Have A Dream", and you hear a mind as
inspired by Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor
as by the finest purveyors of popular sound.
As the original versions of "Watermelon Man" reflect
over 40 years later, Hancock was ALWAYS funky.
The point is that, here, Funk does not condescend.
Here, Groove -sweet and nasty- elevates.
Contrast "Watermelon Man", "Blind Man, Blind Man",
or the turbulent "Riot" with the collection's closing track,
"Don't Even Go There". Of all the work on these
6 CDs, "Don't Even Go There" is the only track which
sounds dated and stale. A ploddingly conscious effort
for a pop hit, the piece's title, in fact, would prove
a portent for much of what Hancock would fall into over
the decades (particularly after he ended the brilliant
collective MWANDISHI with his Columbia debut, SEXTANT).
The strongest point of what constitutes Hancock's
finest contributions comes straight from this collection.
Digging deep, scampering swift and sure, Hancock is as
potent an accompanist as he is an improviser; a key
factor in the time-tested power of his finest compositions.
Listen to Hancock alongside the fiery balladry of
brass king Freddie Hubbard, the spirited thunder of drummer
Tony Williams, the deep-picking sway of guitarist Grant
Green, or the smouldering lyricism of tenormen George
Coleman and Dexter Gordon (Just to name a few who grace
this dynamic collection!), and you'll be floored by
what big ears Hancock displays here.
Listen to the sheer majesty of "Maiden Voyage", and
gain a vital insight into a master's most shining hour.
Selectivity and sensitvity, not showboating, not trend
following, rules here.
Quite simply, this is a feast for the mind and the
soul. Give your ears a treat, too, and obtain this major
contribution to the annals of great Music."
Richard B. Luhrs | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classical elegance, foot-tapping swing, romantic impressionism and bluesy funk - at his best, as he nearly always was during the 1960s, Herbie Hancock combines and transcends all of these elements in his work as pianist and composer/arranger. His seven albums and countless sideman dates for Blue Note records provided many of the peaks of that label's peak years, and this excellently remastered and beautifully packaged boxed set is a worthy testament to the early achievements of one of modern jazz's true superstars.
From the post-bop/funk atmosphere of TAKIN' OFF and MY POINT OF VIEW, Hancock's first two leader sessions, through the hornless Latin experimentation of INVENTIONS AND DIMENSIONS, the grand and sweeping soundscapes of EMPYREAN ISLES and MAIDEN VOYAGE, the stately rhythmic beauty of SPEAK LIKE A CHILD and the fully-orchestrated complexity of THE PRISONER, Hancock crafted one of Blue Note's (and jazz's) strongest bodies of work, one grounded equally in outstanding compositions, flawless performances and an unfailing sense of taste. The highlights of this retrospective are many, and run the gamut from bluesy classics like "Watermelon Man" and "Cantaloupe Island" to heart-stirring tone poems such as "Maiden Voyage" and "Speak Like a Child," the latter featuring a central trio section which just might be the absolute pinnacle of the collection. The timbale-spiced "Mimosa" is another real treat, particularly in its extended alternate version. A handful of Hancock compositions performed by the pianist with other leaders fills things out nicely - most notably vibist Bobby Hutcherson's take on "Maiden Voyage," probably the finest "cover" of this classic track ever recorded.
I could go on and on, I suppose, but in the end the sounds contained in this spectacular collection (as well as a thoroughly informative essay incorporating the original liner notes from all of Hancock's Blue Note albums) can and do speak for themselves - in the clearest and most ringing of tones. Mark this one up under desert island essentials, at the very top of the list."