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Mwandishi (Warner Bros. Master Series)
Herbie Hancock
Mwandishi (Warner Bros. Master Series)
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (3) - Disc #1

2001 reissue of 1970 album, remastered from the original analogue tapes and packaged in a digipak. Currently out-of-print in the U.S.3 tracks. Approx. 45 minutes.


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CD Details

All Artists: Herbie Hancock
Title: Mwandishi (Warner Bros. Master Series)
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Warner Bros UK
Release Date: 3/4/2003
Album Type: Import, Original recording remastered
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Styles: Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Bebop, Funk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093624754121


Album Description
2001 reissue of 1970 album, remastered from the original analogue tapes and packaged in a digipak. Currently out-of-print in the U.S.3 tracks. Approx. 45 minutes.

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CD Reviews

Brilliant album...
hiroski | New York City, USA | 06/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hancock called Mwandishi "my favourite record of all the records I have ever made" in 1971. Surely the music on this album remains some of the most startling and experimental music on Hancock's entire discography, more suited perhaps for the 21st century than the one in which it was created. Just as beautiful as well known blue-note releases such as "Maiden Voyage" and "Speak Like a Child," this music contains a subversive and revolutionary edge (unlike it's predecessors) that still sits it at the forefront of contemporary music thirty years after its original release.In explaining why he switched to a more funky and accessible style popularized on "Head Hunters" Hancock complaines to Bob Blumenthal in the notes to "Mwandishi: The Complete Warner Bros Recordings" (also definitely worth the purchase) that "I'd go to friends' homes and see my albums on the shelves with lots of other people's records, and they'd play all the others except mine." Sad. Perhaps Hancock didn't know how far ahead he was at the time, but surely time will confirm this blatantly self evident fact, especially with the crystalline sonic-quality evident on reissues of this remarkable offering on CD.The delights contained herein are too numerous to mention, although "You'll Know When You Get There" certainly provides some of Hancock's most impressionistic and sublime keyboard moments. The support from talented and under-rated musicians such as Eddie Henderson and Julian Priester lends the music a mysterious quality, just as surely as Billy Hart and Leon Chancler's drumming perfectly realizes and provides a backdrop for what Hancock was trying to achieve in this music: consciousness raising. As he notes, "I think music is supposed to make you high, to give you an experience so that you can transport yourself from wherever you are and that whole physical contact with the world so that you can gain a little more new music is set up to do just that. It's set up to make you high." Right-on Mr Hancock!!!What better music to provide inspiration in our present world, one where the forces driving us towards decreasing creative engagement with all artistic forms are so strong. But light will always win through in the end...and Maupin's bass-clarinet certainly provides the necessary guidance and soul, especially on Priester's disturbing but visionary "Wandering Spirit Song".It seems like the wandering musical spirit of Hancock has wandered from his first efforts on the Fender Rhodes keyboard (on albums with the second classic Miles Davis quintet such as "Miles in the Sky" and Filles De Kilimanjaro") to mastery on the instrument and ultimate harmonization within the ensemble context on this album. Later albums such as "Crossings" and "Sextant" by the same sextet/septet unfortunately never recaptured the extraordinary sets of this early period.Music like that on this seminal release will never be heard again."
Layer cake Noir
Abiola. J. Sonubi | Greenery, UK | 07/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Well then, this 1970 album, very much one of my favorites is somewhat ahead of it's time and it doesn't take (a pure head) that long to hear/ acknowledge this. In my opinion, it probably only just missed the 'Classic' status as the album had pretty much 'what it took'. As the notes mention... it's Herbie ever the avant-garde, pioneering a 'new' direction, re-defining Fusion/ Jazz rock and clearly moving further away from conventional jazz. Listening and thinking about it again, I still don't know many traditional bandleaders that would 'at the time' have sanctioned the use of equipment such as modulators and synthesizers on JAZZ, a bold move and perhaps a cardinal sin that honestly needed no atonement...

Let's start from 'Ostinato' - Track one, Bernie Maupin immediately kicks it off with his signature reed, the Bass Clarinet, soon enters Herbie Hancock, tossing a salad in with some 'spaced out' modulators here & there, Eddie Henderson then slides in and takes charge, leading the awesome tribute (as we're told) to an American activist 'Angela Davis' with a long pulsating, wailing solo, blowing himself far into hyperspace and then handing over the reins back to bandleader Herbie who brings us back to earth on a (Fender) Rhodes afterburn.

'You'll know when you get there'-- the second track is I guess, my second favorite on the album as it's very soft, sensual and is the album's ballard & perhaps best kept secret. Eddie Henderson very gently puffs, though with some occasional bursts of anxiety, then even Bennie Maupin, for most parts, goes very soft on this track, ditching his usual arrogant work tool for... a flute this time, flutes for me always bring an extra personal 'feel' on Jazz tracks. Listeners also get to hear some really cool but subtle bass lines all along the way.

Wandering Spirit song... Now this track!!! Definitely my favorite song on the album. All hands are on deck here i.e. with the entire sextet featuring (at least judging from what my ears picked up). The track, written by (the previously unknown to me) Julian Priester is to me a handsome one and the man's trombone solo passage perhaps shows this, the cut eventually leads to a 'free for all' with loads of free-styling and massive improvisation which admittedly might be a bit rough on the ear (& as was described by another reviewer, rather 'quite disturbing') to a few people in some parts but all in all, still quite structured in it's madness. Some tainted imagery of Herbie's former genius boss, Miles Davis' 'In a silent way' can be felt on this track. Even Herbie goes on to experiment with some slightly throbbing modulations on this and then contrastingly, some very light tinkling piano touches too. I particularly like the all-in-together 'chorus' bits especially when Bennie Maupin slides in with his rather BULLISH Bass clarinet (you might have to listen in closely to catch him though as his sound blends in with Mr Priester's trombone). By the last 3 minutes of this lengthy (20 minute) song, it's only a BRILLIANT duo left to fade us out, Herbie and Buster Williams (Bass) whose strumming consistency on the entire song is just superb and very worthy of props too. Jazz heads enjoy

Summary - (Personally) it's a great album, a real trendsetter. Another thing is that Mwandishi is DEFINITELY more pleasant to the ears than some other milestone jazz albums like 'Bitches Brew' ever were, I say this because everyone gives all the props to Miles' classic 1969 album (which I also own, 'appreciate' and have also reviewed on here by the way) but very few people get to acknowledge this outing by Mr Hancock, ok yes! The album, 'Head hunters' (also by Herbie) went on to be the first platinum jazz album in terms of record sales etc but the point is that the man was already cranking out groundbreakers even before '72.
The studio sessions for this album spanned over a period of approx 2-3 months (as indicated) so I guess one could be fair on Miles Davis and 'Bitches Brew' which was arranged, recorded and perhaps even `composed' in just under a week (unproven though) with it's harmonies and groove still present in most parts albeit crude and forgivably experimental in other parts. Eddie Henderson 'got his chance' & career kick off here and pardon me but he perhaps couldn't have been 'outblown' even by Miles D on this album, YES in my view. Reedman Bennie Maupin gets his own time of life here as well with his gruff Bass clarinet.
Rubbish Album cover/print, Lol but true though and finally, I think the only guy that reviewed the album and rated it 1 out of 5 is grossly unfair, justifying his rating by telling us that the album can be bought (for pretty much the same price) as part of a more economic 'The Complete Warner Mwandishi sessions' 3 album box set, Come on! that's a slightly mean reason to score it so low.
Warning-This is not "The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings"
D. J. Milligan | On The Beach, SC | 03/01/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I have notified amazon & retailers, this item is mislabeled.

Make sure you check the image, when buying this disc.
The yellow album cover is on The Warner Bros. Masters Series.
It only has 3 tracks(it should be called the worst of Mwandishi).

The real "The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings" will have a mostly white album cover, with Herbie smiling while holding an umbrella. The Real Complete Recordings, has 13 tracks and includes the complete Fat Albert Rotunda.

You will know it is The Complete Recordings because it has 3 albums on 2 discs(13 tracks).
It is available on amazon.

I made the mistake of ordering the lower priced disc, and it took 2 months and several attempts before I could get a refund.