This CD is a collection of Herbie Hancock's best-known work from his fusion years, beginning with two tracks from the seminal Head Hunters: the 15-minute psychedelic soul opus "Chameleon," and the African remake of "Watermelon Man." It then traces his explorations of funk with tracks like "You Better Bet Your Love" and "Ready or Not," and his early-'80s breakout from a growing commercial/funk rut with the explosive techno-pop hit "Rockit." The Best of Herbie Hancock: The Hits also presents a rather compelling look at one artist's explorations into fusion, a period of jazz often overlooked and denounced by purists. In doing this it showcases how Hancock's roots as a Blue Note musician were still present, even if the long solos were on a synthesizer instead of a piano. More importantly, it's a good example of just how much traditional jazz played a part in influencing funk, hip-hop, and even electronic music. While a retrospective is never quite as compelling as the original albums, it still serves as an exceptional introduction Hancock's work in the '70s and early '80s.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Curtis Zimmermann