Herbie Hancock

The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions

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From the start of his solo recording career in 1962, when he was 22, Herbie Hancock was a very original pianist/composer. Strangely enough, despite the explorative nature of much of his music, Hancock was also quite accessible, recording the future hit "Watermelon Man" on his debut date. This six-CD set is a must for all jazz collectors who do not already own Hancock's Blue Note albums, for the box contains the complete contents of the pianist's albums Takin' Off, My Point of View, Inventions & Dimensions, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage, Speak Like a Child, and The Prisoner. In addition, there are a dozen alternate takes (seven not previously released), five selections taken from dates led by others (Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, Wayne Shorter, and Bobby Hutcherson), and an unissued R&B-ish number ("Don't Ever Go There") from an abandoned 1966 project. The title of the attractive 1998 package is not completely accurate, for although the program includes all of Hancock's Blue Note dates as a leader, it does not have all of his recordings as a sideman for the label (which would take a really huge box). There are many classics in this reissue, including "Watermelon Man," "Blind Man, Blind Man," "Cantaloupe Island," "Maiden Voyage" (including a second version from a Hutcherson date), "The Eye of the Hurricane," "Dolphin Dance," "The Prisoner," and the entire Speak Like a Child album. Among Hancock's sidemen are trumpeters Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd, Thad Jones, and Johnny Coles, tenors Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, and Joe Henderson, bassists Butch Warren, Chuck Israels, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Buster Williams, and drummers Billy Higgins, Tony Williams, Willie Bobo, Mickey Roker, and Albert "Tootie" Heath. Timeless music that is still quite undated and fresh.

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