The Headhunters represented a major turning point for Herbie Hancock, whose approach to fusion became slicker and more commercial (though not without substance or integrity) with the formation of this popular band in 1973. Before that, the chameleonic pianist/keyboardist had been leading a daring unit called the Sextant, which fused jazz, R&B, and rock with world music and took more than its share of chances. But regrettably, the Sextant's three albums for Warner Bros. were modest sellers at best, so in 1973, he disbanded the Sextant and formed the Headhunters. Employing saxman/clarinetist Bennie Maupin (a holdover from the Sextant), bassist Paul Jackson, Jr., drummer Harvey Mason, and percussionist Bill Summers, Hancock made a point of being more accessible when he unveiled the Headhunters with his 1973 Columbia date Head Hunters.
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