Herbie Hancock (US jazz pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer)

~ Person


Herbert Jeffrey Hancock, born in Chicago, IL, USA, is without doubt the most well known, controversial and influential of all jazz pianists.
Soon noticed by and involved with Miles Davis, Mr Hancock almost stormed the hardbop Blue Note 60's with a number of legendary sessions, from his (nearly) first record Takin' Off, to The Prisoner.
Recording with the new Mile's cats, he then took an important turn (around the time of Head Hunters), experimenting and mixing genres, thus drifting from his previous fan base expectations.
While the hardbop's crowd thought he was completely lost for the cause, he then took a radical U-turn, with the all-stars-all-jazz V.S.O.P.
He has since recorded and experimented in a lot of directions, exploring "sound textures" and touring with various bands.
Certainly a very complex personality, with an extensive discography.

Annotation last modified on 2008-01-05 02:28 UTC.


Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Hancock practices Nichiren Buddhism and is a member of the Buddhist association Sōka Gakkai International. As part of Hancock's spiritual practice, he recites the Buddhist chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo each day. In 2013, Hancock's dialogue with Wayne Shorter and Daisaku Ikeda on jazz, Buddhism and life was published in Japanese.

On July 22, 2011, at a ceremony in Paris, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. In 2013 Hancock joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he will teach jazz music.

Hancock is the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. Holders of the chair deliver a series of six lectures on poetry, "The Norton Lectures", poetry being "interpreted in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts." Previous Norton lecturers include musicians Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Hancock's theme is "The Ethics of Jazz."

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1962 Takin' Off Herbie Hancock 5 12
1963 My Point of View Herbie Hancock 5
1964 Empyrean Isles Herbie Hancock 5 8
1964 Inventions & Dimensions Herbie Hancock 4 7
1965 Maiden Voyage Herbie Hancock 4 9
1968 Speak Like a Child Herbie Hancock 7
1969 Fat Albert Rotunda Herbie Hancock 5
1969 The Prisoner Herbie Hancock 9
1970 Mwandishi Herbie Hancock 4 3
1971 Crossings Herbie Hancock 5
1973 Head Hunters Herbie Hancock 15
1973 Sextant Herbie Hancock 4 5
1974 Thrust Herbie Hancock 5
1975 Kawaida Herbie Hancock & Don Cherry 1
1975 Man-Child Herbie Hancock 7
1976 Secrets Herbie Hancock 5 4
1977 Third Plane Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock & Tony Williams 4
1978 Sunlight Herbie Hancock 2
1979 Feets Don't Fail Me Now Herbie Hancock 4
1979 The Piano Herbie Hancock 3
1980 Monster Herbie Hancock 3
1980 Mr. Hands Herbie Hancock 5
1981 Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams 1
1982 Herbie Hancock Trio Herbie Hancock 2
1982 Lite Me Up Herbie Hancock 3
1982 Quartet Herbie Hancock 5 6
1983 Future Shock Herbie Hancock 9
1984 Sound-System Herbie Hancock 4
1985 Village Life Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso 4 2
1988 Perfect Machine Herbie Hancock 4
1993 The Egg Herbie Hancock 1
1994 A Tribute to Miles Davis Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Wallace Roney & Tony Williams 2
1994 Dis Is da Drum Herbie Hancock 5 6
1995 Jammin' With Herbie Herbie Hancock 1
1995 The New Standard Herbie Hancock 5
1996 Directstep Herbie Hancock 2
1997 1+1 Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter 3
1997 Magic Windows Herbie Hancock 2
1998 Gershwin's World Herbie Hancock 5
1999 Voyager Herbie Hancock 1
2000 Jammin' With Herbie Herbie Hancock 1
2000 Out of This World Herbie Hancock 1
2000 Night Walker Herbie Hancock 1
2001 Future 2 Future Herbie Hancock 4
2005 Possibilities Herbie Hancock 3
2007 River: The Joni Letters Herbie Hancock 4
2008 Hear, O Israel - A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz Herbie Hancock / Thad Jones / Ron Carter / Jerome Richardson / Grady Tate / Jonathan Klein 2
2012 Complete Live at Jorgie's 1961 The Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams Quintet feat. Herbie Hancock 1
Jammin the Jazz Herbie Hancock 1
Jazz Time - 2 Herbie Hancock 1

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