It's definitely been more than a minute since my last addition to this series, so I'm looking to gain some ground back by dropping two gems this month. The first is a tribute to one of my favorite jazz musicians of all time: Herbie Hancock.
Hancock came onto the scene as a member of the legendary Miles Davis' crew in the early sixties. While his record "Maiden Voyage" is one of his best known early works, one of my personal favorites is "Inventions and Dimensions", a much more experimental collection of songs that team Herbie up with Willie Bobo. The styles range across jazz and bossa nova. Hancock worked with several Blue Note musicians and continued on with Davis for many years, playing keyboards on classics such as "In a Silent Way" and "On the Corner".
Most know Hancock for his 1983 hit "Rockit", which was full of synthesizers, crazy sounds, and record scratches. While it is unfortunate that for some, this is the only connection to a lifetime of amazing work, it still stands as a decent - albeit very narrow - representation of his overall style. During the seventies, he helped revolutionize jazz fusion with his growing arsenal of funk synths. "Headhunters" and "Man Child" are both amazing in their own rights, but additionally have been sampled and used for some of the best hip hop to come out of the 90's era. I think Redman and Rockwilder must have sampled just about every song on "Man Child" for Red's debut album ("Whut? Thee Album") and follow-up ("Dare iz a Darkside"). 1976's "Secrets" is another oft-missed classic, and that record cover is actually the image i had hoped to use for the bag graphics. Unfortunately, the photo was too dark, but his huge afro and mutton chops are definitely from my favorite era in his musical timeline.
Although I can't honestly say Hancock's work in the 90's and beyond ranks among my favorites, his boatload of consistently amazing records and collaborations during the thirty years prior places him near the top of my list of favorites. I can listen to his albums on loop for an entire weekend. Check out a full discography here