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Hancock, Herbie

Herbie Hancock

Pianist, composer

Drawn to Jazz Improvisation

Played With Miles Davis Quintet

Expanded Musical Interests

Dance Music and Film Scores

Hosted Instructional Series

Selected discography

Sources

Virtuoso pianist Herbie Hancock is, in a sense, a musical chameleon whose compositions and recordings change direction as unceremoniously and effortlessly as the lizards skin changes color. But with Hancock, the transformations are not designed for camouflage and self-defense; rather they are the outgrowth of a mind that resists stagnation and harbors a deep love of all musica love that would be compromised if it were hostage to a particular style of song. In playing acoustic bebop jazz as well as electronic fusion, in composing sweeping film scores alongside playful advertising jingles, Hancock knowingly risks disappointing those camps that wish to claim him as their darling. But only by straddling so many styles and interests can Hancock tap his copious talent for versatility and allow his moods and feelings to find their truest expression in music.

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 12, 1940, to Wayman Hancock, a grocery store clerk and future federal meat inspector, and Winnie Griffin Hancock, a secretary in whom a love of music and appreciation for education had been instilled as a young child. When Herbie was a baby, his parents discovered that he would stop crying when music was played. And as a toddler, he would respond ecstatically when a piano was near. This ecstasy was finally put to use when his parents bought an old upright piano for 25 dollars. Instead of playing sports and running about with his schoolmates in the back alleys of Chicago, the studious seven-year-old preferred to stay home learning piano and nurturing a fascination with science and electronics. He skipped two grades, an academic feat that was fostered by his parents promotion of discipline and that he would later say helped forge his identity as a high achiever. Similarly prompted by his mothers love of music and by enthusiastic public school instructors, young Hancock listened to opera on the radio and excelled at the piano, winning a scholastic contest at age 11, the award for which was a concert performance of a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Drawn to Jazz Improvisation

Throughout high school, Hancock enjoyed listening to the rhythm and blues music that was echoing in the city, but he never considered trying to play these soulful, animated songs. The free-form phrases of jazz were even more remote. But then he heard a classmate perform an improvisational piece at a talent show, and he was so fascinated with the spirit of it, so mesmerized by the honesty of its expression, that he decided to learn everything he could about this music, which he had never really understood. So he closeted himself

For the Record

Born Herbert Jeffrey Hancock, April 12, 1940, in Chicago, IL; son of Wayman Edward and Winnie (Griffin) Hancock; married Gudrun Meixner, August 31, 1968. Education: Attended Grinnell College, 1956-60; Roosevelt University, 1960; Manhattan School of Music, 1962; and New School for Social Research, 1967.

First performed with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1952; pianist with Donald Byrd group, 1960-63, and with Miles Davis Quintet, 1963-68; formed band Mwandishi, and released breakthrough fusion album of same name, 1971; formed acoustic jazz ensemble V.S.O.P.; host of programs appearing on television, including Coast-to-Coast, Showtime, and Rockschool.

Selected awards: Citation of Achievement, Broadcast Music Club, 1963; Jay Award, Jazz magazine, 1964; talent deserving wider recognition, 1967, first place in piano category, 1968, 1969, and 1970, composer award, 1971, and jazzman of the year, 1974, Down Beat critics polls; All-Star Band New Artist Award, Record World, 1968; named top jazz artist, Black Music magazine, 1974; Grammy Award for best rhythm and blues instrumental performance, 1983 and 1984, and for best jazz instrumental composition, 1987; received five awards on First Annual MTV Video Music Awards show, including best concept video and most experimental video, for Rockit, 1984; Academy Award for best original score for Round Midnight, 1986.

Addresses: Publicist Hanson & Schwam, 2020 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 410, Los Angeles, California 90067. Record company Columbia, 51 West 52nd St., New York, NY 10019.

for hours alone with Oscar Peterson and George Shearing records, noted Lynne Norment in Ebony, committed to paper their notes and then reproduced them. This tedious exercise led to his ability to analyze and dissect harmonic structures, rhythmic patterns and choral voicings.

In 1956, again at the urging of his mother, Hancock enrolled at Grinnell College in Iowa, at first studying engineeringthe knowledge of which would later help him launch electronic jazz fusionbut soon turning to a field closer to his heart: music composition. In 1960, armed with an analytical understanding of music, Hancock returned to Chicago, where he gigged as a freelance pianist with several jazz combos and visiting bands, playing with, among others, Coleman Hawkins.

In the winter of 1960 a blizzard delayed the pianist for trumpeter Donald Byrds group, which was scheduled to play in Chicago, and a local club owner suggested Hancock as a substitute. After that performance Byrd became the first professional jazz mentor for Hancock, bringing the young pianist to New York City, introducing him to those within the jazz establishment, and laying the groundwork for Hancocks 1962 debut album, TakinOff. The LP featured the accompaniment of jazz greats Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard and introduced Hancocks composition, Watermelon Man; the piece was made a hit by Mongo Santamaria a year later and was subsequently recorded by over 200 artists.

Although he would continue playing conventional jazz for the next few years, Hancock joined briefly with the experimental avant-garde instrumentalist Eric Dolphy in the first of what would be many trailblazing forays. I played things that were almost blasphemous and sounded grotesque, Hancock was quoted as saying in People in 1987. But they had a certain beauty that we could feel even if nobody in the audience could. Sometimes it was good and sometimes it wasnt, but I had to stand up for all of it or else I couldnt play any of it. I learned how to be courageous from that experience.

Played With Miles Davis Quintet

In 1963, on the recommendation of Byrd, Hancock was invited to join the quintet of jazz giant Miles Davis, a pioneering trumpeter who was credited with ingenuously nurturing young talents. Along with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williamsthe Wunderkind drummer who would help Hancock develop his signature percussive piano stylethe young pianist was given comfortably broad guidelines for playing. The Davis group became one of the most influential jazz combos in the 1960s, fostering an environment in which the musicians were given free reign to instrumentally express their emotions and moods. Outside of the group, Hancock continued to perform with such luminaries as Phil Woods, Oliver Nelson, Wes Montgomery, Quincy Jones, and Sonny Rollins.

In the mid-1960s, jazz was beginning to lose some of its audience, in part because purist fans resented the movement away from traditional bebop; even Davis, one of the standard bearers of this tradition, began to steer his combo in the direction of a more funky, rock-driven style. Jazz was also competing with rock and soul music for the attention and dollars of young listeners. Throughout this financially troubled period, Hancock proved his resiliency and flexibility by writing commercial jingles for Chevrolet, Standard Oil, and Eastern Airlines; composing the soundtrack for the film Blow Up; and penning Fat Albert Rotunda for comedian Bill Cosbys television special Hey, Hey, Hey, Its Fat Albert.

Also during this time, an era of explosive change in politics and social dynamics, Hancock, a self-described jazz snob, began flirting with music beyond that of the narrowly defined jazz world. He had always enjoyed rhythm and blues, but considered it somehow inferior to the pure jazz he had embraced. In the 1950s and mid-1960s, I tried to pretend that I was liberal, musically tolerant, the musician divulged in Down Beat in 1988. But I really wasnt. Actually the first record that turned me on to R & Band pop music in generalwas [James Browns] Poppas Got a Brand New Bag. That made me start listening to R & B, because I liked that kind of beat. Later on, I liked Sly Stones Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin a lot. It was like the funkiest thing I ever heard, and I still like it.

Expanded Musical Interests

After leaving Davis in 1968, Hancock, always eager to take new musical steps, formed his own quintet, which departed from the acoustic status quo and welcomed the emerging age of electronics. Under Davis he had started playing the electric piano; though providing a less personal sound, the instrument tapped into Hancocks long-held fascination with technology and further stretched the limits of music and Hancocks own virtuosity. In 1971 Hancock helped usher in the era of jazz fusion with the album Mwandishia Swahili word for composerwhich featured state-of-the-art technology, and was named one of the years ten best LPs by Time magazine.

Although Mwandishi disappointed jazz purists who believed Hancock had squandered his talent and forsaken his inimitable piano style, it served as the springboard for the artists love affair with cutting edge music. What made the criticism bearable for Hancock, above and beyond his revelry in experimentation, was his growing adherence to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. Buddhism has helped me toward gaining control over my own destiny, and given me the courage to follow directions I believe in, he expressed in Ebony in 1987. Over the years Ive made decisions about things, especially music, and have been scoffed at and ridiculed and opposed, but I knew I had to do these things.

Venturing further into unknown territory, Hancock released the watershed Headhunters in 1973, an album using synthesizers and other gadgetry, which essentially defined the jazz/funk/pop hybrid and sold more than a million copies. This crossover LP played off the burgeoning disco craze and, predictably, further piqued Hancocks critics. The musician continued affirming his individuality, though, playing with pop artists Stevie Wonder and the Pointer Sisters, andto the delight of traditionalists who thought they had lost him forming the acoustic jazz group V.S.O.P. with several members of the old Davis quintet.

Dance Music and Film Scores

The 1983 release Future Shock once again confirmed Hancocks successful formula of using new sounds and high technology to frame popular music. The song Rockit, spun off from the album, reached Number One on the dance and soul music charts, became the biggest selling twelve-inch single in Columbia Records history, and garnered a Grammy Award for best rhythm and blues instrumental. The key to this hard-driving dance song, which surprised even those listeners who had become accustomed to Hancocks musical wanderings, was the use of record scratching rubbing the needle the wrong way while an LP is playinga technique that had been gaining popularity with fans of rap music. Further inventiveness with the songs video, featuring the gesticulations of dismembered robots, led to Hancocks accrual of five MTV awards.

Other 1980s releases also included an amalgamation of styles. On his 1984 album Sound-System, which also won a Grammy, Hancock explored the sounds of street funk music, integrating African and Latin American undertones. The 1988 release The Perfect Machine was similarly rooted in the rhythms and beats of contemporary urban life.

Hancocks ability to adjust to and even create musical trends is an outgrowth of an ear brilliantly attuned to the modulation and changeability of individual pieces. In a review of a Hancock quartet performance in 1990, Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote, When a pop-jazz tune threatened to get too sweet, Mr. Hancock would come up with a lilting, melodic solo but attack the notes just off the beat, giving them an intransigent edge, or he would skew the harmony with a disturbing hint of dissonance. In another case, while performing at a 1986 jazz festival, Hancock noticed that a string on the piano had broken. Instead of avoiding the key or demanding a new piano, he chose to use the metallic twang as percussive accompaniment to a ballad.

Hosted Instructional Series

Hancocks interest in telling stories musically has translated into his prolific compositions of film scores. He won an Academy Award and a Grammy for his soundtrack to Round Midnight, the celebrated 1986 film based loosely on the life of expatriate bebop musician Bud Powell in Paris in the late 1950s. Hancock has also composed music for Colors, A Soldiers Story, Death Wish, Livin Large, Action Jackson, and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling. In pursuing the love of education that his mother instilled in him as a youngster, Hancock hosted the instructional television series Rockschool, which taught viewers about jazz history and the playing of jazz instruments, and a cable series, Coast-to-Coast, a show featuring concerts and interviews with established and promising musical personalities.

It is a credit to Hancocks talent that he has so successfully balanced commercial success with artistic integrity. In stepping out of the role of pure jazzman, a classification that traditionalists were eager to impose on him, he has risked being seen as a fickle sell-out. But he has stuck by his belief that all music is equally valid. When asked in a 1988 Down Beat interview what he thought of the view that pop music should not be considered on a par with jazz and classical, he was reported to have said, My opinion is that a hamburger and a hot dog deserve an equally important place in history as caviar and champagne, because we cant do without any of it. On a human level, the garbage man is just as important as the teacher or a rock star or a president, because you have to have them. The world would have been dead a long time ago without garbage men.

Selected discography

Takin Off (includes Watermelon Man), Blue Note, 1962, reissued, 1987.

(With others) My Point of View, Blue Note, 1963.

Herbie Hancock, Blue Note, 1964.

Empyrean Isles, Blue Note, 1964, reissued, 1985.

Inventions and Dimensions, Blue Note, 1965.

Maiden Voyage, Blue Note, 1966.

Speak Like a Child, Blue Note, 1968.

Mwandishi, Warner Bros., 1971.

Crossings, Warner Bros., 1972.

Sextant, Columbia, 1972.

Headhunters, Columbia, 1973.

Man-Child, Columbia, 1975.

Secrets, Columbia, 1976.

Feets Dont Fail Me Now, Columbia, 1979.

Lite Me Up, Columbia, 1982.

Future Shock (includes Rockit), Columbia, 1983.

Sound-System, Columbia, 1984, reissued, 1985.

The Prisoner, Blue Note, 1987.

The Perfect Machine, Columbia, 1988.

The Best of Herbie Hancock, Columbia, 1988.

(With Chick Corea) Corea and Hancock, Polydor, 1988.

(With V.S.O.P.) The Quintet: V.S.O.P. Live (recorded 1976), Columbia, 1988.

(With Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins) All the Things You Are (recorded 1963-64), Blue Note, 1990.

(With others) A Jazz Collection, Columbia Jazz Contemporary Masters, 1991.

Mr. Hands, Columbia.

Monster, Columbia.

Quartet: Hancock, Marsalis, Carter, Williams, Columbia.

Thrust, Columbia.

Has performed on more than a dozen albums with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Composer of film scores, including Blow Up, GB, 1966; Death Wish, Paramount, 1974; A Soldiers Story, Columbia, 1984; Round Midnight, Warner Bros., 1986; Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, Columbia, 1986; Action Jackson, Lorimar, 1988; Colors, Orion, 1988; and Livin Large, Samuel Goldwyn, 1991.

Sources

Down Beat, July 1986; June 1988.

Ebony, March 1987.

New York Times, July 2, 1990.

People, January 19, 1987.

Rolling Stone, October 25, 1984.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from a Hanson & Schwam Public Relations biography, 1992.

Isaac Rosen

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Hancock, Herbie

Herbie Hancock

Piano, keyboards, songwriter

Delved into Jazz Music

From Commercials to Commercial Success

Prayer and the Pianist

Selected discography

Sources

Throughout much of his career, Herbie Hancock was one of the most controversial and revered jazz artists of his time, as was his mentor and friend, the late Miles Davis. His career spanned more than four decades. Besides being a virtuoso pianist and keyboard player, he explored many forms of music, as well as the technological gadgetry that accompanied them. His chameleon ways of changing musical direction to broaden contemporary styles excited and surprised his peers and fans alike. But it came naturally to Hancock, whose boundless creativity formed the music he loved so deeply.

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock was born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois to Wayman and Winnie Griffin Hancock. His father was a grocery store clerk, while his mother worked as a secretary. Both parents instilled a love and appreciation for music in all of their children. When Herbie Hancock was a toddler, he was always happy if a piano was near. His love for the piano grew even deeper when his parents bought him an old upright piano for 25 dollars. Instead of getting involved in sports or running the back streets of Chicago with his school friends, Hancock opted to stay home to practice the piano. He used his extra time to pursue his growing interest in science and electronics. However, his interest in music never caused his school work to suffer. His inexhaustible discipline allowed him to skip two grades. During elementary school, his teachers and his mother encouraged him to listen to opera on the radio, which helped his understanding of both music and the piano. At the age of 11, Hancock won a scholastic award for his concert performance of a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Delved into Jazz Music

Growing up in Chicago, Hancock was surrounded by the blues, as it echoed through the city during his high school years. Yet, Hancock didnt gravitate toward rhythm and blues, but instead, was moved by the more complex jazz styles. When he heard a classmate play an improvisational piece at a talent show, he was so taken by its freedom that he became devoted to learning all about it. As Lynn Norment noted in Ebony Magazine, He closeted himself for hours alone with Oscar Peterson and George Shearing records, committed their notes to paper and then reproduced them. This tedious exercise led to his ability to analyze and dissect harmonic structures, rhythmic patterns, and choral voicings. After graduating high school, Hancock enrolled at Grinnell College, in Iowa, in 1956 to study engineering. While there, he learned the fundamentals of electronics, which later translated into his own music in the 1970s.

For the Record

Born April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois, son of Wayman Edward and Winnie (Griffin) Hancock; married Gudrun Meixner, August 31, 1986. Education: Attended Grinnell College, 1956-60; Roosevelt University, 1960; Manhattan School of Music, 1962; New School of Social Research, 1967.

Performed for the first time at age 11 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1952; played piano with the Donald Byrd Group, 1960-1963; released debut album Takin Off, 1962; recorded and performed with the Miles Davis Quintet, 1963-1968; formed his own band called, Mwandishi and released a break through fusion album of the same name, 1971; formed acoustic jazz ensemble V.S.O.P., 1977; recorded and released more than 65 solo albums throughout his career.

Addresses: Record company Hancock Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019

Hancock went on to change his major to music composition and graduated in 1960. He returned to Chicago, and worked with such artists as Coleman Hawkins, Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, and Freddie Hubbard.

The following winter, a treacherous snow storm prevented the pianist for Donald Byrds group from getting to Chicago where they were scheduled to play. Hancock stepped in for the missing pianist. Byrd was impressed by Hancocks performance, and took him under his wing. Byrd took him to New York and introduced him to the jazz establishment, which laid the groundwork for Hancocks 1962 debut album, Takin Off, which included musicians like Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard. A year later, his song Watermelon Man, was covered by Mongo Santamaria, and subsequently recorded over the years by more than 200 artists.

In 1963, Donald Byrd suggested that Hancock contact Miles Davis. The Davis Group had a philosophy that maintained an environment where the musicians had the freedom to musically express themselves. His meeting with Davis proved very productive. Hancock, Davis, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, became known as one of the most influential groups in jazz history. During his time off from The Davis Group, Hancock performed with such jazz greats as Phil Woods, Oliver Nelson, Wes Montgomery, Quincy Jones, and Sonny Rollins.

From Commercials to Commercial Success

In the late 1960s, the once prominent jazz audiences began to thin out as rock and roll gained popularity. To keep working, Hancock wrote commercial jingles for such companies as Chevrolet, Standard Oil, and Eastern Airlines. He also began recording for soundtracks and composing film scores for such films as Blow Up. He also wrote the Fat Albert Rotunda for comedian Bill Cosbys television special, Hey, Hey, Hey, Its Fat Albert.

By 1968, Hancock had left the Davis Group to pursue a solo career. He started playing the electric piano and exploring the technology of electronic instruments and recording equipment. His next album, Mwandishi, became one of his first breakthroughs in music technology. In 1973, his work with the Headhunters delved into even more uncharted musical territory. During that time, he continued to play acoustic jazz from time to time with the Davis quintet alumni, while continuing to explore the possibilities of instrumental music through electronics.

In 1983, he moved into a completely different direction with his number-one pop hit, Rockit. Not only did Rockit win a Grammy award for Hancock, but the song raised some eyebrows throughout the industry, primarily because it was one of the few instrumental songs to soar to the top of the charts. Even Hancock was surprised that Rockit became such a big hit, and wanted to make a video in order to expose his music to the kids who watched MTV. He hired the vhrefeo duo Godley and Creme (who had done hit vhrefeos for The Police and Duran Duran) to help him.

Hancock recalled the vhrefeo-making process to Peter Occhiogrosso in Playboy, I told Godley and Creme, Look, dont even have me on it, dont have any black people on itjust make it as white as any vhrefeo they might show by Led Zeppelin or anybody. They laughed. They thought I was joking, but I wanted people to hear the music. Hancock dhref end up having a cameo, but only on a television screen within the vhrefeo. When the vhrefeo for Rockit hit the MTV airwaves, it rocketed into heavy rotation. Hancock had jumped another hurdle. Aside from superstars such as Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, MTV rarely even played vhrefeos by black artists in the early 1980s, much less had them in heavy rotation.

Prayer and the Pianist

Throughout his career, Hancock broke through many musical and social barriers without looking back. He attributed his successes and power of positive thinking to his belief in Buddhism, which he began studying in the 1970s. Hancock practiced a sect of Buddhism called Nichiren Shoshu, which involved reciting the prayers of the Lotus Sutra, and chanting the words Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo (the law of cause and effect through sound). Hancock credited his Buddhist practice for giving him freedom. He explained the feeling to Eric Levin in People as, not being afraid of things that may happen in your life. Its knowing that you can turn all the poison into medicine. He sahref his Buddhist practice dhrefnt necessarily change his nature, but simply reinforced what he already had.

Hancock has been the quintessential board crosser. Hes gone from straight-ahead jazz to opera, from bebop to fusion, from jingles to dance music, from film scores to hip-hopall while moving between acoustic piano, synthesizers, and emulators. Just when people thought Hancock had settled into the genre of contemporary music, he took another turn in 1992 with a Miles Davis tribute tour. It took Hancock three years to finally process the passing of his friend and mentor, who once sahref, Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I havent heard anybody yet who has come after that time.

In the 1990s, Hancock had his fingers on a few other things beshrefes the piano. Continuing to follow the advancing technology, Hancock worked on multimedia projects and cutting-edge Internet audio productions. His past also returned to the forefront, as some of his older works were re-released, including The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions, a six-CD collection of Hancocks early influential albums. Columbia Records also reissued An Evening With Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea, a duet recording from 1978.

Herbie Hancocks recordings in the 1990s stayed true to his chameleon reputation. In 1995, he released The New Standard, a translation of songs by artists such as Prince and Peter Gabriel into a jazz style. In 1997, Hancock teamed up with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who played with Hancock in The Davis Group, for a collaborative album called 1+1 released on Verve Records. Hancock and Shorter, also a practicing Buddhist, had continued their friendship since their days with Miles Davis. The duo followed up the release with a tour that lasted into 1998. Later that year, Hancock reformed the Headhunters to release Return of the Headhunters on his own label, Hancock Records. He also released a tribute album to George Gershwin called Gershwins World, with guest appearances by Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Kathleen Battle, and Wayne Shorter.

For most of his life, Herbie Hancock let his musical style follow whatever creativity he felt at the time, regardless ofgenre, then combined it with own his interest in growing technologies. I want to approach living my life to the fullest, Hancock told Don Heckman in Down Beat. Music isnt any different. That means the more I learn and the more I am able to experience, the more tools I have to create possibilities of expression that, perhaps, I havent experienced before. Thats what makes me want to go on living and go on striving. Thats the best of what life has to offer.

Selected discography

Takin Off, Blue Note Records, 1962.

Inventions and Dimensions, Blue Note Records, 1963.

My Point of View, Blue Note Records, 1963.

Empyrean Isles, Blue Note Records, 1964.

Mahrefen Voyage, Blue Note Records, 1965.

Herbie Hancock, Blue Note Records, 1968.

Speak Like A Child, Blue Note Records, 1968.

Fat Albert Rotunda, Warner Bros. Records, 1969.

The Prisoner, Blue Note Records, 1969.

Mwandishi, Warner Bros. Records, 1970.

Crossings, Warner Bros. Records, 1971.

Sextant, Columbia Records, 1972.

Headhunters, Columbia Records, 1973.

Death Wish, One Way Records, 1974.

Thrust, Columbia Records, 1974.

Dedication, CBS/Sony Records, 1974.

Flood, A&M Records, 1975.

Love Me By Name, Arista Records, 1975.

Happy The Man, GB Records, 1976.

Kawahrefa, Columbia Records, 1976.

Man Child, Columbia Records, 1976.

Secrets, Columbia Records, 1976.

Live In Japan, Columbia Records, 1977.

Sunlight, Columbia Records, 1977.

The Herbie Hancock Trio, Columbia Records, 1977.

Tempest in the Coliseum, Columbia Records, 1977.

V.S.O.P. Quintet, Columbia Records, 1977.

Direct Step, Columbia Records, 1978.

An Evening with Chick Corea and Herbie: Live, Columbia Records, 1978.

The Piano, Columbia Records, 1978.

Live Under the Sky, Columbia Records, 1979.

In Concert: Duets Live, CBS Records, 1979.

Feets Dont Fail Me Now, Columbia Records, 1979.

Jingle Bells Jazz, Columbia Records, 1979.

Hancock Alley, Manhattan Records, 1980.

Mr. Hands, Columbia Records, 1980.

Monster, Columbia Records, 1980.

Magic Windows, Columbia Records, 1981.

Herbie Hancock Quartet, Columbia Records, 1981.

Double Rainbow, Columbia Records, 1981.

By All Means, MPS Records, 1981.

Lite Me Up, Columbia Records, 1982.

Future Shock, Columbia Records, 1983.

Hot and Heavy, Star Jazz Records, 1984.

Sound System, Columbia Records, 1984.

Village Life, Columbia Records, 1985.

Jazz Africa, Live, Verve Records, 1986.

Third Plane, Carerre Records, 1986.

Songs for My Father, Blue Note Records, 1988.

Perfect Machine, Columbia Records, 1988.

Dis Is Da Drum, Mercury Records, 1993.

Jamming, Royalco Records, 1994.

Cantaloupe Island, Blue Note Records, 1995.

New Standard, Verve Records, 1995.

Jamminõ with Herbie, Prime Cuts Records, 1995.

In Concert Live, Tristar Records, 1996.

1+1, Polygram Records, 1997.

Return of the Headhunters, Hancock/Verve Records, 1998.

Gershwins World, Polygram Records, 1998.

Sources

Periodicals

Down Beat, June 1994, December 1995, April 1996, May 1996, December 1997, September 1998, February 1999.

Ebony, December 1995.

Entertainment Weekly, March 8, 1996, March 15, 1996, October 9, 1998.

Forbes, December 14, 1998.

Knight-Rhrefder/Tribune News Service, March 3, 1999.

Musician, December 1998.

People Weekly, January 19, 1987.

Playboy, July, 1984.

Online

Herbie Hancock, The Ultimate Band List, http://www.ubl.com (May 1, 1999).

Sonya Shelton

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Hancock, Herbie

Herbie Hancock

1940—

Jazz musician, pianist, composer

Herbie Hancock is one of the few living musicians who has been able to command respect simultaneously in the high-art field of jazz and in the commercially oriented world of popular music. Since coming to prominence with jazz trumpeter Miles Davis's path-breaking fusion ensemble of the 1960s, Hancock has in effect maintained two separate careers, winning acclaim as an acoustic jazz pianist in pure bebop and post-bop traditions on the one hand while keeping up with, making creative use of, and sometimes even giving birth to trends in black popular music on the other. In the words of Down Beat writer Pat Cole, "Hancock has been the quintessential border crosser."

An adherent of the chant-oriented Nichiren Shoshu sect of Buddhism, Hancock might also be said to have led a quintessentially creative life. His musical career has been shaped and defined by the sheer fascination he feels when new sounds come his way; when a string on his piano broke during a 1986 New York concert, Hancock adapted by seamlessly weaving the twang of the damaged string into the thread of his improvisation. People magazine once described him with this memorable headline: "Cat curious, with as many creative lives, he thrives Round Midnight"—the last phrase referring both to Hancock's tendency to work through the night when excited by a project and to his award-winning score for the 1986 Bertrand Tavernier film by that name.

Showed Early Interest in Music

Born in Chicago on April 12, 1940, to Wayman and Winnie Hancock, Herbert Jeffrey Hancock showed enthusiasm for the sound of a piano while still a toddler. His parents bought him a five-dollar, church-basement-salvaged piano when he was seven years old, and the quiet, determinedly investigative young man mastered the instrument rapidly. A mere four years later he performed the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra after winning a school contest. He continued studying classical music at Chicago's Hyde Park High School, but turned to jazz after becoming interested in the improvisational performances of a classmate named Don Goldberg. "People laugh when they find out Herbie Hancock learned to play the blues from a nice Jewish boy," he told People.

Hancock enrolled at Iowa's Grinnell College, beginning with a parentally mandated engineering major, but eventually switching his major to music. He returned frequently to Chicago and began to search out performing opportunities there; in the winter of 1960 a blizzard provided the opportunity for him to sit in on piano with the band of trumpeter Donald Byrd during a Chicago club date. Byrd sensed the young pianist's creativity and worked to open doors that made possible Hancock's 1962 debut LP, Takin' Off. The album offered a foretaste of Hancock's split career to come: It featured high-minded bebop greats Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard, but also included a composition titled "Watermelon Man" that became a Top Ten pop hit for Mongo Santamaria and was later rerecorded by many other artists.

It was also through Byrd's influence that Hancock joined Miles Davis's seminal quintet of the 1960s (called, like his groundbreaking group from the 1950s, the Miles Davis Quintet), remaining with the group from 1963 to 1968. Davis introduced Hancock to the electric piano, and Hancock's talents flowered in the atmosphere of wide-ranging musical investigation that the quintet cultivated. Davis broke barriers between art and commercialism by incorporating rock and funk elements into jazz on such early fusion albums as Filles de Kilimanjaro, even as his drummer Tony Williams schooled Hancock in the complex modern classical compositions of such composers as Igor Stravinsky and Edgar Varese. Hancock gained wide recognition for both his keyboard work with Davis and his growing body of solo recordings.

Pioneered New Sound

Davis himself had scandalized many a jazz purist with his 1960s recordings, and Hancock soon went even further than Davis had. He took criticism for his 1971 LP Mwandishi, which featured a full-blown fusion sound, and especially for 1973's Headhunters, which incorporated synthesizers and spawned a million-selling proto-disco dance hit, "Chameleon." With 1983's Future Shock, Hancock (working with the innovative New York electronic ensemble Material) leapt to the forefront of the emerging hip-hop style; the album generated a massive hit called "Rockit," which featured the rap-DJ technique of scratching, or creating percussive sounds with a needle on a turntable. Its successor, Sound-System (1984), integrated world music into the mix, anticipating trends in 1990s dance music by many years; the album earned Hancock a Grammy award.

At a Glance …

Born Herbert Jeffrey Hancock on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, IL; son of Wayman Edward and Winnie (Griffin) Hancock; married Gudrun (Gigi) Meixner, 1968. Education: Attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, 1956-60; Roosevelt University, Chicago, 1960; Manhattan School of Music, 1962; and New School for Social Research, New York, 1967.

Career: Performed with the Donald Byrd ensemble, 1960-63; recorded and performed with the Miles Davis Quintet, 1963-68; formed jazz-funk fusion band The Headhunters, 1973; formed acoustic jazz band V.S.O.P., 1977; host of television series Rock School, PBS; host of television series Coast to Coast, Showtime, 1989-91; extensive international concert and recording career; became distinguished artist in residence at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, CO, 1991; assumed artistic direction of Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute, Los Angeles, 1998.

Awards: Selected awards: Grammy awards, 1983 for "Rockit," 1984 for "Sound-System," 1987 for "Call Sheet Blues," 1994 for Tribute to Miles, 1996 for "Manhattan (Island of Lights and Love)," 1998 for "St. Louis Blues," and for Gershwin's World, 2002 for Directions in Music, 2002 for "My Ship," 2005 for "Speak Like a Child," and 2008 for best contemporary jazz album and for album of the year, both River: The Joni Letters; Officer of the Order of Arts & Letters (Paris), 1985; Academy Award, best original score, 1986, for Round Midnight; Festival International Jazz de Montreal, Prix Miles Davis, 1997; Jazz Masters Fellowship Award, National Endowment of the Arts, 2004; Harvard University Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year, 2008.

Addresses: Agent—William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019, http://www.wma.com/agency/contact.aspx.

Even as he enjoyed success on the cutting edge of popular music, Hancock continued to work within the jazz tradition. He formed an acoustic quintet called V.S.O.P. ("Very Special One-Time Performance") and a quartet that featured Tony Williams and the young trumpet sensation Wynton Marsalis, toured with fellow fusion pioneer Chick Corea, and recorded with such pure jazz players as pianist Oscar Peterson. In 1997 he recorded an album of duets with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, called 1+1, and in 1998 he recorded the most traditional of jazz projects—a tribute to composer George Gershwin, called Gershwin's World, in the centennial year of his birth. Entertainment Weekly commented that "Hancock's striking tribute runs deeper and wider than most, clearly revealing Gershwin's cross-stylistic imprint, from jazz to pop to classical … a feat Hancock is familiar with."

Hancock continued to make hip-hop-oriented albums, such as 1995's Dis Is Da Drum, which explored the kinship between hip-hop and traditional African music, and 1998's Return of the Headhunters.. Hancock made use of his classical training in a series of film scores that began with Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up (1967), and included the Stravinsky-influenced Death Wish score of 1974, music for Colors, A Soldier's Story, Action Jackson, Richard Pryor's Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, and Round Midnight, for which he won an Academy Award for best original score. The relentlessly eclectic Hancock also scored a number of television commercials.

Showed No Signs of Stopping

In the twenty-first century, as Hancock entered the fifth decade of his career, he pursued his creative interests with unabated energy and garnered ever more accolades. In 2001—in honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the births of John Coltrane and Miles Davis—he collaborated with trumpeter Roy Hargrove and saxophonist Michael Brecker on a live album, Directions in Music, recorded at Toronto's Massey Hall. Directions in Music was awarded a Grammy for best jazz instrumental album, and Hancock was recognized with a Grammy for best jazz instrumental solo for the track "My Ship." In 2004 Hancock was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship, the greatest honor bestowed upon jazz musicians in the United States. The following year he collaborated with an all-star lineup from across the musical spectrum, including Sting, Paul Simon, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, and Annie Lennox, as well as up-and-coming musicians such as Joss Stone and Damien Rice, on the album Possibilities. Hancock encouraged his colleagues to push beyond their "comfort zones" to discover something truly new in their stylistic diversity. The making of the album was filmed and released as a documentary titled Herbie Hancock: Possibilities in 2006.

In 2007 Hancock released the critically acclaimed River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to Joni Mitchell featuring a rotating cast of vocalists and longtime collaborator Shorter. Writing in the New York Times, Nate Chinen called the tribute "an intimate reinvention issuing from someplace deep inside the music." In the New Yorker Steve Futterman noted that "Nefertiti," Shorter's composition performed on the album, "acts as an homage to the artistic daring of three soul siblings: Joni, Wayne, and Herbie." In 2008 River was awarded the Grammy for album of the year.

The tireless Hancock continues to tour extensively around the world. He is the distinguished artist in residence at Jazz Aspen Snowmass in Colorado and the chairman of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz.

Selected discography

Takin' Off, Blue Note, 1962 (reissued 1987).

Herbie Hancock, Blue Note, 1964.

Mwandishi, Warner Bros., 1971.

Headhunters, Columbia, 1973.

Feets Don't Fail Me Now, Columbia, 1979.

Future Shock, Columbia, 1983.

Sound-System, Columbia, 1984.

The Best of Herbie Hancock, Columbia, 1988.

(With Chick Corea) Corea and Hancock, Polydor, 1988.

The Quintet: V.S.O.P.: Live, Columbia, 1988.

Dis Is Da Drum, Mercury, 1995.

The New Standard, Verve, 1996.

(With Wayne Shorter) 1+1, Verve, 1997.

Gershwin's World, Verve, 1998.

(With Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove) Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall (includes "My Ship"), Verve, 2002.

Speak Like a Child, Blue Note, 2005.

Possibilities, Vector/Hancock, 2005.

River: The Joni Letters, Universal, 2007.

Sources

Periodicals

American Visions, June-July 1998, p. 14.

Chicago Tribune, March 23, 2004.

Down Beat, June 1994, p. 16; July 1995, p. 45; April 1996, p. 22; December 1997, p. 20; September 1998, p. 42.

Entertainment Weekly, October 9, 1998, p. 84.

New Yorker, September 17, 2007.

New York Times, April 14, 2006; September 9, 2007.

People, January 19, 1987, p. 64.

Rolling Stone, October 25, 1984, p. 45.

Online

"Herbie Hancock," Jazz Profiles from NPR, NPR, http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles/archive/hancock.html (accessed April 15, 2008).

Mayer, Andre, "An Interview with Jazz Legend Herbie Hancock," cbc.ca, June 18, 2007, http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/hancock.html (accessed April 15, 2008).

Official Website of Herbie Hancock, http://www.herbiehancock.com/ (accessed April 15, 2008).

Other

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (documentary film), directed by Doug Biro and Jon Fine, Magnolia Pictures, 2006.

—James Manheim and Paula Kepos

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Hancock, Herbie 1940–

Herbie Hancock 1940

Jazz pianist, composer

Performed Mozart with Chicago Symphony

Joined Miles Davis Quintet

Composed Film Scores

Selected discography

Sources

Herbie Hancock is one of the few living musicians who has been able to command respect simultaneously in the high-art field of jazz and in the commercially-oriented world of popular music. Since coming to prominence with jazz trumpeter Miles Daviss path-breaking fusion ensemble of the 1960s, Hancock has in effect maintained two separate careers, winning acclaim as an acoustic jazz pianist in pure bebop and post-bop traditions on one hand while keeping up with, making creative use of, and sometimes even giving birth to trends in black popular music on the other. In the words of Down Beat writer Pat Cole, Hancock has been the quintessential border crosser.

An adherent of the chant-oriented Nichiren Shoshu sect of Buddhism, Hancock might also be said to have led a quintessentially creative life. He was born April 12, 1940 to Wayman and Winnie Hancock, and was recognized as a piano prodigy as a child. His musical career has been shaped and defined by the sheer fascination he feels when new sounds come his way; when a string on his piano broke during a 1986 New York concert, Hancock adapted by seamlessly weaving the twang of the damaged string into the thread of his improvisation. People magazine once described him with this memorable headline: Cat curious, with as many creative lives, he thrives Round Midnight, the last phrase referring both to Hancocks tendency to work through the night when excited by a project and to his award-winning score for the film biography of jazzman Dexter Gordon, Round Midnight.

Performed Mozart with Chicago Symphony

Born April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Herbert Jeffrey Hancock showed enthusiasm for the sound of a piano while still a toddler. His parents bought him a five-dollar, church-basement-salvaged piano when he was seven, and the quiet, determinedly investigative young man mastered the instrument rapidly. A mere four years later he performed the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra after winning a school contest. He continued studying classical music at Chicagos Hyde Park High School, but turned to jazz after becoming interested in the improvisational performances of a classmate named Don Goldberg. People laugh when they find out Herbie Hancock learned to play the blues from a nice Jewish

At a Glance

Born Herbert Jeffrey Hancock, April 12, 1940, in Chicago; son of Wayman Edward and Winnie (Griffin) Hancock; married Gudrun (Gigi) Meixner, 1968. Education: Attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, 195660; Roosevelt University, Chicago, 1960; Manhattan School of Music, 1962; and New School for Social Research, New York, 1967.

Career: Jazz pianist and composer. Joined Donald Byrd ensemble, 1960; released debut album Takin Off, 1962; joined Miles Davis Quintet, 1963; released breakthrough jazz fusion album Mwandishi, 1971; formed acoustic jazz band V.S.O.P., mid-1970s; released top-selling dance-jazz albums Headhunters, 1973, and Future Shock, 1983; extensive international concert and recording career; assumed artistic direction of Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute, Los Angeles, 1998.

Selected awards: First Place, Piano Category, Down Beat Critics Poll, 1968, 1969, 1970; Jazzman of the Year, Down Beat Critics Poll, 1974; Grammy award, Best Rhythm and Blues Instrumental Performance, 1983, 1984; Academy award, Best Original Score (Round Midnight), 1986; Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Composition, 1987.

Addresses: Record label Verve Records, 825 Eighth Ave., 20th floor, New York, NY 10019; Personal management Kushnick Pernick Management, 3 East 28th St., 6th floor, New York, NY, 10016.

boy, he told People.

Hancock enrolled at Iowas Grinnell College, beginning with a parentally-mandated engineering major, but eventually switching his major to music. He returned frequently to Chicago and began to search out performing opportunities there; in the winter of 1960 a blizzard provided the opportunity for him to sit in on piano with the band of trumpeter Donald Byrd during a Chicago club date. Byrd sensed the young pianists creativity and worked to open doors that made possible Hancocks 1962 debut LP, Takin Off. The album offered a foretaste of Hancocks split career to come: it featured high-minded bebop greats Dexter Gordon and Freddie Hubbard, but also included a composition titled Watermelon Man that became a Top Ten pop hit for Mongo Santamaria and was later re-recorded by many other artists.

Joined Miles Davis Quintet

It was also through Byrds influence that Hancock joined Miles Daviss seminal quintet of the 1960s, remaining with the group from 1962 to 1968. Davis introduced Hancock to the electric piano, and Hancocks talents flowered in the atmosphere of wide-ranging musical investigation that the quintet cultivated. Davis broke barriers between art and commercialism by incorporating rock and funk elements into jazz on such fusion albums as Filles de Kilimanjaro, even as his drummer Tony Williams schooled Hancock in the complex modern classical compositions of such composers as Igor Stravinsky and Edgar Varèse. Hancock gained wide recognition for both his keyboard work with Davis and his growing body of solo recordings.

Davis himself had scandalized many a jazz purist with his 1960s recordings, and Hancock soon went even further than Davis had. He took criticism for his 1971 LP Mwandishi, which featured a full-blown fusion sound, and especially for 1973s Headhunters, which incorporated synthesizers and spawned a million-selling protodisco dance hit, Chameleon. With 1983s Future Shock, Hancock (working with the innovative New York electronic ensemble Material) leapt to the forefront of the emerging hip-hop style; the album generated a massive hit called Rockit, which featured the rap-DJ technique of scratchingcreating percussive sounds with a needle on a turntable. Its successor, Sound-System, integrated world music into the mix, anticipating trends in 1990s dance music by many years; the album earned Hancock a Grammy award. Hancocks electronic albums likewise looked forward to the primacy of production and editing over instrumental performance that would characterize some dance music of the 1990s.

All this time, even as he worked on the cutting edge of popular music, Hancock continued to work within the jazz tradition. He formed an acoustic quintet called V.S.O.P. (Very Special One-Time Performance) and a quartet that featured Tony Williams and the young trumpet sensation Wynton Marsalis, toured with fellow fusion pioneer Chick Corea, and recorded with such pure jazz players as pianist Oscar Peterson. In 1998 Hancock recorded the most traditional of jazz projectsa tribute to composer George Gershwin in the centennial year of his birth. Entertainment Weekly commented that Hancocks striking tribute runs deeper and wider than most, clearly revealing Gershwins cross-stylistic imprint, from jazz to pop to classical a feat Hancock is familiar with.

Composed Film Scores

Hancock continued to make hip-hop-oriented albums, such as 1995s Dis Is Da Drum, which explored the kinship between hip-hop and traditional African music, and 1998s Return of the Headhunters. He made use of his classical training in a series of film scores that began with Michelangelo Antonionis Blow Up (1967), and included the Stravinsky-influenced Death Wish score of 1974, music for Colors, A Soldiers Story;, Action Jackson, Richard Pryors Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling, and Round Midnight. The relentlessly eclectic Hancock also scored a number of television commercials. By the mid-1990s Hancock had worked out record deals that would let him follow his creative impulses into whatever genre suited him at the momentthe giant Polygram places his R & B and pop projects with its Mercury label and his jazz albums with its prestigious Verve imprint. He recorded and toured in the late 1990s with saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

Looking toward a legacy for the future, Hancock assumed the artistic direction of a Los Angeles jazz education institution, the Thelonious Monk Institute, in 1997. He released a CD-ROM that interwove the history of jazz with a general history of America in the 20th century, and announced a more general ambition toward the creation of projects that combined education and entertainment. It seemed a logical goal for a musician who had already accomplished so much of both.

Selected discography

Takin Off, Blue Note, 1962 (reissued 1987).

Herbie Hancock, Blue Note, 1964.

Mwandishi, Warner Bros., 1971.

Headhunters, Columbia, 1973.

Feets Dont Fail Me Now, Columbia, 1979.

Future Shock, Columbia, 1983.

Sound-System, Columbia, 1984.

The Best of Herbie Hancock, Columbia, 1988.

Corea and Hancock (with Chick Corea), Polydor, 1988.

The Quintet: V.S.O.P.: Li ve, Columbia, 1988.

Dis Is Da Drum, Mercury, 1995.

The New Standard, Verve, 1996.

Gershwins World, Verve, 1998.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Musicians, volume 8, Gale, 1993.

Larkin, Colin, ed., The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Guinness, 1992.

Romanowski, Patricia, and Holly George-Warren, The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Fireside, 1995.

Stambler, Irwin, The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul, St. Martins, 1989.

Periodicals

American Visions, JuneJuly 1998, p. 14.

Down Beat, June 1994, p. 16; July 1995, p. 45; April 1996, p. 22; December 1997, p. 20; September 1998, p. 42.

Entertainment Weekly, October 9, 1998, p. 84.

People, January 19, 1987, p. 64.

Rolling Stone, October 25, 1984, p. 45.

James Manheim

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Hancock, Herbie

HERBIE HANCOCK


Born: Chicago, Illinois, 12 April 1940

Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Electronica

Best-selling album since 1990: Gershwin's World (1998)


Keyboardist Herbie Hancock has the past, present, and future much on his mind. Since 1990 he has reimagined the preWorld War II contexts of George Gershwin, revisited the 1960s jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, kept up with hip-hop rhythms, turntable disc jockeys, and the latest keyboard technology, and looked for new standards among popular songs of rock, pop, and soul genres.

Hancock has the experience to justify such a range of interests. A piano prodigy who performed a Mozart concerto movement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age eleven and had his own high school jazz band, Hancock studied electrical engineering at Grinnell College in Iowa before switching to composition. He left school in 1960, one course short of graduation, to accompany saxophonist Coleman Hawkins in a Chicago engagement. By 1962 he was in New York City with a contract from Blue Note Records, and with challenging work as a pianist for avant-garde reeds player Eric Dolphy.


Hancock is as accessible as he is advanced. He had his first hit song almost by accident with the gospel-inflected "Watermelon Man" (1963), covered by Afro-Cuban congero Mongo Santamaria. Besides leading his own albums, he was the highly regarded house pianist of the Blue Note label through 1968, recording with trumpeters Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, and Freddie Hubbard; saxophonists Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Sam Rivers, and Wayne Shorter; vibist Bobby Hutcherson; guitarist Grant Green; and drummers Billy Higgins and Elvin Jones. In 1963 Hancock joined Miles Davis's quintet. With bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, he developed a jazz rhythm section concept that was elastic in regard to time and dynamics.

At Davis's direction, Hancock became the first musician in jazz to adapt electric pianos to regular stage performance and was the keyboard anchor of the electric jazz revolution. In 1969 Hancock converted his acoustic octet into an electrically amplified and processed bandMwandishiin which he employed the most advanced electric synthesizers and keyboards as they evolved. Hancock had his first crossover fusion hit with "Chameleon" introduced by his band Headhunters (their debut self-titled recording was the first jazz album to sell platinum). Hancock was also the first fusion star to reassert his straight-ahead acoustic background with fellow refugees from Davis-inspired amplificationCarter, Williams, and Shorterin the quintet V.S.O.P., from 1976 to 1979.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Hancock kept a hand in two camps, as street-smart future funkster, recording the breakthrough hip-hop hit "Rockit," as well as acoustic trio albums, in large part for Japanese and European markets. He hosted two television series: Rock School, a music education program on Public Broadcasting Service, and cable network Showtime's Coast to Coast, featuring in-concert performances and interviews. He won an Academy Award for Round Midnight (1986), excelling at the soundtrack sideline he began with Michelangelo Antonioni's counterculture film Blow-Up (1966).

Hancock has won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Individual or Group for A Tribute to Miles (1994), and Best Traditional Jazz Album for Gershwin's World (1998). In that project, Hancock, with Shorter, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Kathleen Battle, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, interprets Gershwin's Roaring 1920s and depression-era milieu.

Hancock's works have been endlessly sampled and licensed. "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" from the British turntablists US3 became a Top 20 radio success on the basis of thirty-five signature seconds of Hancock's composition and recording of "Cantaloupe Island" (1964). Rather than be historified by younger musicians, Hancock rejoined the fray, producing Dis Is Da Drum (1994), a disappointing release that wore its electronic percussion and street credibility too heavily. He followed with a contrasting tack, The New Standard (1995), for which he convened an all-star band to perform repertoire associated with pop songs from the 1970s through the 1990s. This album was better receivedone track, "Manhattan (Island of Lights and Love)," won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Compositionand it gave rise to Hancock's Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall (2002), a collaboration with saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. True to form, between those albums Hancock released an austere program of spontaneous duets with Shorter, 1+1 (1997). After Directions in Music he and Bill Laswell produced another electro-jazz-pop-fusion effort, Future2Future (2001).

In a project co-sponsored by Berklee College of Music, he has been a Distinguished Artist in Residence at Jazz Aspen Snowmass (Colorado) since 1991, mentoring promising young jazz musicians selected from worldwide applicants. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute, and established his Rhythm of Life Foundation in 1996, aiming to "narrow the gap between those technologically empowered and those who are not; and to find ways to help technology improve humanity." Hancock is a full partner in Transparent Music, a multimedia company that produced his concert DVD, even while he records larger projects under contract with Universal Music/Verve. Whether interpreting the past or doing something new in the present, Hancock contributes to jazz's future.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Takin' Off (Blue Note, 1962); Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, 1965); Head-hunters (Columbia, 1973); V.S.O.P. (Columbia, 1977); Future Shock (Columbia, 1983); Mwandishi: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (Warner Bros., 1994); A Tribute to Miles (Qwest, 1994); Dis Is Da Drum (Mercury, 1994); 1+1 (Verve, 1997); Gershwin's World (1998); Future2Future (Transparent, 2001); The Herbie Hancock Box (Columbia, 2002). With Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove: Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall (Verve, 2002). With Miles Davis: E.S.P. (Columbia, 1965); Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Soundtracks: Blow-Up (MGM, 1966); Death Wish (One Way, 1974); Round Midnight (Columbia, 1986).

WEBSITE:

www.herbiehancock.com.

howard mandel

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