Herbie Hancock

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I wanted to talk about Herbie Hancock and couldn't find a thread devoted to him, so here we go.

I've just been listening to Sound-System, which I think is great fun, except the booming "Rockit" drum sound which repeats throughout the album and gets a bit tiresome after a while. I love love love his experimental albums of the Mwandishi band, but I have a deep liking for all of his pop and fusion stuff too. I guess the argument you often hear is that he's a follower instead of trailblazer (unlike Miles, the most obvious comparison), but I don't think he needs to be. His hard bop is not quite as groovy as that of some other acts, his jazz funk not quite as funky, his free stuff not as free, nor his pop jazz quite as smooth, but I think he embodies this sort of likable need to try absolutely everything. Maybe he hasn't made as many perfect albums as Miles did, but he always comes across as fun.

One album of his which I think embodies all this is Mr. Hands. It has these horribly cheesy early-eighties synth sounds and smooth production (Herbie plays, among other stuff, synthesized steel drums and guitar), but there's also a bunch of lovely melodies, some hidden funk and a killer jazz stomp played by the original Headhunters. So, in here (as on other records) I think the charm is exactly in Herbie's imperfectness, his willingness to get his hands on everything without considering how awful the results may be.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Friday, 5 January 2007 15:20 (sixteen years ago) link

I love Herbie from beginning to end, or at least to 80s. I love the way he accompanies Miles, I love his early Blue Note stuff, I love Speak Like a Child, I love the Headhunters albums, and I love his synth cheese.

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Friday, 5 January 2007 15:40 (sixteen years ago) link

There's at least a loveable track or two on each of those maligned '70s/early '80s albums. I'd even defend parts of Lite Me Up. At some point between 1979 and 1983, Patrice Rushen should've made a whole album with Rod Temperton.

some hidden funk and a killer jazz stomp

Harvey Mason on Shiftless Shuffle makes eyes pop out.

Andy_K (Andy_K), Friday, 5 January 2007 15:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Indeed! As far seventies/eighties session players go, few can beat him.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Friday, 5 January 2007 16:41 (sixteen years ago) link

He was never the same without Sid James.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 5 January 2007 16:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I love that story of his "audition" for Miles.

The Redd And The Blecch (Ken L), Friday, 5 January 2007 16:46 (sixteen years ago) link

"Does Benny Carter mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?"

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 5 January 2007 16:55 (sixteen years ago) link

I went through a Herbie phase several years ago when I absolutely went crazy for Headhunters, Maiden Voyage and Thrust. But I only got around to hearing Mwandishi in 2006 and I love it!

Also, of course search EVERYTHING he did w/ Miles.

I love that story of his "audition" for Miles.

What's that story, I forget?

mcd (mcd), Friday, 5 January 2007 17:01 (sixteen years ago) link

The way I remember it, Miles called him up and told him to come over to his house at such and such a time. Herbie shows up at Miles's, Miles shows him in, opens a door and says "down there," Herbie goes down to basement and the guys are all there playing. Herbie plays with them for a while, but there is no sign of Miles. Finally when they are leaving, they pass Miles again and he tells Herbie to show up at such and such a record studio in a few days. Herbie thinks "he must have been listening on the intercom" and stands there for a bit and says "so wait, am I in the band?" and Miles says "Well, you got the record date, didn't you?"

The Redd And The Blecch (Ken L), Friday, 5 January 2007 17:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Here's one version of the story from Herbie, although not the one I read originally.

The Redd And The Blecch (Ken L), Friday, 5 January 2007 17:08 (sixteen years ago) link

When I first saw mention of the story, I thought of the one about Bill Evans...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 5 January 2007 19:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always had a passing interest in his stuff, but I wasn't really sold on him as a personality/performer until I saw his unbelievably moving improvised "tribute" to Miles on that recent Isle of Wight set DVD. What a sweet dude.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 5 January 2007 20:02 (sixteen years ago) link

The 1+1 record with Wayne Shorter from a couple years ago is perfectly fine.

Candy: tastes like chicken, if chicken was a candy. (Austin, Still), Friday, 5 January 2007 20:05 (sixteen years ago) link

Do tell, Matthew.

The Redd And The Blecch (Ken L), Friday, 5 January 2007 20:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Thrust really does it for me.

chaki (chaki), Friday, 5 January 2007 20:14 (sixteen years ago) link

From The Autobiography:

When Bill Evans—we sometimes called him Moe—first got with the band, he was so quiet, man. One day, just to see what he could do, I told him, "Bill, you know what you have to do, don't you, to be in this band?"

He looked at me all puzzled and shit and shook his head and said, "No, Miles, what do I have to do?"

I said, "Bill, now you know we all brothers and shit and every­body's in this thing together and so what I came up with for you is that you got to make it with everybody, you know what I mean? You got to fuck the band." Now, I was kidding, but Bill was real serious, like Trane.

He thought about it for about fifteen minutes and then came back and told me, "Miles, I thought about what you said and I just can't do it, I just can't do that. I'd like to please everyone and make every­one happy here, but I just can't do that."

I looked at him and smiled and said, "My man!" And then he knew I was teasing.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 5 January 2007 20:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Has there been a house song yet that interpolates the "Chameleon" bassline? I totally had "Chameleon" + house beats stuck in my head for like 3 days straight a few weeks ago.

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Friday, 5 January 2007 20:32 (sixteen years ago) link

goddman this new search function...

there was a great thread on the Summer sounding Disco/R&B/Jazz corssover stuff that began with that incredible INCREDIBLE hancock album.

PappaWheelie MMCMXL (PappaWheelie 2), Friday, 5 January 2007 22:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Jazz Douchebags: recommend some summer albums.

Andy_K (Andy_K), Friday, 5 January 2007 22:09 (sixteen years ago) link

The second one is it...Thanks

PappaWheelie MMCMXL (PappaWheelie 2), Friday, 5 January 2007 22:12 (sixteen years ago) link

So yeah, check out Sunlight. Perfect shit.

PappaWheelie MMCMXL (PappaWheelie 2), Friday, 5 January 2007 22:13 (sixteen years ago) link

I guess everyone has already seen this clip of a live performance of "Chameleon", but if you haven't, check it out, it's the shit!

Tuomas (Tuomas), Saturday, 6 January 2007 09:05 (sixteen years ago) link

i interviewed him once! he is indeed a sweet dude...

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 6 January 2007 17:11 (sixteen years ago) link

A jazz piano student friend of mine was hanging out with Herbie once and apparently they had this conversation:

Mike: How much do you practice a day?
Herbie: Maybe 3 or 4 hours
Mike: Really, that's all?
Herbie: I had this piano student once, and the kid used to practice like 10 hours a day, but he STUNK!
Mike: Even practicing 10 hours a day huh?
Herbie: No, I mean he STUNK! The kid never took showers!

A-ron Hubbard (Hurting), Saturday, 6 January 2007 17:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I saw Herbie play in Edinburgh in 2005.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Pfunkboy (Kerr), Saturday, 6 January 2007 17:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Where is the love for Manchild? I need to get me some more Herbie.

sleeve version 2.0 (sleeve testing), Saturday, 6 January 2007 18:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I've been on a heavy herbie kick lately--acoustic, electric, fusion, pop, whatever. I don't think I've found anything yet that I haven't liked. He's definitely a guy who was able to straddle the line between adventurous experimental stuff and total pop pleasure--just check out that Mwandishi double disc. It's got funky tracks like "Fat Mama" and then those epic space jams. It's all good. There's still a lot I haven't heard though. For instance: are those VSOP records any good? Are there any essential Herbie-less Headhunters records? Are there any cool live bootlegs of the "Sextant"-era band? Eh?

Tyler W (tylerw), Sunday, 7 January 2007 19:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Are there any essential Herbie-less Headhunters records?

Survival of the Fittest (Arista, 1975). Essential as oxygen.

Dave Segal (Da ve Segal), Monday, 8 January 2007 01:34 (sixteen years ago) link

I've heard things about a collaboration between HH and drum and bass producer Paradox, which sounds incredibly bizarre and exciting.

Andrew (enneff), Monday, 8 January 2007 02:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Christ, Perfect Machine is the shit! Definitely the best LP in his "electro trilogy" (with Future Shock and Sound-System). I think many of Herbie's disco and electro-funk tunes suffer from the fact that they're kinda too lavish and ornamental; even Sound-System takes it maximalist "add everything" attitude a bit too far. But on Perfect Machine the groove is stripped-down, tight and almost purely electronic, yet undeniably funky (much thanks to Bootsy and the singer from Ohio Players). Yet it doesn't sound like techno or house (except on the two bonus remixes, which are great as themselves - especially the sampladelic mic of "Vibe Alive"), more like a link between original electro and the more experimental stuff of the nineties. I wonder what would've happened if this would've been a more succesful record, and Herbie and Laswell would've continued from here?

Tuomas (Tuomas), Friday, 19 January 2007 14:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Lite Me Up is also surprisingly good, though it's way more pop/disco than the subsequent 80's albums. There's some airy and catchy grooves there, the biggest downpoint being that non-vocoderized Herbie isn't a particularly good singer. Thanfully most of the vocals are handled by others. The last track is a vocoder ballad where Herbie duets with some female singer, and it ends with a killer electric piano solo that reminds me of the Mwandishi era Herbie.

I wonder if Magic Windows is worth checking out, it seems to be in the same mold as this one.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 23 January 2007 14:42 (sixteen years ago) link

"some female singer" = Patrice Rushen

Andy_K (Andy_K), Tuesday, 23 January 2007 15:06 (sixteen years ago) link

Doesn't the "Metal Beat" 12" from Sound System use Yes samples?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Tuesday, 23 January 2007 15:14 (sixteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...

I finally got Mwandishi, and I'm enjoying it a lot. The first track has a killer complex groove, whereas the second two are more slow and floaty, ambient even, kinda reminiscent of the Eddie Henderson albums where the Mwandishi band played. I realized that the reason I don't like Henderson albums as much as the Herbie ones, even though the players are mostly the same, is that Julian Priester is missing on the Henderson albums. His trombones gave the Mwandishi band the sonic deep end without which it doesn't sound quite as good.

Tuomas, Saturday, 29 December 2007 11:22 (fifteen years ago) link

Not into any pre-"Head Hunters" stuff, but I have been digging into some of his later 70s albums and there is some great underrated stuff there. "Thrust", "Man-Child", "Secrets", "Sunlight", "Direct Step". And, yes, "Mr. Hands" too. And the stuff from "Rock It" until "Perfect Machine" is of course ace, and his best ever. He has seemed to lose it afterwards though.

Btw. does anyone know if "Mr. Hands" (the title) was influenced by "Weather Report's "Mr. Gone" from a couple years before?

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 29 December 2007 17:49 (fifteen years ago) link

man...i really hated herbies last few albums....but i do love his 60s and 70s work. used to have manchild on a cassette and listen all the time. his solo on chameleon is so good

bstep, Saturday, 29 December 2007 22:33 (fifteen years ago) link

The newest one is pretty good I think.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 30 December 2007 07:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Has anyone heard the hip-hop album he made in 1993, Dis Is Da Drum? Some friend of mine had it back in the 90s, and I remember liking it, but I haven't heard it since.

Tuomas, Sunday, 30 December 2007 23:17 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm sitting at home with a flu, and I just put on Lite Me Up, and today it's sounding really good to me. So well-mannered and smooth and nice. I guess some people would say it's lacking an edge, but why should all music sound edgy? I've been listening to a lot of early 80s R&B/urban contemporary exactly because it's often decidedly non-edgy and non-raw, and I think that's a perfectly valid and often interesting approach to R&B. As Lite Me Up proves.

Tuomas, Friday, 4 January 2008 11:32 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Nice live version of Chameleon over at Destination Out.


The guy who just votes in polls, Tuesday, 29 January 2008 16:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Well then.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 11 February 2008 04:52 (fifteen years ago) link

Let's talk about Lord Xenu, Ned.

Mordy, Monday, 11 February 2008 05:10 (fifteen years ago) link

A vision!

(I am rather glad I was wrong about him being a Scientologist, that had depressed me.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 11 February 2008 05:11 (fifteen years ago) link

He was/is a Buddhist, I think. But unlike many of his jazz contemporaries, I don't see that big a sprititual or religious influence in his music, he's always seemed rather down-to-earth.

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2008 07:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh, I just read he won the Best Album Grammy this year. Congrats for him! Has anyone actually heard the new album, is it good? It seems to have gotten quite good reviews, but since I have little interest in Joni Mitchell, I hadn't really thought of buying it.

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2008 09:14 (fifteen years ago) link

The River is close to great. It deserves a million grammys. or not, i don't know what makes an album the best album of the year ... but it is good -- even if you're not super into Joni, there's some great playing from Hancock and Wayne Shorter ... And the guest appearances are actually pretty solid -- Tina Turner brings it! It's certainly better than a lot of the latter day Hancock I've heard.

tylerw, Monday, 11 February 2008 20:56 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...

We really need to do a thread on his post-Headhunters, pre-Laswell electronici funk records with the vocoders and shit. It's like a whole world exists there.

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 15 March 2008 05:04 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Out of those albums, I think only Sunlight and Mr. Hands are really essential. (And even with Mr. Hands you have to be able to like its rather, er, soft 80s sound in order to appreciate it.) The rest of them usually have one or two great tracks, but the rest is not spectacular. I think Herbie was trying a bit too hard to appeal to the popular taste of that era, so the sound and the arrangements on those albums are often kinda too polished and neat.

Tuomas, Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:09 (fourteen years ago) link

four months pass...

the death wish soundtrack is pretty amazing, isn't it?

Touch! Generations (stevie), Wednesday, 3 March 2010 14:23 (thirteen years ago) link


god i love Mr. Hands

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 8 January 2016 16:47 (seven years ago) link

one of the coolest album covers ever btw

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 8 January 2016 16:48 (seven years ago) link

two months pass...

So this is what's next for Herbie


I've been playing with him every day -- which is very weird, that I play keyboard next to Herbie every day, a very weird thing. I try to be cool, since I'm "the producer" and everything, but then he throws these things at you harmonically, and you have to catch 'em! He is 75, and his ideas -- they're like he's 12 years old. They keep coming every second of the day.

I work with him five days a week. We usually start about 12 or 1 p.m. and I'm done about 5. That's a five-hour session. When I work with a rapper, I can do 15, 20 hours and not be tired. When I leave Herbie's, I'm exhausted. My brain is exhausted -- he stretches my brain so much that I have to leave his house, take a three-hour nap, and then go to work with YG.

...The album I'm doing with him, it's not what you think: Kendrick is on the album, Snoop is on the album. It's not like it's just Herbie Hancock over a hip-hop beat. It's like, I'm really digging into his world, and he's digging into the hip-hop, and we're just trying to figure out a thing. In the process of us trying to figure it out, something is happening magically through the music. Something that I've never heard and he's never heard. Kendrick came over the other day and he was like, "Yo, I hear so many ideas." We're just going in all different directions.

curmudgeon, Friday, 1 April 2016 19:53 (seven years ago) link

That sounds great!

niels, Saturday, 2 April 2016 06:26 (seven years ago) link


curmudgeon, Monday, 4 April 2016 02:20 (seven years ago) link

four years pass...


this Herbie inspired album by Lionel Loueke is nice

calzino, Tuesday, 3 November 2020 15:42 (three years ago) link

The Terrace Martin produced album he was working on never came out

X-Prince Protégé (sonnyboy), Tuesday, 3 November 2020 17:56 (three years ago) link

nine months pass...

Inventions and Dimensions is such a neat record.

― #fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Saturday, September 14, 2013 9:18 PM (seven years ago) bookmarkflaglink

I just heard this for the first time yesterday and it is extremely neat. Unlike anything else he's done--latin percussion, piano, bass, no horns. One of the best Blue Note LP covers too

J. Sam, Wednesday, 4 August 2021 13:57 (two years ago) link

Somehow that's the one I always forget about too, even though I said it was neat. I've never really spent enough time with it.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 4 August 2021 16:11 (two years ago) link

eight months pass...

happy birthday herbie!

Happy birthday to Herbie Hancock, born on this day in 1940 in Chicago. Here he is demonstrating his Fairlight keyboard and computer recording setup to Quincy Jones in 1984. pic.twitter.com/NoR5R5bdqE

— dusttoodigital (@dusttoodigital) April 12, 2022

mark s, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 16:06 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Listening on Youtube to a bunch of Herbie this weekend, algorithm brought up a PBS video of him doing a version of "Maiden Voyage" at Madelyn Albright's funeral. Lovely take. It made me curious if there was a connection of either Secretary Albright being a jazz fan or a personal connection.

earlnash, Sunday, 17 July 2022 23:04 (one year ago) link


Albright was active with the Institute for over 25 years, beginning with her tenure as United States Secretary of State, when she was instrumental in bringing Institute artists to serve a key role at the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, and hosted receptions for the Institute’s annual Competition in Washington, D.C. She subsequently became a close friend and generous supporter of the Institute.

Albright believed fervently in the power of the arts, most especially jazz, to forge bonds that transcend political, national, linguistic, religious or ethnic barriers, and to bolster the foundations of democracy. This conviction led her to share her talents frequently with the Institute, from serving as a mentor and advisor on cultural diplomacy, to lending her talents on the drums for Institute events from time to time. She was instrumental in helping the Institute expand its global impact through initiatives including U.S. State Department Tours and International Jazz Day.

Madame Secretary, you will be greatly missed.


earlnash, Tuesday, 19 July 2022 00:44 (one year ago) link


the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Tuesday, 19 July 2022 01:38 (one year ago) link

please no using RIP on yhe Herbie Hancock thread in any context

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 19 July 2022 02:08 (one year ago) link

Yes, got scared too.

L.H.O.O.Q. Jones (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 19 July 2022 02:14 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

when she was instrumental in bringing Institute artists to serve a key role at the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile

Some sly wordplay by Herbie there in describing Madge …

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 4 August 2022 18:35 (one year ago) link

Been listening to FLOOD nonstop - man so much killer shit on here.

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 4 August 2022 19:08 (one year ago) link


budo jeru, Thursday, 4 August 2022 20:34 (one year ago) link

Wow that's one of those songs I've heard a million times but never out of context, always after Watermelon Man. What a complete jam it is.

Takes so little to decontextualize a tune and make it sound fresh. Thanks!

corrs unplugged, Friday, 5 August 2022 07:10 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

i've been really into dis is da drum and future 2 future lately, i am speaking out of my depth here but i feel like jazzy dnb can't get much better than the second half of future 2 future? dis is da drum is prob thought of as the corniest possible engagement with hip-hop and dance music by a jazz dude but it actually rules and is smooth and gorgeous

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Wednesday, 5 October 2022 16:17 (one year ago) link

only discourse about either record in this thread is by tuomas which makes some kind of sense

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Wednesday, 5 October 2022 16:17 (one year ago) link

the 2cd edition of F2F has an excellent joe claussell suite of the essence track.
listed as seperate remixes, but i seem to recall that it all flows as one long track.


mark e, Wednesday, 5 October 2022 16:48 (one year ago) link

Goddammit, now I have to pull that down.

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 5 October 2022 19:08 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

I heard it's quite the cocktail when you mix it up with Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter's. Those three have amazing chemistry.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 16 November 2022 06:21 (one year ago) link

beet! wise! ya gat ta realise
that i don't apologise
for ma lifestyle

massaman gai (front tea for two), Wednesday, 16 November 2022 07:22 (one year ago) link

No Mwandishi = incomplete story

doug watson, Wednesday, 16 November 2022 18:50 (one year ago) link

The Song remains the same

| (Latham Green), Thursday, 17 November 2022 16:17 (one year ago) link

There's already a Mwandishi book, I think!

Paul Ponzi, Thursday, 17 November 2022 18:49 (one year ago) link

speaking of, not sure if this has been posted before or talked about here. a bootleg i return to again and again. mwandishi band in detroit, 10.8.72


budo jeru, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:02 (one year ago) link

the vinyl me please people belong in the shady scams thread imo

budo jeru, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:10 (one year ago) link

agree. with a little patience, $349 should be plenty for clean original copies of the first six (last two never released on vinyl iirc)

granted, > 80% of that $349 is going to go into the first two of those six

the late great, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:22 (one year ago) link

There's already a Mwandishi book, I think!

There is; You'll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band, by Bob Gluck. It's supposed to be excellent.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:45 (one year ago) link

what a bizarre hodgepodge of albums/eras in that VMP set

sleeve, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:48 (one year ago) link


the late great, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:51 (one year ago) link

Aren’t some of those available in pretty nice recent blue note editions? Tone poet or the classic series?

omar little, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:52 (one year ago) link

Paying for the unboxing experience

omar little, Thursday, 17 November 2022 19:53 (one year ago) link

i mean i guess if you want a brand new mint copy for playing (on a rega with bamboo needle connected to headphone tube amp connected to beyerdynamic headphones etc etc) with absolute minimum surface noise this makes sense

on a broader level that mindset doesn't make any sense to me at all, but to each their own

the late great, Thursday, 17 November 2022 20:01 (one year ago) link

That Gluck book contains lots of insights from the Mwandishi band members into the formation and dissolution of the group. Keeping the band on the road improved the music but was economically disastrous.

I've been listening to Bennie Maupin's second solo album, Slow Traffic to the Right from 1977. It's much closer to fusion than his debut on ECM, but still tasteful, without pandering to an audience who probably weren't going to buy anyway. He does slightly more funky versions of the two pieces he contributed to Hancock's Crossings.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 18 November 2022 01:01 (one year ago) link

"Nice box overall, a variety of authenticity issues with the reproduction jackets but overall an excellent set. Very happy with the pressings, *except* for Side A of the Piano, which on my copy has visible and audible pressing defects causing loud distortion making Side A unlistenable. Have contacted VMP for a hopeful replacement disc."

uh oh!


I wonder what they would charge to just download it all as FLAC

| (Latham Green), Friday, 18 November 2022 13:29 (one year ago) link

haha hopeless

I very much doubt a repress will ever surpass an original sonically, also originals obv a better investment

corrs unplugged, Friday, 18 November 2022 14:36 (one year ago) link

nine months pass...

I've never heard this soundtrack before today. It sort of bridges the gap between the Mwandishi stuff and the Headhunters stuff, mixed with his other soundtrack work to my ears

bbq, Sunday, 3 September 2023 19:33 (two months ago) link

That movie’s at the top of my to-watch list rn

fair but so uncool beliefs here (Eric H.), Sunday, 3 September 2023 21:33 (two months ago) link

I saw that movie about 3 months ago and I loved it. Truly radical stuff. It's the kind of movie you read about and think "great premise but surely it doesn't do it justice," but for once IT DOES DO IT JUSTICE!

OneSecondBefore, Tuesday, 5 September 2023 04:19 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

Watching Hancock's episode of Elvis Costello's Spectacle after watching Smokey Robinson's, and it's wonderful to hear how both men had someone that was kind of looking out for them.

Robinson has two great stories about that: 1) First, Berry Gordy approached him after witnessing the Miracles' failed audition because he noticed they were playing unfamiliar songs (everyone else auditioned with well-known hits). Turns out Robinson wrote them - Gordy wanted to hear what else he had, and after critiquing his songs, he offered to mentor Robinson and show him how to write, which he did. 2) A disastrous rehearsal at the Apollo was saved by headliner Ray Charles because the Miracles didn't bring any arrangements, much to the venue's displeasure, and when Charles heard them getting chewed out, he stepped in and learned AND arranged their songs right on the spot.

With Hancock, he talks a bit about Donald Byrd, who hired him and later told him "you're ready to make your own album" and got him a deal with Blue Note while guiding him on what that would be like. Then one day he tells a skeptical Hancock that Miles Davis is looking for him and says "if Miles asks, tell him you're NOT working with anybody." Hancock doesn't think it'll happen, but he adds he can't imagine leaving Byrd because he's already done so much for him - he basically owes everything he has to Byrd. Byrd's response - "I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I knew I stood in the way of a great opportunity to your career." (Personal note, it may not be show business, but I've had friends who were screwed over by vindictive employers when they tried to pursue other opportunities - not out of greed but simply to work a salary that'll actually pull them out of debt instead of sinking further into it - so Byrd's explanation is all the more touching for that reason.) 30 minutes later, Miles himself does indeed call and ask "are you working with anyone now?" and Hancock says "No." Hancock then calls his friend Tony Williams (Hancock is 23, Williams is 17), and Williams says he got the call too. They're both elated and it's great how Hancock gets that across - you really get what it must've felt like for them when they were still so young and relative unknowns albeit gainfully employed.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 15 November 2023 06:10 (one week ago) link

I interviewed him a few years back and he spoke about this, and a bunch of other stuff too. He's a fantastic interviewee - hard to believe he's in his 80s now.


Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 09:14 (one week ago) link

Thanks for the link Stevie! And yes, absolutely - I saw him a few years ago and kept thinking "he's the same age as some people I know back home and the difference in physical health and appearance couldn't be more different."

birdistheword, Wednesday, 15 November 2023 19:47 (one week ago) link

I genuinely think it's the Buddhism!

Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 19:49 (one week ago) link

Apparently that all started with Buster Williams. They asked him how he managed to keep his energy up so high after long shows, touring etc. and that’s what he told them.

Shifty Henry’s Swing Club (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 15 November 2023 22:56 (one week ago) link

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