may be available for your next special event!
Growing up in a musical household, Herbie Hancock studied piano from the
age of seven and gave his first public performance just two years later.
Although he played classical music at his debut,
Hancock's interest lay mostly in jazz.
During high school and college he played in
semi-professional bands and on occasion accompanied visiting jazzmen,
including Donald Byrd. It was with Byrd that Hancock first played in New
York, in 1961, recording with him and as leader of his own small group.
the tunes on this later album was "Watermelon Man," a Hancock
original that appealed to more than the usual jazz audience. A version
of the song, by Mongo Santamaría, reached the US Top 10.
During the early and mid-60s Hancock led bands for club
engagements and record dates but the move which really boosted his
career and international recognition was joining the quintet led by
Miles Davis, with whom he stayed for more than five years.
Towards the end of the stint with Davis, the band
began its move into jazz-rock.
Hancock felt comfortable in this style and in 1968 formed a sextet
to pursue his own concepts. With musicians such as Julian Priester,
Buster Williams and Eddie Henderson, and playing much original material
composed by Hancock, the band became one of the most popular and
influential of the jazz-rock movement in the early '70s.
From 1969 Hancock made extensive use of electronic
piano and other electronic keyboard instruments, including synthesizers.
In 1973 economic pressures compelled Hancock to cut
the band to a quartet, which featured Bennie Maupin, who had also been
in the bigger group. The new group's music was again fusion, but this
time leaned more towards jazz-funk.
Whether by good fortune or through astute observation
of the music scene, Herbie Hancock's first album with the
Hunters," was widely accepted in the burgeoning disco scene
and achieved substantial sales.
Throughout the rest of the '70s Hancock's music was
concentrated in this area with occasional returns to jazz for record
By the end of the decade, however, his popularity in
the disco market was such that he cut down still further on straight
jazz performances. Certain albums he made with
Chick Corea, and with
his own band, V.S.O.P (a re-creation of the Davis quintet except with
Freddie Hubbard in place of Miles), suggested that he retained an
interest, however peripheral, in jazz.
His numerous disco successes included "You Bet
Your Love," a UK Top 20 hit in 1979, and in collaboration with the
group Material he recorded "Future Shock." "Rockit,"
a track from this album reached the UK Top 10 in 1983 and made the top
spot in the USA.
In 1986 Herbie Hancock played and acted in the
film "'Round Midnight." He also wrote the score, for which he
won an Academy Award. Subsequently, he became more active in jazz,
touring with Carter Williams, Michael Brecker and others.
Although the career moves made by Hancock over the
years have tended to alienate the hardcore jazz fans who applauded his
earlier work with Davis, his popularity with the disco and related
audiences was not achieved at the expense of quality.
All of his successes in this area have been executed
to the highest musical and other professional standards the pop video
accompanying "Rockit" was an award winner. In his use of
synthesizers, voice-box and other state-of-the-art electronic devices,
Hancock has displayed far-reaching inventiveness, setting standards for
the pop industry.
Where his jazz work is concerned, he has displayed an
intelligent approach to his material. If the music is often cerebral, it
is rarely without heart; indeed, the V.S.O.P. band's recreations have
been notable for their integrity and a measure of passionate intensity
that at times matches that of the original.
Awards include --
- Best Jazz Album ("Gershwin's World")
-- Soul Train Music Awards, 1999
Hit songs include --
- Magic Number
- Go For It
- Ready Or Not
- Vibe Alive
- Stars In Your Eyes
- Doin' It
- Hard Rock
- Palm Grease
- Everybody's Broke
- Gettin' To The Good Part
- Tell Everybody
- Lite Me Up
- Making Love
- I Thought It Was You
Herbie Hancock may be available for your next special event!
.Electro. / xElectro
.Modal Music. / ModalMusic
.Hard Bop. / HardBop
.Post-Bop. / PostBop
.Fusion. / xFusion
.Jazz-Funk. / JazzFunk
.Piano Jazz. / PianoJazz
.Pianist. / xPianist
x60s, x70s, x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s
Born: ..in Illinois / born nIllinois
Born: ..in Chicago
/ born ChicagoIL
Born: Apr 12, 1940
Based: ..in US
Based: ..in California / based nCalifornia
Based: ..in Los Angeles /