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Herbie Hancock: An Essential Top Ten Albums

The title of Herbie Hancock’s 1973 hit single “Chameleon,” pulled from his jazz-funk monster Head Hunters (Columbia), was an apt one. Hancock had already undergone several transformations: from the blues-and-gospel-infused vibe of his Blue Note debut, Takin’ Off (1962), to more experimentally inclined Blue Note albums in the mid-to-late 1960s, and on to his early 1970s sextet Mwandishi, once dubbed “the thinking fan’s fusion band.” Along the way, as a member of Miles Davis‘ so-called “second great quintet” from 1965 to 1968 and of his turn of the decade electric bands, Hancock had also essayed some of the ugly chromaticism which Davis adopted as part of his increasingly desperate, lifelong campaign to be perceived as the most cutting-edge musician on the planet… [ read more ]

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