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FutureStarrHerbie Hancock - From Blue Note to Global Notes
Herbie Hancock is one of the most revered jazz pianists ever, but also an early pioneer of synthesizer use in his music, evident on tracks such as Chameleon from Head Hunters and Rain Dance from Sextant (his first Columbia release). Herbie Hancock was fascinated with technology, which had an enormous effect on his work not only in record studio sessions but also across popular music genres. This film explores how Hancock used instruments and effects in his sound from the early 1970s until the late 1980s. Record One Head Hunters was Herbie Hancock's breakthrough album and set him on his path towards stardom. This groundbreaking effort combined jazz-rock and funk-fusion genres in order to connect more extreme fans with mainstream listeners. Hancock's work from this point forward displayed this fusion, from piano-oriented albums like Watermelon Man to experimental electric jazz-funk recordings like Sextant. Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet gave Hancock access to new musical possibilities that expanded his horizons even further. Hancock is best known for his use of electronic instruments during this era, including an Oberheim 8-Voice synthesizer and ARP String Ensemble to the Moog PolyMoog synthesizers and PolyMoogs. His passion for technology can still be seen today on albums like Future2Future which feature drum machines and turntablism as well as sampling, Pro Tools and bassist Bill Laswell from Material. Hancock's music reflects his classical roots as an early child prodigy who studied piano by 12; later, Miles Davis opened him up to new forms of jazz and funk, leading him down an eclectic path which has resulted in music that speaks both past and present. Record Two Herbie Hancock has distinguished himself throughout his long and prolific career by pushing boundaries. His innovative sound fuses Jazz funk, synthesizers, and electronic instruments into one powerful mix; making him one of the most revered musicians ever. Hancock has worked with some of the greatest jazz icons, such as Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter, and has made major contributions to its development. Hancock is best-known as a jazz keyboardist, pianist, and composer; though he also collaborates with numerous artists. Herbie Hancock formed The Headhunters during the mid-late 70's. Comprised of Paul Jackson on bass, Bennie Maupin on saxophones, Harvey Mason on drums, "Wah Wah" Watson on guitar and Bill Summers on percussion instruments - this group had a profound effect on Hancock's musical development and laid the foundation for River: The Joni Letters released in 2007. Sextant showcases a more experimental side to Hancock's music, drawing upon influences such as Miles Davis' landmark Bitches Brew album for inspiration. Hancock utilizes various electronic effects on this record - Fender Fuzz Wah, Countryman Phase Shifter and Echoplex are among them - to transform traditional instruments into ghostly sounds that sound uncannily alien. Record Three Record Three from Herbie Hancock's Jazz Odyssey is a slow-burner that features Bennie Maupin on soprano sax, Fender Rhodes electric piano and heavily-effected synth parts. Its gentle melody provides a good counterpoint to more lively moods later added in the piece. Herbie Hancock's music often featured experimental elements that combined electronic elements with his jazz and fusion compositions, providing us with a glimpse of his unique brand of blending elements from jazz, funk and electronica to create something fresh and innovative throughout his career. Here is one such instance. At this show, some of the world's most accomplished and innovative musicians performed, including Terence Blanchard, James Genus and Lionel Loueke who all displayed incredible virtuosity as individual virtuosi with tremendous generosity of spirit, joy in playing and an exuberance for this evening of performances. Hancock had the ability to seamlessly blend different musical genres and elements in his improvisations, mixing jazz with elements of funk, electronica and even classical music - an aspect essential to his success as pianist, keyboardist and composer; his albums rank amongst some of the most iconic ones ever released in jazz and fusion history. Record Four Herbie Hancock has become one of the most beloved figures in Jazz history, thanks to his extraordinary blend of improvisation, funk, and jazz that transcends any traditional definitions. Herbie was also an early innovator of electronic music, using synthesizers and digital recording technology in groundbreaking recordings that continue to influence modern musicians today. His use of an ARP Odyssey, Fairlight CMI, Rhodes Chroma, Moog III and Sennheiser Vocoder helped pioneer an entirely new genre that combined jazz with electro-funk and instrumental hip-hop. Hancock's unique brand of stop-start music, marked by small solo pieces interrupted by electronic bubblings and spurglings, offered something completely new from what had previously been expected from him as an artist. It almost borders on ambient sounds with little solo pieces set off by electronic bubblings and spurgles. Bill Laswell was instrumental in helping Hancock integrate electronic elements into jazz. On Future Shock he used young turntablists, programmers and drummers to produce its unique sound. Record Five Record Five in Herbie Hancock's Jazz Odyssey features some of his signature compositions, such as "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelons Man", and "Maiden Voyage". Improvisations on this record reflect Herbie's Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist beliefs; its music can best be described as spiritual-indigenous-electronic. Herbie was one of the pioneers of synthesizer usage, popularizing them among his audience. He used both an Oberheim 8-Voice synthesizer as well as a special Odyssey built by ARP just for him; both instruments can be heard on many of his early albums. Hancock first experimented with synthesizers through Head Hunters; however, his breakthrough crossover hit "Chameleon" from 1974 quickly established him as one of the pioneers of electronic music. This groundbreaking crossover hit fused R&B, jazz and funk styles into an influential sound which inspired generations of musicians. Hancock recorded various non-jazz instrumentals during the 1980s, such as an instrumental track featuring Sylvester McCann on vocals titled "Magic Number." In 2001 he collaborated with bassist/producer Bill Laswell on Future2Future which features turntablist Rob Swift from X-Ecutioners; many viewed it as an important milestone in Hancock's career; it even received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Record Six Herbie Hancock's musical career has taken an exciting path, one that includes influential jazz explorers such as Donald Byrd, Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis. As a child prodigy who started as a piano purist himself, Hancock credits these mentors for opening up his mind to all that jazz music has to offer and beyond. Hancock attended Roosevelt University to study composition under Vittorio Giannini. Later he joined Miles Davis' Quintet as one of its rhythm section members and helped define its role while contributing to developing post-bop sound. Hancock collaborated with several notable jazz musicians during this time, such as clarinetist Chris Anderson and trumpeter Eric Dolphy. All albums recorded with these ensembles were outstanding - his most critically-acclaimed work being Crossings alongside Wayne Shorter. Hancock explored the capabilities of polyphonic synthesizers such as Prophet models and Yamaha CS-80, along with newly released digital drum machines like Linn LM-1. His sound technician Bryan Bell created unique systems for managing and storing these electronic instruments so they could be utilized across a wide variety of musical situations. Record Seven Herbie Hancock is widely considered one of the greatest jazz musicians ever. Often credited with pioneering synthesizers and electronic music in 20th-century culture, his influence can still be felt today. Hancock was born in Chicago in 1940 and initially focused on classical music before transitioning into jazz as an adult. At age 11, he started performing Mozart and joined Miles Davis's band at 17! Takin' Off was released as his debut album in 1962 and remained with Miles Davis for five years, playing diverse styles and shaping his music in significant ways. He was also involved with film scoring, including Blow Up and Michelangelo Antonioni's The Prisoner. Over time his career flourished into becoming known as an electric piano player and composer. Hancock experimented with various styles of music during this period, such as disco, R&B and funk. His albums Mr Hands and Magic Windows provided examples of this, while 1980's Thrust introduced more LA-influenced Latin and disco influences into Hancock's sound. Hancock would go on to release other albums before moving away from funk altogether and into pop, rock, R&B and R&B music. Later collaborating with Bill Laswell he would release Future Shock trilogy albums which became huge hits among electronic dance music enthusiasts during the late 80s.