Congratulations to our musician of the day, Herbie Hancock, on his selection as a Kennedy Center honoree. It’s well-deserved.
He was born in Chicago and by age 11 played a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He picked up jazz in high school, influenced by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, and graduated from Grinnell College with a double major: music and electrical engineering. Discovered in 1960 by Donald Byrd, he did sessions with Phil Woods (whose rendition of “Riot” was the first time I’d heard any of Hancock’s music) and Oliver Nelson before spending five years with Miles Davis. He launched his solo career in 1963 with Takin’ Off, which included his hit “Watermelon Man.” Blood Sweat & Tears covered his tune, “Maiden Voyage” (from his 1965 album of the same name) on their 1972 album, New Blood.
There’s just so much that he’s done, and so many musicians he’s performed with. Check his website, herbiehancock.com, and you can see a list of them.
Our first selection is “Cantaloupe Island,” featuring Pat Metheny on guitar. It was originally recorded on his 1964 album Empyrean Isles.
The second tune is “Rockit,” from his 1983 album Future Shock. It received five MTV Music Awards in 1984.
Herbie Hancock, you Two for Tuesday, October 8, 2013.