Herbie Hancock (1940– )

Born:

12th April 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Some great pieces.
  • Cantaloupe Island.
  • Watermelon Man. (See below for a video.)
  • Maiden Voyage.
  • Chameleon. (See below for a video.)
  • I Thought It Was You.
  • Rockit.
Some great albums:
  • Takin’ Off (1962).
  • Maiden Voyage (1964).
  • Empyrean Isles (1964).
  • Mwandishi (1970).
  • Headhunters (1973).
  • Quartet (1982).
  • Gershwin’s World (1998).
  • River: The Joni Letters (2007).
  • Plus many more!
Some interesting facts:
  • He is one of the greatest jazz artists alive today!
  • He plays the piano and electronic keyboards.
  • Unlike many jazz artists, he is a true composer. He writes much of his own music.
  • His first album, ‘Takin’ Off’ was such a success that Miles Davis got in touch and asked him to join his new band. The band was the very famous ‘Second Great Quartet’ from 1964–1968.
  • He formed his own bands after leaving the ‘Second Great Quintet’.
  • He was one of the main people to create a style of jazz known as ‘post-bop’. He is also one of the first people to introduce electronic music into jazz. (See the video of ‘Chameleon’ below for an early example.)
  • He was first trained to play classical music. In fact, he played a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was only 11 years old!
  • A lot of his own music uses ideas from classical composers, such as Debussy.
  • He has also written popular music as well as jazz.
  • He won an Academy Award in 1986 for the music he wrote for the film ‘Round Midnight’.
Official Website

Here is a video of Herbie Hancock playing Chameleon in 1974. Herbie Hancock is the person playing the keyboards.

Herbie Hancock playing ‘Chameleon’

And here is a more recent video of Herbie Hancock playing Watermelon Man (he’s the one playing the piano).

Herbie Hancock playing ‘Watermelon Man’

Picture credits:
  1. Herbie Hancock. This photograph is by Rivers Langley. The image is free to use providing one credits the photographer. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. Herbie Hancock – Chameleon (Live). Herbie Hancock performing Chameleon live. Chicago ’74.
  2. Watermelon Man: Herbie Hancock. Herbie Hancock plays “Watermelon Man” on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle.

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