Headhunters - Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
When I first heard this album I felt I had finally found that perfect “sound" I had been searching for my whole life. Herbie had come very well known in Miles Davis second quintet and now was doing his own thing applying those concepts to funk.

His experimentation on a multitude of analog synths has tremendously influenced what I do on synthesizers in my band, Gentlemen Hall. As well as numerous other groups ever since. Some critics and pure acoustic jazz-heads said this album is not jazz, but I beg to differ cause it is full of jazz improvisation and concepts.

This album was so popular that it quickly sold over a million copies after its release in 1973. It's simple, funky, extremely enjoyable, and AMAZING! Listen to it over and over for maximum satisfaction.

Head Hunters is the twelfth studio album by American jazz musician Herbie Hancock, released October 13, 1973, on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place during September 1973 at Wally Heider Studios and Different Fur Trading Co. in San Francisco, California.

Head Hunters is a key release in Hancock's career and a defining moment in the genre of jazz fusion. In 2003, the album was ranked number 498 in the book version of Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2007, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry, which collects “culturally, historically or aesthetically important" sound recordings from the 20th century.

I began to feel that I had been spending so much time exploring the upper atmosphere of music and the more ethereal kind of far-out spacey stuff. Now there was this need to take some more of the earth and to feel a little more tethered; a connection to the earth....I was beginning to feel that we (the sextet) were playing this heavy kind of music, and I was tired of everything being heavy. I wanted to play something lighter. Hancock's sleeve notes: 1997 CD reissue

For the new album, Hancock assembled a new band, The Headhunters, of whom only Bennie Maupin had been a sextet member. Hancock handled all synthesizer parts himself and he decided against the use of guitar altogether, favouring instead the clavinet, one of the defining sounds on the album.

The new band featured a tight rhythm and blues-oriented rhythm section composed of Paul Jackson (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums), and the album has a relaxed, funky groove that gave the album an appeal to a far wider audience.

Perhaps the defining moment of the jazz-fusion movement (or perhaps even the spearhead of the Jazz-funk style of the fusion genre), the album made jazz listeners out of rhythm and blues fans, and vice versa. The album mixes funk rhythms, like the busy high hats in 16th notes on the opening track “Chameleon," with the jazz AABA form and extended soloing.

This is the album that saw Hancock transform from a respected jazz genius into a funkified crossover superstar. While “Chameleon" and the plugged-in reading of “Watermelon Man" got plenty of airplay, Hancock never panders to his listeners. This is an extremely influential album and is now considered the Rosetta Stone for those who toil in hip-hop and electronica

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