Herbie Hancock

Born 12 April 1940.

US jazz pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer

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Herbie Hancock - The Jazz House Pocket Legend

This week's pocket legend is jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.

Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of The Imagine Project

    The Imagine Project 2010

    Reviewed by John Eyles
    This collaborative effort holds few surprises for followers of Hancock’s recent work.
  2. Review of Future 2 Future

    Future 2 Future

    Reviewed by Peter Marsh
    Herbie back in hiphop/drum n' bass mode with Bill laswell in the producers chair, plus...
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