After the phenomenal success of TAKIN' OFF, Herbie Hancock's second release for Blue Note was constructed in the mold of its predecessor. The tantalizing MY POINT OF VIEW offers many of the same early Hancock signature moments, but with an expanded palette that reflects the pianist's growing experience. A larger ensemble helped to broaden the range of this release as Blue Note regulars Donald Byrd, Hank Mobley, and Grant Green add to Hancock's sonic textures. Also on board are the advanced trombonist Grachan Moncur III, Bill Evans' bassist Chuck Israels, and the young drum wonder Tony Williams.
On MY POINT OF VIEW, smooth-jazz multi-instrumentalist Najee offers up a solid set of groove-based easy-listening tunes. While guest vocalists appear on a few tracks, Najee's talent on the flute, alto saxophone, and soprano saxophone is such that the disc's instrumentals prove to be the highlights.
The creative young voices of Jazz have been the lifeblood of Blue Note Records throughout its storied history, from Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock to Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson, all of whom made their debut albums for the legendary label. The Blue Note All-Stars continue that legacy with the September 29 release of Our Point of View, the debut recording from a supergroup of young visionaries that formed in 2014 for a series of live performances in honor of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary. Featuring trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, keyboardist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott, and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, the album also boasts a special guest appearance by Blue Note legends Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, and is dedicated to the memory of beloved longtime Blue Note President Bruce Lundvall, who passed away in 2015.
For his third album, Inventions and Dimensions, Herbie Hancock changed course dramatically. Instead of recording another multifaceted album like My Point of View, he explored a Latin-inflected variation of post-bop with a small quartet. Hancock is the main harmonic focus of the music – his three colleagues are bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Willie Bobo, and percussionist Osvaldo "Chihuahua" Martinez, who plays conga and bongo. It is true that the music is rhythm-intensive, but that doesn't mean it's dance music. Hancock has created an improvisational atmosphere where the rhythms are fluid and the chords, harmonies, and melodies are unexpected.
From the start of his solo recording career in 1962, when he was 22, Herbie Hancock was a very original pianist/composer. Strangely enough, despite the explorative nature of much of his music, Hancock was also quite accessible, recording the future hit "Watermelon Man" on his debut date. This six-CD set is a must for all jazz collectors who do not already own Hancock's Blue Note albums, for the box contains the complete contents of the pianist's albums Takin' Off, My Point of View, Inventions & Dimensions, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage, Speak Like a Child, and The Prisoner.