' Perhaps the funkiest album of Herbie Hancock's early- to mid-'70s jazz/funk/fusion era, Man-Child starts off with the unforgettable "Hang Up Your Hang Ups," and the beat just keeps coming until the album's end. "Sun Touch" and "Bubbles" are slower, but funky nonetheless. Hancock is the star on his arsenal of keyboards, but guitarist Wah Wah Watson's presence is what puts a new sheen on this recording, distinguishing it from its predecessors, Head Hunters and Thrust. Others among the all-star cast of soloists and accompanists include Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, Stevie Wonder on chromatic harmonica, and longtime Hancock cohort Bennie Maupin on an arsenal of woodwinds.' Jim.Newsom@allmusic.com
Gathered here for the first time are all of the recordings Herbie Hancock (b. 1940) made for Columbia Records U.S. and CBS/Sony Records Japan between 1972 and 1988–a stunningly creative, 17-year period, yielding 31 albums. Eight of the titles in this set have never been released outside of Japan. This collection of 34 newly-remastered CDs showcases Herbie's virtuosity in a dazzling display of musical styles. It is a testament to his fearlessness, innovation, and ever-evolving curiosity, as well as his significant commercial success–the platinum certifications of Head Hunters and Future Shock.
After Man-Child, alas, Herbie Hancock's American jazz-funk records in the 1970s grew gradually more commercial, less stimulating, and crucially, less truly funky with each release, even as his equipment rack grew larger. Just take a look at the staggering collection of keyboards on the back cover of the Sunlight LP – all sought-after collectors' items now – yet Hancock makes so little use of their possibilities here. For much of the album, he seems most interested in establishing a new career as an electronic vocalist.
Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters take to the road in the live double album Flood, recorded and released only in Japan. Contrary to the impression left by his American releases at this time, Hancock was still very much attached to the acoustic piano, as his erudite opening workout on "Maiden Voyage/Actual Proof" with his funk rhythm section makes clear. The electric keyboards, mostly Rhodes piano and clavinet, make their first appearances on side two, where Hancock now becomes more of a funky adjunct to the rhythm section, bumping along with a superb feeling for the groove while Bennie Maupin takes the high road above on a panoply of winds.