Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My man Herbie

So let's talk about my man Herbie.

When Herbie Hancock stepped up to the podium and won this year's grammy for album of the year, lots of hip-hoppers everywhere were scratching their heads in a collective "huh"?

They had no idea  that the man they were ogling was one of the most versatile, innovative and important musicians of the 2oth century.  A virtual musical chameleon, My man Herbie was a 7-year old piano prodigy,
soloing with the Chicago Symphony at age 11.

But what makes Herbie one of the baddest cats in all jazz--indeed all of recorded music-- is that he was one of the first musicians to bring electronic instruments up front on major labels and to play them with real human dexterity and warmth.

A devout SGI Buddhist, He brought legitimacy to machines because he's a brilliant acoustic pianist and composer who worked with Miles Davis for years in one of his greatest groups, as well as having recorded many of his own influential and classic solo recordings.

He took a cue from his former employer in the late sixties forming a real jazz funk outfit called Headhunters that outsold any jazz record up until that time, later he did the same damn thing again with the hip-hop influenced Rockit, which became an MTV favorite.

He continues to bounces back and forth between serious jazz  recordings, electronic outings and star studded solo records. 
The Grammy he won for River: The Joni Letters barely scratches the surface of this man's accomplishments, but maybe now he'll get a little more respect from those few who don't already know what time it is. 

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