Sonic Gems: Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters

The  American keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor, Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock was born on April 12, 1940.  Shortly after starting his career with Donald Byrd, Hancock migrated into the Miles Davis Quintet and redefined the role of the jazz rhythm section as well as being a driving force behind the post-bop sound.  Hancock’s near crossover music manages to be both melodic and accessible while complicated in subtle ways that does not limit his audience.

Among his most famous compositions are Cantaloupe Island, Watermelon Man, Maiden Voyage and Chameleon.  He has also had some successful hit singles including I Thought It Was You and Rockit.   Today, we will be sharing his 12th studio album Head Hunters (1973).  It is seen as a key release for Hancock and a defining moment for jazz-rock.  In fact, the Library of Congress has since added it to the National Recording Registry which is a collection of “culturally, historically or aesthetically important” sound recordings of the 20th Century.


You may listen to Head Hunters here:


Contrast that Watermelon Man with the original!  For my money and ears, the original is far better.


Aloha Promises Forever gives Head Hunter an eight out of 10 for ruining a perfectly good song in my opinion… of course this may be heavily influenced by my little girls going from dancing to the first track and covering their ears for a significant portion of Watermelon Man with complaints of please do not play that ever again!!  Whatever Hancock intended to say with his new version, my little girls spoke louder.  Why?  Because when I played them the original version, these 21st century darlings immediately began dancing again and the smiles returned.  Sometimes when someone does something right and good the first time, maybe its best to leave the song pretty much alone from that point forward?



About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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