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Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage

Herbie Hancock — Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage (2015)

 Herbie Hancock — Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage (2015)
Location: Chicago, IL
Album release: 1964
Record Label: Blue Note
Duration:     30:22 + 47:11 => 77:33 / 42:17 => 119:50
Empyrean Isles
01. One Finger Snap     7:20
02. Oliloqui Valley     8:28
03. Cantaloupe Island     5:33
04. The Egg     14:01
Bonus Tracks:
05. One Finger Snap (Take 10)     6:46
06. One Finger Snap (Take 19)     7:37
07. Oliloqui Valley (Take 1)     9:15
08. Oliloqui Valley (Take 3)     10:47
09. Cantaloupe Island (Take 11)     6:07
10. Cantaloupe Island (Take 12)     6:39
Maiden Voyage
11. Maiden Voyage     7:56
12. The Eye Of The Hurricane     6:02
13. Little One     8:51
14. Survival Of The Fittest     10:07
15. Dolphin Dance     9:21
Empyrean Isles Musicians:
♠   Herbie Hancock (piano)
♠   Freddie Hubbard (cornet)
♠   Ron Carter (bass)
♠   Anthony Williams (drums)
Maiden Voyage Musicians:
♠   Herbie Hancock (piano)
♠   Ron Carter (bass)
♠   George Coleman (tenor saxophone)
♠   Freddie Hubbard (trumpet)
♠   Anthony Williams (drums)                      © New Orleans Fair Grounds, Herbie Hancock
•••   Jazz icon Herbie Hancock's solo career blossomed on Blue Note Records in the mid–to–late '60s with classic albums including Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles. •••   Throughout his career, Hancock has always pushed musical boundaries, exploring a wide variety of jazz idioms while bringing his flair and innovation to every single setting. His Blue Note albums of the 1960’s ranged all the way from post bop to Latin jazz, to straight ahead and free form.
•••   Empyrean Isles, recorded when Hancock was 24 and a new member of the Miles Davis Quintet, features the pianist pushing the envelope of hard bop, creating fresh, new music in the process. In a quartet setting with Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, Hancock shows that he was familiar with both avant–garde jazz and groovin' R&B. His four compositions include the original and most exciting version of “Cantaloupe Island” and the swingingly unpredictable “One Finger Snap.” Empyrean Isles brims with the power and adventure of the best of '60s jazz while gracefully crossing over into uncharted territory in signature Hancock fashion.
•••   However, 1965's Maiden Voyage is arguably the best in the bunch. Every single cut on the exquisite 5–track offering from the haunting title track to the gentle, swinging "Dolphin Dance" has found its way into the standard jazz repertoire. Hancock and company — Ron Carter (bass), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) and Anthony Williams (drums) — fashioned a modern jazz milestone here with extraordinary compositions, interplay and solos and in 1999 Maiden Voyage was recognized as such when it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.                                                                                                    //      Birth name: Herbert Jeffrey Hancock
Born: April 12, 1940, Chicago, Illinois, United StatesEMPYREAN ISLES
Released: 1964
Recorded: June 17, 1964, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
•••   From the original liner notes by Duke Pearson: "This is a quartet album for trumpet and rhythm section. In this circumstance, a problem was created for the composer–arranger, in that the lack of another instrument supporting the lower, richer register, such as a tenor saxophone, might result in a shallow sound. With this problem in mind, Herbie Hancock, who composed and arranged all the tunes, wrote them to sound more like improvisations than ensemble melodies, so that the warmth and fullness of a supporting melody would not be missed. Free sketches were written in such a way that each instrument is allowed great flexibility of interpretation. In many cases, no melodic line was laid out over the chords nor atonal clusters written, so that the trumpeter could supply any melody he wished."
•••   From the 1999 reissue liner notes by Bob Blumenthal: “If someone had ordered up a program that explored four distinct areas of jazz expression with equal brilliance, they could not have done better than Empyrean Isles. It is as if Hancock had set out to present 'changes,' modal, funk and free playing and delivered each at its apex.”
•••   The album was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder and produced by Alfred Lion.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine;  Score: •••••
•••   My Point of View and Inventions and Dimensions found Herbie Hancock exploring the fringes of hard bop, working with a big band and a Latin–flavored percussion section, respectively. On Empyrean Isles, he returns to hard bop, but the results are anything but conventional. Working with cornetist Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams — a trio just as young and adventurous as he was — Hancock pushes at the borders of hard bop, finding a brilliantly evocative balance between traditional bop, soul–injected grooves, and experimental, post–modal jazz. •••  Hancock's four original concepts are loosely based on the myths of the Empyrean Isles, and they are designed to push the limits of the band and of hard bop. Even "Cantaloupe Island," well–known for its funky piano riff, takes chances and doesn't just ride the groove. "The Egg," with its minimal melody and extended solo improvisations, is the riskiest number on the record, but it works because each musician spins inventive, challenging solos that defy convention. In comparison, "One Finger Snap" and "Oliloqui Valley" adhere to hard bop conventions, but each song finds the quartet vigorously searching for new sonic territory with convincing fire. That passion informs all of Empyrean Isles, a record that officially established Hancock as a major artist in his own right. •••   http://www.allmusic.com/MAIDEN VOYAGE
Released: May 17, 1965
Recorded: March 17, 1965, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs
Label: Blue Note, BST 84195
Producer: Alfred Lion
•••   Maiden Voyage is the fifth album led by jazz musician Herbie Hancock, and was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder on May 17, 1965 for Blue Note Records. It was issued as BLP 4195 and BST 84195. It is a concept album aimed at creating an oceanic atmosphere. Many of the track titles refer to marine biology or the sea, and the musicians develop the concept through their use of space and almost tidal dynamics. The album was presented with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
•••   According to Bob Blumenthal's 1999 liner notes, "Blue Note logs indicate that an attempt had been made to record 'Maiden Voyage', 'Little One', and 'Dolphin Dance' six days earlier, with Hubbard on cornet and Stu Martin in place of Williams. Those performances were rejected at the time and have been lost in the ensuing years." A different version of "Little One" was also recorded around the same time by Miles Davis and his quintet (including Hancock, Carter, Shorter and Williams) for the album E.S.P., also released in 1965.
Website: http://www.herbiehancock.com/


Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage