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tomogradymusic

If a Herbie Hancock Rhodes playing style instructional book became ava

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.. what would you like to see in it, and in what format? I've been approached by a publisher and I'm wondering whether to go ahead with this project, and how best to suit the potential audience in terms of playing / theory level... Bear in mind that there might be licensing issues with exact transcriptions, but I could certainly include plenty of signature licks etc in the book.

Anyway, I'd love to hear all of your suggestions,

Many thanks,

Tom

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I'm curious what non-timbral elements of Herbie's playing you find to be Rhodes-specific.

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I'm curious what non-timbral elements of Herbie's playing you find to be Rhodes-specific.

Well there are a number of aspects to his solos of the 70s (when he happened to be playing on a Rhodes) that he had certainly developed well since his Blue Note albums as leader. There are particular licks that I definitely associate with this era. In the following transcription I did for instance, there's a lick at 1:17 that is characteristic of what he was doing in the 70's whilst playing a Rhodes.

The book doesn't have to be Rhodes-specific either though, so I take your point. I feel better informed to provide an analysis of what Herbie was doing on his Rhodes than I am on all his earlier work, though.

Thanks,

Tom

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To my ears, Herbie's solo on Ostinato from the Mwandishi album is exemplary to what he explored on the Rhodes rather than the acoustic: The Rhodes' color, resembling African xylophones, inspired him even more to rhythmic/percussive patterns in which harmonic aspects were less important. You can already find this on Inventions and Dimensions, but from the sextet albums on this really blossomed.

The solo on Fat Albert Rotunda is another case in point, with lots of call and response patterns.

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To my ears, Herbie's solo on Ostinato from the Mwandishi album is exemplary to what he explored on the Rhodes rather than the acoustic: The Rhodes' color, resembling African xylophones, inspired him even more to rhythmic/percussive patterns in which harmonic aspects were less important. You can already find this on Inventions and Dimensions, but from the sextet albums on this really blossomed.

The solo on Fat Albert Rotunda is another case in point, with lots of call and response patterns.

Hi Mike,

I agree that that those two solos are great, and both indicators of what was to come. It's amazing how little time there was between Sextant and Headhunters actually - those rehearsals must have been electric as everything came together! Herbie's style definitely continued to evolve through the '70's too.

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I'm curious what non-timbral elements of Herbie's playing you find to be Rhodes-specific.

Even though there are obviously clear parallels between his playing on the acoustic, Rhodes (and perhaps the CP80 electric grand), arguably he has a different approach when it comes to the instrument. Some of it comes from the rhythmic surroundings of the genre he played it in, the so-called jazz-funk, which is perhaps a given.

But in the 70's, a lot of "old school" jazz pianists went temporarily to the Rhodes - applying the same exact style they used to play an acoustic piano - and it just didn't WORK. You need a different approach, it's that kind of an instrument. Good (acoustic) jazz pianists aren't necessarily "good Rhodes players" and vice versa.

I'd be very interested in hearing what you come up with, Tom. There are books that transcribe Herbie's (acoustic) solos, some books that have sections that delve into his style of playing (like the Levine book) - but very little is written about his EP playing or the Mwandish/Headhunters years, period. Actually, I could help you out, if you want! ;)

A good "master class" on his Rhodes playing is also on the Japanese LP my avatar is from, Dedication, where he just plays solos over rudimentary synth loops (not even a drum machine).

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George Cables is another one I think where he made a solid transition to Rhodes.

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