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Herbie Hancock Memoir

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I'll get me a copy, that's for sure!

But the Mwandishi book first ...

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I especially like this from the article:

"The book will be, in part, a financial journey. Hancock will tell of being a greedy pianist who, after disavowing his Lennie Tristano influence, decided to make as much money as possible by playing bad music.

"Hey," Herbie added, "when I die I'll have more money in the bank than Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Hank Jones, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Jelly Roll Morton combined. So who's the chump now?"

Edited by AllenLowe

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I especially like this from the article:

"The book will be, in part, a financial journey. Hancock will tell of being a greedy pianist who, after disavowing his Lennie Tristano influence, decided to make as much money as possible by playing bad music.

"Hey," Herbie added, "when I die I'll have more money in the bank than Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Hank Jones, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Jelly Roll Morton combined. So who's the chump now?"

No way! I was wondering how long it would take for Tristano to show up on this thread. Got it in 2!

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Well, Herbie has acknowledged the influence of Chris Anderson.

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As well as Robert Farnon & Nelson Riddle.

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I especially like this from the article:

"The book will be, in part, a financial journey. Hancock will tell of being a greedy pianist who, after disavowing his Lennie Tristano influence, decided to make as much money as possible by playing bad music.

"Hey," Herbie added, "when I die I'll have more money in the bank than Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Hank Jones, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Jelly Roll Morton combined. So who's the chump now?"

!

i don't think this is very funny at all, Allen, or clever. sounds like you'd maybe like to be slapped with a lawsuit. don't you have something better to do with your time than make up crap like this?!? if you're going to engage in this kind of behavior, you'd better think better of putting things in quote marks!!!!

Edited by ValerieB

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actually, I don't have anything better to do.

though I do think the quote is accurate, even without having access to those pianists' bank accounts.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Reluctant as I am to reopen this can of worms, I do want to point out this passage from a recent Tristano biography by Eunmi Shim in which Hancock directly address the issue of Tristano's influence. I'm sure Allen will say that Herbie doesn't go far enough and this is more evidence of his denial of his prime influence (smile). Having said that, however, one of the issues that came up here in prior dicussions about possible links between the two pianists was the contention that Hancock never talks about Tristano and this is actually further evidence that deep links do indeed exist, a misdirection ploy by Herbie to throw us off the scent. So in that context it's worth noting that he does speak about Tristano here (and admiringly). Of course, I'm sure interpretations of all this will vary.

Coda: If somebody has the book, could you look up the footnotes to find the sources, because it would provide interesting context. When Herbie says "at that time" what is he refering to -- when the music was played or when he first heard it? And when did he make these comments?

http://books.google.com/books?id=HQ9wL02AiNQC&pg=PA209&lpg=PA209&dq=herbie+hancock+and+lennie+tristano&source=bl&ots=vR9iGilT68&sig=KjwKwxCv6kDseDLUJbpftH7zzcE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ge-FT66XLYaDgAe65MnIBw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=herbie%20hancock%20and%20lennie%20tristano&f=false

Edited by Mark Stryker

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As well as Robert Farnon & Nelson Riddle.

Yes, and Chris Anderson said he was influenced by the same guys -- this (their influencing Anderson) taking place when Hancock was still in maybe seventh or eighth grade, if that. Thus, while meaningful independent Hancock encounters with the music of Farnon and Riddle might have been possible, the likelihood is that Anderson was the filter. Certainly Anderson's music circa 1955-6, when I first heard him, often had a sweeping cinematic flavor. One can hear that on the recent Fresh Sounds reissue of his first two albums, for Vee-Jay and Jazzland. The Vee-Jay was new to me and is terrific.

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Reluctant as I am to reopen this can of worms, I do want to point out this passage from a recent Tristano biography by Eunmi Shim in which Hancock directly address the issue of Tristano's influence. I'm sure Allen will say that Herbie doesn't go far enough and this is more evidence of his denial of his prime influence (smile). Having said that, however, one of the issues that came up here in prior dicussions about possible links between the two pianists was the contention that Hancock never talks about Tristano and this is actually further evidence that deep links do indeed exist, a misdirection ploy by Herbie to throw us off the scent. So in that context it's worth noting that he does speak about Tristano here (and admiringly). Of course, I'm sure interpretations of all this will vary.

Coda: If somebody has the book, could you look up the footnotes to find the sources, because it would provide interesting context. When Herbie says "at that time" what is he refering to -- when the music was played or when he first heard it? And when did he make these comments?

http://books.google.com/books?id=HQ9wL02AiNQC&pg=PA209&lpg=PA209&dq=herbie+hancock+and+lennie+tristano&source=bl&ots=vR9iGilT68&sig=KjwKwxCv6kDseDLUJbpftH7zzcE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ge-FT66XLYaDgAe65MnIBw&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=herbie%20hancock%20and%20lennie%20tristano&f=false

The passage comes from an interview with Hancock conducted by a former Tristano student, Jon Easton.

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thanks; funny thing is I have that book.

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As well as Robert Farnon & Nelson Riddle.

Yes, and Chris Anderson said he was influenced by the same guys -- this (their influencing Anderson) taking place when Hancock was still in maybe seventh or eighth grade, if that. Thus, while meaningful independent Hancock encounters with the music of Farnon and Riddle might have been possible, the likelihood is that Anderson was the filter.

Well, it's not like Nelson Riddle was an unknown quantity in 1960 or thereabouts. Unavoidable would be more like it. Farnon, I don't know..I've had to look long and hard to find really good stuff by him from the 50s that's readily available, but I do remember one interview with Herbie where he cited a specific album, something Farnon had done for a singer, I forget who, well-known, though. Tony Bennett, maybe? Does that sound right?

Of course, maybe Chris Anderson pulled his coattails to it all, but if the implication is that Herbie never really checked out Riddle and/or Farnon independently and/or analytically but instead just got it all from Chis Anderson, I don't think that's necessarily fair or accurate. This is a guy who's always been "naturally inquisitive" from Day One, or so it seems.

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Don't forget Clare Fischer. In the Los Angeles Times' obituary, Hancock is quoted: "Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept," Herbie Hancock said in a statement on Fischer's website. Hancock credited Fischer's arrangements for the 1950s vocal group the Hi-Lo's with significantly influencing his 1968 recording "Speak Like a Child."

Larry: Thanks for the source detail above.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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Speaking of naturally curious, it was only in the last year that I came across this one from 1974's Dedication, a solo album only released in Japan. I heard it on a house/hip-hop/whatever mix that was on the internets (there are, likely, millions of these), and didn't bother looking at the tracklist until later. I thought it was some brand-new thing that was exponentially raising the bar as far as improvising with loops and drum machines and sampling and post-production and all that...imagine my surprise when it turns out that it was all recorded in real-time with the backing being not a drum machine, but an ARP that Herbie set up to do this and then just let it run while he improvised over it.

Hell, in 1974, Headhunters was still fresh, and Thrust was, what, a year away, more or less? In a way, this is an extension of "Rain Dance" from Sextant, but in other ways, it's a whole 'nother thing. Years ahead of its time, literally.

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Don't forget Clare Fischer. In the Los Angeles Times' obituary, Hancock is quoted: "Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept," Herbie Hancock said in a statement on Fischer's website. Hancock credited Fischer's arrangements for the 1950s vocal group the Hi-Lo's with significantly influencing his 1968 recording "Speak Like a Child."

Yeah, that too.

If you look hard enough, you can find some real delights in the "easy listening" records of that era. A lot of the writers were "goos soldiers", but the best of them knew the meat was, and weren't afraid to give, as one of my buddies says, "three chords to pay the bills, and one to make me happy about it". And occasionally, as with Riddle's best work, "paying the bills" does not even appear to be a consideration.

When you're playing "songs", you're always looking for new ideas about how to harmonize them. These guys had some pretty hip ones.

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Speaking of naturally curious, it was only in the last year that I came across this one from 1974's Dedication, a solo album only released in Japan. I heard it on a house/hip-hop/whatever mix that was on the internets (there are, likely, millions of these), and didn't bother looking at the tracklist until later. I thought it was some brand-new thing that was exponentially raising the bar as far as improvising with loops and drum machines and sampling and post-production and all that...imagine my surprise when it turns out that it was all recorded in real-time with the backing being not a drum machine, but an ARP that Herbie set up to do this and then just let it run while he improvised over it.

Hell, in 1974, Headhunters was still fresh, and Thrust was, what, a year away, more or less? In a way, this is an extension of "Rain Dance" from Sextant, but in other ways, it's a whole 'nother thing. Years ahead of its time, literally.

Wow, this was completely new to me! Looks like you can get it as a download at 99 cents per track. Four bucks for the whole thing. I'm there. Thanks for posting.

Coda: Hmm. Amazon has the four tracks for 99 cents each but the entire album for $5.99. What's that about?

Edited by Mark Stryker

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As well as Robert Farnon & Nelson Riddle.

Yes, and Chris Anderson said he was influenced by the same guys -- this (their influencing Anderson) taking place when Hancock was still in maybe seventh or eighth grade, if that. Thus, while meaningful independent Hancock encounters with the music of Farnon and Riddle might have been possible, the likelihood is that Anderson was the filter.

Well, it's not like Nelson Riddle was an unknown quantity in 1960 or thereabouts. Unavoidable would be more like it. Farnon, I don't know..I've had to look long and hard to find really good stuff by him from the 50s that's readily available, but I do remember one interview with Herbie where he cited a specific album, something Farnon had done for a singer, I forget who, well-known, though. Tony Bennett, maybe? Does that sound right?

Of course, maybe Chris Anderson pulled his coattails to it all, but if the implication is that Herbie never really checked out Riddle and/or Farnon independently and/or analytically but instead just got it all from Chis Anderson, I don't think that's necessarily fair or accurate. This is a guy who's always been "naturally inquisitive" from Day One, or so it seems.

Point is that Chris Anderson was an acknowledged early mentor of Hancock (were not talking 1960 but maybe 1953-5, when Herbie was age 13-15 and Anderson was house pianist at the Beehive) with a stated fondness for those guys that was quite evident in his own music. I'm not saying that the "naturally inquisitive" Herbie got it all by way of Anderson but that Anderson's example was a pretty likely stimulus/conduit for him.

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Herbie did tell me once in an interview that he, Chris Anderson and (I think) Willie Pickens all used to practice together. They would trade-off playing ballads, each playing a chorus and reharmonizing like demons, learning from each other and exploring together.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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What of Herbie's "Gil Evans" period?

Practically all of "Speak Like a Child", most (maybe even all?) of "The Prisoner", plus a handful of tracks from "Fat Albert Rotunda" (at the very least "Tell Me a Bedtime Story"), and maybe "Joanna's Theme" from the "Death Wish" soundtrack.

Any crime in that?

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Speaking of naturally curious, it was only in the last year that I came across this one from 1974's Dedication, a solo album only released in Japan. I heard it on a house/hip-hop/whatever mix that was on the internets (there are, likely, millions of these), and didn't bother looking at the tracklist until later. I thought it was some brand-new thing that was exponentially raising the bar as far as improvising with loops and drum machines and sampling and post-production and all that...imagine my surprise when it turns out that it was all recorded in real-time with the backing being not a drum machine, but an ARP that Herbie set up to do this and then just let it run while he improvised over it.

I have that one on vinyl. One side is acoustic, the other is electronic.

a0160265_19293621.jpg

Herbie Hancock - Dedication

Herbie Hancock (p, el-p, syn)

"Koseinenkin Hall", Tokyo, Japan, July 29, 1974

Maiden Voyage

Dolphin Dance

Nobu

Cantaloupe Island

* CBS/Sony (J) SOPM 165, 25AP 562

Edited by marcello

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What of Herbie's "Gil Evans" period?

Another freely admitted influence.

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Speak Like A Child is such a DUMB title that personally I could never listen to it. Might be fine as music, but just imagine if Joyce had called his book "Frank." No one would read it. A true failure, on Herbie's part, of the intellect.

and Headhunters, forget it. Tried it, gave up. Went the way of all those CTI's they used to play constantly at that record store I worked at when I was much younger (though it came later, makes no difference).

and the music Herbie did for the movie Round Midnite was just excrement, really was.

that stuff makes Hot Dog look like a masterpiece. And bring back the varitone!

Edited by AllenLowe

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If you look hard enough, you can find some real delights in the "easy listening" records of that era. A lot of the writers were "goos soldiers", but the best of them knew the meat was, and weren't afraid to give, as one of my buddies says, "three chords to pay the bills, and one to make me happy about it". And occasionally, as with Riddle's best work, "paying the bills" does not even appear to be a consideration.

When you're playing "songs", you're always looking for new ideas about how to harmonize them. These guys had some pretty hip ones.

Well said. I hate the disparaging and misleading term "easy listening" and appreciate your putting it in quotes. I prefer to say "orchestral pop" or "instrumental pop" depending on whether it's strings or not.

As for Farnon, Vocalion has put out a number of his albums over recent years. The latest reissues were this one and this one.

I think Tony Bennett recorded three albums with Farnon: With Love, Snowfall and Spotlight On Tony Bennett.

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