Sunday, August 24, 2014

Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles

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.
Thomas Erlewine

Source :

Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles 


1 One Finger Snap  7:17
2 Oliloqui Valley  8:27
3 Cantaloupe Island
Herbie Hancock  5:30
4 The Egg  13:57
5 One Finger Snap [alt. take]  7:33
6 Oliloqui Valley [alt. take]  10:45

All Compositions by Herbie Hancok


Freddie Hubbard - crnt
Herbie Hancock - p
Ron Carter - b
Tony Williams - dr

Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood, Cliffs, New Jersey ; June 17, 1964


Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Thank you for this upgrade.

Mike said...

Have to say, I've traditionally dismissed Hancock as a minor bump in the history of jazz piano... but I'm grateful to get the opportunity to give him another listen. Thanks a lot!

Melanchthon said...

Minor bump ?

Mike said...

Not as a sideman, certainly, but these drifty, dreamy efforts and his quick change into fusion-man both turned me off. When a portion of my G-H record collection was stolen years ago, I refilled Hancock with his first 3 Blue Notes and no more. Sorry for my 'bad taste', I guess!

Melanchthon said...

You're welcome, Mike... As non-english person, the word "Bump" made me laugh.

AmyBRAINS said...

Many thanks, Melanchthon.

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you for another gem, Mel. I'm happy to have an upgrade on this excellent album.

Pablo Caravaca Calvo said...

Any posibilities of a Re-up? Thanks Mel

Farmer Allan said...

I vote (I beg!) for that re-up! Thanks!!