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Herbie Hancock Box Box set, Original recording remastered

2.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, November 5, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Since the 1960s, Herbie Hancock has been one of the major figures in contemporary jazz, even if his restless creative muse sometimes confounded his longtime trad-jazz followers at the same time it was winning him fans from other genres. The first half of this four-disc, 34-track career retrospective leans heavily on Hancock's musical foundations, as distilled through acoustic performances from the late '70s and early '80s (most of which have heretofore only been issued in Japan), many with his former Miles Davis Quintet sidemen-cum-jazz supergroup, V.S.O.P. (including Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Freddie Hubbard). Those performances (including the unissued Hubbard showcase "Red Clay") lay the groundwork the remainder of the anthology builds on, with Hancock's Fender Rhodes and synths surveying a rich landscape that spans a reinvented "Watermelon Man," the electro-funk workout "Chameleon," jazz-rock fusion, soul, world beat, and, of course, Hancock's most unlikely success, the 1983 hip-hop/industrial megahit "Rockit." Nods are also given to his intermittent film work, via the cool sophistication of his Death Wish title cut and his Academy Award-winning interpretation of Monk's "'Round Midnight." The packaging is nearly as innovative as Hancock's music: a transparent plastic cube with the discs and booklet (featuring insightful notes penned by Hancock himself) suspended within. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Introduction To Maiden Voyage
  2. Maiden Voyage (Live)
  3. Para Oriente
  4. Harvest Time
  5. The Sorcerer
  6. Diana (Live)
  7. Finger Painting
  8. 'Round Midnight
  9. The Eye Of The Hurricane

Disc: 2

  1. Domo
  2. Dolphin Dance
  3. Liza (All The Clouds'll Roll Away) (Live)
  4. Eighty-One (Live)
  5. Milestones
  6. Stella By Starlight/On Green Dolphin Street (Live)
  7. Red Clay

Disc: 3

  1. Rain Dance
  2. Watermelon Man
  3. Butterfly
  4. Death Wish (Main Title)
  5. Actual Proof
  6. Sun Touch
  7. 4 A.M.
  8. Come Running To Me
  9. People Music

Disc: 4

  1. Chameleon
  2. Stars In Your Eyes
  3. Rockit
  4. Calypso
  5. Satisfied With Love
  6. Karabali
  7. Spider
  8. Nobu
  9. Maiden Voyage/P. Bop

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 5, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00006L3J2
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,733 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ron Cronovich TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Herbie's career spans over four decades. Two of them are captured in this box.

Disc 1 contains 9 excellent acoustic jazz tracks from the late 1970s and early 1980s, featuring VSOP, Herbie's quartet with Wynton Marsalis (one track only), a solo piano track, and a nice track with Bobby McFerrin + jazz trio. One of the VSOP cuts is a live performance of Maiden Voyage, which is probably the best version I've ever heard - high energy, superb solos, great arrangement. Several of these tracks are previously unreleased (including Maiden Voyage) or available only on pricey imports.

Disc 2 also focuses on acoustic jazz, featuring tracks by VSOP, the Chick Corea/Herbie Hancock duets, and a jazz trio with Tony Williams and Ron Carter, all recorded in the late 70s or early 80s. Again, several of these tracks are previously unissued or on hard-to-find imports.

Disc 3 contains 9 electric funk tracks, mainly from the Headhunters era (Thrust, Sextant, Headhunters, Secrets). One of these tracks, Actual Proof, is from an excellent live double-cd import set called Flood, which you should grab if you can find a copy. Disc 3 also includes two tracks from solo albums, the 1978 release "Sunlight" and the 1980 disc "Mr. Hands", both of which should be in your collection if you're into Herbie's 1970s/80s electric jazz period.

Disc 4 contains a few more Headhunters-era tracks (including the hit Chameleon), plus some newer stuff (tracks from Monster, Future Shock, Magic Windows, Sound System, and Perfect Machine). Of course, the mega-hit Rockit is included.
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Format: Audio CD
It's a tipoff that the company is calling this "The Herbie Hancock Box," because that's where their marketing attention is focused -- the packaging rather than the music. If they cared about this sensational assemblage of Hancock music, much of it previously unavailable in the US, and all of it remastered and sounding better than ever, why would they have put it in a 5" by 5" by 5" cube of clear plastic with the 4 CDs and the booklet sliding into partial slots? Why would they have made the only way to open it along the lines of a Chinese puzzle box, so that if you do it wrong the CDs all fall right out? Why would they leave both sides of the discs silver so that you have to double and triple check to make sure you're putting it in the CD player right-side up?
My answer is that they don't care at all, that their prime concern is creating something supposedly hip, trendy, and edgy with which they can win a design award. They couldn't care less if the people who buy this music can't easily access the discs, or if those discs are protected (on my set, every disc had come out of its slot in handling).
After the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives (rough cardboard = scratched discs) and the Charlie Christian box (bare CD's stuffed upright in foam slits) fiascos, you'd think Columbia would wise up. We jazz lovers don't want what some cockamamie design and marketing goons think will look "cool" -- it's the MUSIC that's cool! Give it to us so that it's easily accessible and well protected, and fire whoever was responsible for this embarrassment so that it doesn't happen again!
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Format: Audio CD
Until now, there really hasn't been a collection that covers the full spectrum of Herbie Hancock's talents.
The first two discs of the set give a snapshot of Herbie's strengths in acoustic jazz. Though it is unfortunate that no Blue Note recordings from the 1960s were included, they won't be terribly missed. Instead, the box includes a generous helping of music originally released only in Japan during the 1970s. Some tracks were recorded live with the V.S.O.P. quintet (with Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Tony Williams) while others were recorded as a trio with Carter and Williams, or purely solo. A couple of personal highlights for me were the live V.S.O.P. recording of the Williams composition "Para Oriente" and the trio recording of "Milestones." The rhythms on the latter especially are influenced by the electric music Hancock and Williams were concurrently creating, and make for a very original sounding approach to the jazz trio. This approach is being further explored today by the up-and-coming New York jazz trio The Bad Plus.
The other two discs cover Herbie's wide range of electric jazz/funk/dance recordings. Disc three primarily focuses on the much loved "Headhunters" style funk, drawing material from that album as well as "Thrust," "Manchild," "Secrets," the "Death Wish" soundtrack and even a track from 1980's unjustly overlooked "Mr. Hands" featuring Jaco Pastorius on bass. Disc four combines some more material from that period with highlights from his '80s collaborations with Bill Laswell.
Overall, this box makes a great case for Herbie Hancock's importance in jazz and pop music. His acoustic work was innovative in its time and is still enjoyed today, while his electric work was sometimes very commercially successful and sometimes widely reviled.
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