Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P. project with his former bandmates from the Miles Davis Quintet – Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams – and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was a band that almost single-handedly tried to re-establish acoustic jazz in the United States. And though they made three recordings, all of which were favorably reviewed and heralded by true jazz fans, none of them sold very well, and the band could find few gigs in the United States. The 1978 tour of major cities was thought to be a triumph at the time, but the unit could find few gigs afterward, and so its various members all went back to their other projects. In 1979, they got the opportunity to tour Japan and jumped at the chance. Sony, Hancock's Japanese label, recorded the two evenings, and the first, which took place during a furious rainstorm, was broadcast live on national television! Live Under the Sky marks the first time that this album has been available in the United States in any form.
Herbie Hancock recorded for Columbia between 1972 and 1988. During that period, between the label's American and Japanese divisions, he released 31 albums, both solo and with an astonishing variety of players in an equally breathtaking panorama of styles, from straight-ahead post-bop, to fusion, jazz-funk, disco, R&B, smooth jazz, and even hip-hop. Though Hancock had a celebrated career before signing to Columbia, it was his longest label association; and during his tenure there, he experienced his greatest commercial success and his name was etched permanently into the history of popular music. This box set contains 34 discs – 28 single and three double albums – all housed in handsome individual LP and gatefold sleeves.
This odd anthology from Atlantic reissues selections from trio dates recorded during the 1960s by Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, along with otherwise unobtainable early recordings by McCoy Tyner. Jarrett is joined by Charlie Haden and Paul Motian on two originals, both of which show the obvious influence of Bill Evans. Chick Corea is accompanied by Steve Swallow (on acoustic bass rather than the electric bass he switched to a short time later) and Joe Chambers. The pianist's "Tones for Joan's Bones" is swinging, but not nearly as driving as his works in the decades to follow, while his reworking of the show tune "This Is New" features Joe Farrell and Woody Shaw; both tracks also show the influence of Bill Evans.
By 1978, Hancock had another identity as a dance/fusion attraction with the albums Feets Don't Fail Me Now and Sunlight. Lite Me Up is an even more concerted effort to fuse jazz with pop. Hancock handled all of the production chores on all but two of the eight tracks…
1999 Japan released compilation CD from Herbie Hancock's Sony catalogue.
A solid bebop pianist, Herbie Brock was an obscure musician based in Miami. He recorded two albums for Savoy during 1955-56 (Brock's Tops was his second) and a few slightly later titles for Criteria from 1957 have also been reissued by V.S.O.P. Brock's Tops features the pianist in eight trio performances with bassist Brooks Caperton and drummer Rick Hanson; six standards (including "Four Brothers"); and two Brock originals. The packaging of this Japanese Savoy reissue aims to be a recreation of the original LP, for better or worse. The music still communicates well and will be enjoyed by straight-ahead jazz fans.
The follow-up to the breakthrough Headhunters album was virtually as good as its wildly successful predecessor: an earthy, funky, yet often harmonically and rhythmically sophisticated tour de force. There is only one change in the Headhunters lineup – swapping drummer Harvey Mason for Mike Clark – and the switch results in grooves that are even more complex. Hancock continues to reach into the rapidly changing high-tech world for new sounds, most notably the metallic sheen of the then-new ARP string synthesizer which was already becoming a staple item on pop and jazz-rock records. Again, there are only four long tracks, three of which ("Palm Grease," "Actual Proof," "Spank-A-Lee") concentrate on the funk, with plenty of Hancock's wah-wah clavinet, synthesizer textures and effects, and electric piano ruminations that still venture beyond the outer limits of post-bop.