Musical Interlude: Early Herbie

July 28th, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Any Herbie Hancock is worth listening to closely, after Red Garland, he’s tied with Wynton K for my favorite jazz pianist…though wait a minute–there’s Ahmad, McCoy, Mulgrew, Tommy F, Hank J…oh, never mind.

Anyway, this track–Driftin’ from his first album as a leader–is amazing for a lot of reasons.  Listen to Dexter’s extremely laid back solo, and then listen carefully to Herbie’s choruses…you can hear him already–tentatively–looking around harmonic corners–in 1962!

I saw the man himself not too long ago and was able to talk to him for a minute.  I said, “You know, I’ve been diggin’ you from the beginning–since you wrote that tune Driftin’…”  I started singing it to him and he broke out in a big grin and joined in a little impromptu scatting of the melody.  Just to show off my deep Herbie street cred, I asked him, “do you remember what key it’s in?”

“D flat?”

“Nope.  E flat.”

“Damn, you really are a fan!”

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4 comments in reply to "Musical Interlude: Early Herbie"

  1. Doc says:

    Cool-shades of Horace, who I’m sure is in your top 10

    • Jared Bernstein says:

      Trust and believe, Horace is up there, especially for composition–I’ve featured the great “Jody Grind” in an earlier post.

  2. Allen says:

    Wow — Herbie is right…you really are a fan! I have a (piano) keyboard next to my computer and you are right — it’s in Eb! I checked Wikipedia and Herbie was 22 (born in 1940) when that album was recorded. Amazing! Truly Amazing!

    Thanks Jared for the post!


  3. Dave says:

    Hey, all I have to say is:

    You were there! With the VP! Your advice is better than the rest! You’re calmer than the rest! You give better stats than the rest!

    And why isn’t Jared as big of a star as … or …?

    Not sure, but the analysis here is better than the rest…

    Yea, it’s good!