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?”
“Nope. E flat.”
“Damn, you really are a fan!”