JJ 02/64: Herbie Hancock – My Point Of View

Sixty years ago Gerald Lascelles suspected that too much listening and perhaps an excess of writing had made Hancock slightly broody. First published in Jazz Journal February 1964

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I have heard Mr. Hancock before, but never on his “own” album, and frankly I expected him to make more of the opportunity than he has done. The de­liberately extended funky opener says nothing remarkable, and relies more on guitarist Grant Green than the leader to keep its impetus. Tribute gives the front line something to do, but it rambles on without achieving anything outstand­ing, except to prove that Herbie has been listening to Bill Evans. Donald Byrd and Hank Mobley seem to find more meat to chew on than the pianist in both these tracks.

King Cobra is the most lively track, and everyone shines in their solos. Grachan Moncur on trom­bone plays a particularly haunting roving line, echoed to some extent by the leader’s very busy piano solo which follows. Pleasure is mostly Byrd’s outing, with even stronger undertones of Evans in­dicated.

I suspect that too much listening and perhaps even an excess of writing has made Herbie Hancock become slightly “broody”, although What If I Don’t shows the break-back to more rhythmic things. There is a possessive demand in his playing which might not be good for every musician who works with him, but you can be reasonably assured that he gives of his best for the group in hand, and he could become a major contributor in the modern idiom if he can establish himself as an individual and not as another stylist.


Discography
Blind Man, Blind Man; A Tribute To Someone (17¼ min) – King Cobra; The Pleasure Is Mine; And What If I Don’t (17½) min)
Herbie Hancock (p): Donald Byrd (tpt); Grachan Moncur III (tbn); Hank Mobley (ten); Grant Green (g); Chuck Israels (bs); Antony Williams (d).
(Blue Note 4126 12inLP 42s.)