Classic Album: Herbie Hancock “VSOP”


The occasion for these recordings was a special concert presented on June 29, 1976 at New York’s City Center, by George Wein as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Originally termed a “Retrospective of The Music of Herbie Hancock” its purpose was not so much to pay tribute to one musician, but to enable a group of great musicians to get together and play. In actuality, this started out as a tribute to Miles Davis [Herbie’s mentor, and the band that he started with in the 60’s] But at the time Miles was recouping from surgery and hadn’t played his horn for close to a year, so there was no way he was going to pick up his horn and start playing. That was a physical impossibility. The idea was to bring the past up to date. from the 60’s to 1976. So of course he started with the original band he started with minus Miles.

The personnel were:
Ron Carter: Bass
Freddie Hubbard: Trumpet
Wayne Shorter: Tenor and Soprano Sax
Tony Williams: Drums
Herbie Hancock: Yamaha Electric Grand Piano

Then he moved on to the sextet he used from 1969-1973. The personnel were:
Mwile Bennie Maupin: Alto Flute
Jabali Billy Hart: Drums
Mganga Eddie Henderson: Trumpet, Flugelhorn & Effects
Pepo Julian Priester: Tenor & Bass Trombone
Mchezaji Buster Williams: Bass
Mwandishi Herbie Hancock: Rhodes Electric Piano, Yamaha Electric Grand Piano, Hohner D6 Clavinet

And at the time his current band, which he considered “funk”, but of course the influences were vast! The personnel were:
Paul Jackson: Electric Bass
James Levi: Drums
Bennie Maupin: Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax, Lyricon
Kenneth Nash: Percussion
Ray Parker Jr.: Guitar
Wah Wah Watson: Guitar, Maestro Universal Synthesizer System, Maestro Sample & Hold, Voice Bag
Herbie Hancock: Rhodes Electric Piano, Yamaha Electric Grand Piano, Arp Odyssey, Arp String Ensemble, Hohner D6 Clavinet, Micro-Moog, Oberheim Polyphonic Synthesizer, Echoplex, Countryman Phase Shifter, Cry Baby Wah Wah

I bought this album in Denmark last year. I never knew it exsisted [so what, better late than never!!]. If you have a chance to pick up this album, make sure you do. It is an incredible montage of music and musicians!!!

God. Love. Life. Music. [& VSOP]


3 thoughts on “Classic Album: Herbie Hancock “VSOP”

  1. that really interesting my father is a huge jazz fan so I’ll see if he has the album for me to check out..its just so crazy how music has changed over the years I can’t wait till we wake up and go back to the way it used to be when you could be in love in a song without it having to be about sex!

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