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4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Head Hunters + Maiden Voyage
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 April 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia Legacy
  • ASIN: B000024F6K
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  Mini-Disc  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,934 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chameleon
2. Watermelon Man
3. Sly
4. Vein Melter

Product Description

Keyboardist Herbie Hancock's remarkable career took a surprising turn with this funk album. Hancock's already-storied career had included an extended tenure with Miles Davis as a member of both the classic quintet of the 1960s and the trumpeter's groundbreaking electric dates. As a leader, the pianist had followed a similar course, cutting both outstanding acoustic dates (Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles) and experimental electric sessions (Sextant, Crossings). Head Hunters, however, was something different: a stripped-down date featuring reedman Bennie Maupin as the only horn player, and a funk-oriented rhythm section made up of Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, and Bill Summers. Hancock traded in his sophisticated piano performances and complex compositions for simple melodies, slow-burn funk grooves, and light electric keyboard splashes. The results, particularly on the tracks "Chameleon" and "Watermelon Man", had a profound impact on other musicians, although critics charged Hancock with playing to the galleries. But the album has stood the test of time--something neither the wealth of Hancock's imitators nor his own subsequent albums in this vein have been able to do. --Fred Goodman

Product Description

Cd > Popular Music > CompilationCD > POPULAR MUSIC > ROCK

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The coolest album....ever. 12 Oct 2006
Format:Audio CD
If there was ever an introduction that embodied the complete essence of its album, it must be the famous bass line that begins Chameleon. From the opening note, a sense of cool is established that never lets up but for the furious solos on Sly.

Where do you start with Chameleon? It is a staple of funk music, a tune that is known to people who have never listened to jazz in their life, arguably the most famous genre crossover piece in history. BUT, bizarrely, it's perhaps the weakest track on Head Hunters, simply because of the quality of the tunes that follow.

Watermelon Man, funked up from Hancock's Takin' Off (Blue Note, 1963) standard, is given a lazy, half time feel, and easily eclipses the original. Sly, is where the cool feel of the album is briefly broken for insanely energetic solos by Bennie Maupin and then Herbie. The album is finished off with Vein Melter- a deeply chilled out effort that recalls Crossings' (Warner Bros, 1971) Water Torture, and returns the album's tone back into the blue.

Head Hunters is not a perfect album(witness the drums and the bass disagreeing over tempo after the electric piano solo on Chameleon, or Vein Melter's dodgy synth strings), but I like to think that no other jazz-funk album, Hancock's or anyone elses, has ever surpassed it. It remains one of my favourite albums, and a great introduction to Herbie Hancock's funk music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
1973's Headhunters from Jazz great Herbie Hancock is a bit of an oddity in my collection. It is the one jazz rock fusion record that I actually like. Recorded just three short years after his former band leader Miles Davis had broken into the genre with Bitches Brew, Hancock manages to do what (in my opinion) Miles couldn't, and produces a fusion record that really works. With his electric piano and a talented group behind him he lays down a funky groove that is totally accessible to all. He even re-records watermelon man, a hit from his debut album 10 years previously, and transforms it into a slow burning funk classic.

And it is the word `accesssible' that is the key to this - with is experiments in dissonance and complex meandering improvisations Miles Davis was almost challenging people to enjoy Bitches Brew, but Hancock throws open the door and invites you inside for a night of dancing. It's all clever stuff, but it is enjoyable music that gets your dancing feet going as well.

This release is the Columbia 1997 reissue. It has an excellent mastering, with a clear sound. The original album is here with no extras, which seems a little bit of a shame but there you go.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essence of jazz-funk 2 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Head Hunters heralded the birth of the jazz funk era, characterised by the use of jazz reeds, electric bass, guitar and keyboards, a highly defined rhythm driven by a tight bass-and-drum relationship, riff-based compositional devices, use of sudden silences and space as rhythmic elements in themselves, and an overall electric sound that demanded to be played loud.
"Chameleon", the opening track, was immediately recognised as a major contribution to both the jazz canon and the dance canon. No riff in jazz had ever sounded as deep and thrusting as this. In spite of the widespread popularity of "Chameleon" and the legion of admirers who claim it's the greatest jazz funk track ever, the real masterpiece is "Watermelon Man".
It's mildly ironic that the best piece on the album should be one that Hancock had composed early in his career (it first appears on his first album as leader, Takin' Off, Blue Note, 1962). The 1973 version is virtually unrecognisable from the original - it retains only the blues-based progression, and Paul Jackson's detached bass figures wink distantly at Butch Warren's original blues bass line. The composition is constructed cautiously over a light ostinato pipe figure that builds up into a theme dominated by Hancock's Fender Rhodes, alternating between a staccato emphasis on the off-beat and a call-and-response dialogue between Hancock and Bennie Maupin that hovers in eerie suspension over the bass and drums.
Most significantly, the album introduces humour as a central element in the argument: jazz-funk could only be taken seriously as a genre when it mocked itself. Head Hunters drew simultaneously on Herbie Hancock's decade of playing with the jazz greats, the wah-wah sound of Jimi Hendrix's legacy, and the feverish dance sound of Sly Stone and George Clinton. And it did this with the supreme paradoxical humour of simultaneous detachment and involvement that only a master like Hancock could pull off.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funk gone mad 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Herbie Hancock saw in 'intelligent' funk with this album. 'Chameleon' rocks, but the tangy bassline still mocks itself, and 'Sly' is just gorgeous. This album really is highly recommended if you want a cross between jazz and funk that never sounds corny. Not only that, but Hancock adds a touch of gravitas and musicality to the proceedings which not all funk-meisters have been able to do. I agree with the other reviewer: mmmm...nice!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, timeless album 20 May 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This album has an absolutely timeless quality to it for several reasons. The playing of Herbie and the band is nothing short of exhilarating- the improvisation, intensity and sheer funkiness of every piece shining through. The opening track "Chameleon" has got to be one of the most satisfying openers ever. It builds from its simple funky opening into its later mood changes with sharp electronic, pulsing keyboards and earthy rhythms. My other fave piece (even though they're all good) is "Sly" as it is the most ambitious of all the tracks in terms of tempo shifts and group playing- has a mind boggling crescendo. This is jazz which is reaching the boundaries.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Was everything I was wanting. Just gotten myself into Herbie Hancock and this album is a perfect start. Loving listening to it.
Published 9 days ago by Ollie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD, excellent vendor!
Arrived quickly in excellent condition thanks. Replaces old vinyl LP nicely. I love it but wife hates jazz so I have to listen alone.
Published 3 months ago by Mr SLP Godfrey
5.0 out of 5 stars A band on fire: deep into it, and right out there
For many musicians a stint alongside one of the biggest names in their field would be the high point of their career, and of course Herbie already had the stellar brilliance of all... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Jazz sound cool again.
While this album is responsible for me getting into jazz-funk and is wonderful in a number of places, I feel that it is almost a little too catchy for its own good. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Alexander J. Dunn
4.0 out of 5 stars Herbie's last great album
This album is hugely popular and widely loved for its joyful funkyness. It's one of the (if not "the") best selling jazz albums of all time. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Falstaff
5.0 out of 5 stars A jazz/funk fusion masterpiece
Four truly funky jazz grooves on one classic Herbie Hancock album. If you have only heard the more commercial version of "Watermelon Man" the album version will be a... Read more
Published 13 months ago by sctrainer
5.0 out of 5 stars Headhunters: Herbie Hancock - Herbie goes funk for one of the best...
1973's Headhunters from Jazz great Herbie Hancock is a bit of an oddity in my collection. It is the one jazz rock fusion record that I actually like. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Victor
3.0 out of 5 stars What the funk?
My 2004 edition of The Penguin Guide to Jazz tells me this is `the biggest selling jazz record of all time`. My question is: why? Read more
Published 21 months ago by GlynLuke
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Saw Herbie live at the Festival Hall in London last year and am a huge fan. LOVED this cd. Extremely groovy! Enjoy!
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by waff
5.0 out of 5 stars Caution required
If you are not much into jazz, art, inovation, genius or music
AVOID this album.
Saw this album reviewed in a mag, bought it! Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2008 by Dude
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