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Comment: Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters - CD - US Pressing - Columbia - 1997 - 4 Track (ck65123), Condition (Sleeve/Disc) ex/ex. Worldwide shipping. Quick dispatch. International orders sent Airmail.
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Head Hunters

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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100 Albums That Shook The World
Jazz music publication Jazzwise, has collated a list of albums that have changed jazz. Browse the 100 albums that shook the world.
£5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 11 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
100 Albums That Shook The World
Jazz music publication Jazzwise, has collated a list of albums that have changed jazz. Browse the 100 albums that shook the world.


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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 (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,924 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

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

Product Description

Product Description

Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters - Cd

Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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By A Customer on 2 Jun. 2001
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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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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having reached that peculiar age where there would appear to be more past than future I have embarked upon a project of back tracking all the music that has affected me in some way throughout the years

This amazing and boundary busting album from the early 1970s does not disappoint on re hearing, indeed the sounds from Mr Hancock and co transported me back to a carefree summertime with the intensity that true nostalgia can bring.

The album is a jazz funk oriented blast that satisfies every one of my musical molecules; with just four tracks the music can explore and experiment without a trace of longeuse
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Format: Audio CD
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 those superlative Miles recordings behind him. Did he kick back, relax, and wait for the cheques to drop through the letterbox? Nope.

Aged circa 33 at the time this monstrosity of jazz funk was waxed he'd already struck out on his own, and travelled from the familiar turf of his post-Miles Blue Note territory via the jazzed up R'n'B grease of Fat Albert to the more outré sounds of his Mwandishi-era recordings. All of these elements gradually came to coalesce around the period of Headhunters and Thrust, to give us some truly sublime music that combines outer-limits chops with maximum vibes and group cohesion.

The big track is Chameleon, which continues to survive being done to death by aspiring funkateers in jam sessions and gigs around the world to this day. Most young bucks just go for the A-section, with the distinctive horn line atop Herbie's synth bassline (usually heard on bass guitar: Jackson's high bass lick, with the bent note, getting lost, sadly): it's rare you hear bands copping the next two segments. Whilst the whole piece is fabulous, some might be jaded by the overexposure to the signature section. I still love it all, but my favourite part has alway actually been the bit after Harvey Mason's deliciously rudimentary breakdown, on snare and hi-hat, which launches into a kind of almost Latin-fusion vibe, and just gets immensely intense (and speeds up!). This track on its own guarantees that this album remains essential, a true 'standard' of the fusion era.

But all the other tracks are excellent, even if they don't necessarily burn with the same stellar intensity.
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