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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, but it is surpassed by Hancock's later output
This R'n'B-influenced first album of Hancock's is great if you are the mood for some fairly laid back jazz. Bop fans will be let down by the fairly simple chord voicings and lack of substitutions by the soloists. However, this is brilliant if you want to trace Hancock's development towards Headhunters (a decade later); especially comparing Watermelon Man on both...
Published on 1 Nov 1999

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3.0 out of 5 stars Careful, this isn't Blue Note!
I should have paid more attention - whilst this is nice and cheap and the sound quality is OK, it's a cheapo from Hallmark, not the original from Blue Note. So you don't get any liner notes and more importantly, you don't get track timings, which I personally find invaluable.
Published 11 months ago by Greybuff


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, but it is surpassed by Hancock's later output, 1 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Takin' Off (Audio CD)
This R'n'B-influenced first album of Hancock's is great if you are the mood for some fairly laid back jazz. Bop fans will be let down by the fairly simple chord voicings and lack of substitutions by the soloists. However, this is brilliant if you want to trace Hancock's development towards Headhunters (a decade later); especially comparing Watermelon Man on both albums. It is also a real confidence booster for jazz composers who feel they need to write complex, thick-textured pieces but can't quite get the feel - dig this and you'll feel you can get there soon! The only problem with this CD version is that you get the bonus tracks - it kind of spoils the magic of the solos when you hear how close the two versions sound! But, this is not to the discredit of the amazing jazz artistes present for the set. To conclude, I'd get this CD if you want to hear the development of Hancock or if you want simple, earthy music with not overly flashy solos. Personally, though my money's on Headhunters!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original Watermelon Man Recording, 19 Sep 2007
By 
Alan Cross (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Takin' Off (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) (Audio CD)
This is the RVG remaster of Herbies debut album as bandleader - at the age of 22 !!

The album opens with arguably the most famous of the great mans recordings and there is also an alternate take for real afficiandos !

By any standards this is a classic album with Freddie Hubbard on sparkling form, Dexter Gordon on tenor sax, a great rhythm section and brilliant arrangements.

The remarkable thing about this debut recording is the story behind it - Hancock grew up in Chicago where his extraordinary talent was recognised with a performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 11 - his first paid gig was with Coleman Hawkins in Chicago and his second was with Donald Byrd in New York and at the time of this recording Herbie was still at college !!

Perhaps that explains why at less than 40 minutes the original album was a bit brief - Herbie had to get his homework done !

3 alternate takes - remarkably similar to the originals stretch this recording out to 57 minutes - but every moment is a landmark in jazz and launched the career of one of the all time greats.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Careful, this isn't Blue Note!, 3 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Takin' Off (Audio CD)
I should have paid more attention - whilst this is nice and cheap and the sound quality is OK, it's a cheapo from Hallmark, not the original from Blue Note. So you don't get any liner notes and more importantly, you don't get track timings, which I personally find invaluable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Herbie Hancock's impressive debut as leader in 1962., 3 Aug 2013
By 
Jazzrook (Purbrook , Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Takin' Off (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) (Audio CD)
This was pianist/composer Herbie Hancock's debut as leader recorded for BLUE NOTE in New Jersey on May 28, 1962 with a quintet including Dexter Gordon(tenor sax); Freddie Hubbard(trumpet & flugelhorn); Butch Warren(bass) & Billy Higgins(drums).
Everyone is in superb form on six varied Hancock originals(plus three alternative takes) and the highlights include the original version of Watermelon Man(2 takes), the ballad 'Alone and I' and 'The Maze'.
'Takin' Off' is one of Herbie Hancock's finest albums containing almost an hour of inventive hard bop which still sounds fresh over 50 years later.
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Takin' Off (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)
Takin' Off (Rudy Van Gelder Edition) by Herbie Hancock (Audio CD - 2007)
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