13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Quite a few pearls among the pile of not-so-compelling funk,
This review is from: The Complete Columbia Album Collection (Audio CD)
Much of this set, of course, comprises Hancock's synthesizer-heavy output for Columbia, and the disco/dance/funk stuff hasn't really aged so well.
Hancock and producer Rubinson probably set out to shape the sound of the future, but it was just the fad of the moment actually... Fairlight, Oberheim, Prophet, ARP synthesizers, the vocoder!... hardly any musician, any studio uses them anymore.
It's quite ironic that the music Hancock recorded during those years with a traditional, acoustic setting (piano solo, piano trio etc.) sounds more modern and fresh than the electronic music employing state-of-the-art technology of the day.
And this brings us to the good bits.
I was surprised to find how many beautiful gems you can handpick amid the funky/fusion sides. The acoustic records are uniformly great, confirming that Hancock's genius has always been there: the solo record "The Piano"; the discs in Trio (2 CDS) and the Quartet with Wynton Marsalis (1); the concert with Chick Corea (2); the V.S.O.P. quintet with Hubbard and Shorter (about 6 CDs), and the "Round Midnight" soundtrack, possibly the best record of the lot, which deservedly won him an Oscar.
Among the electronic records there is some valid stuff too: the Mwandishi Band's "Sextant" and the first Headhunters ("Head Hunters"); the beautiful solo-Hancock "Dedication" (one side acoustic, one side electronic, both highly enjoyable); the disc with Japanese singer Kimiko Kasai; the tasteful "Village Life" with Foday Musa Suso.
So, to my taste, at least half of these 34 discs are worth having... and you can currently find this set for about 110 euros / 90 pounds.
Is it reasonable? Is it expensive? It's very subjective, I guess... the good stuff is really good, the funky stuff is often lame.