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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Maiden Voyage (180g) [VINYL]
Format: Vinyl|Change
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on 2 June 2001
The players on Maiden Voyage are essentially those of the Miles Davis band - but how different from Miles' records it sounds and feels! In 1965, Herbie Hancock's leadership and vision were rapidly taking shape.
This album placed Hancock firmly in the company of the great jazz musicians. He had proved his mettle as an innovative and individual pianist on such excellent records as Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil (Blue Note, 1964) and Miles' E.S.P. (Columbia, 1965), both recorded only months before. Now he led a group he knew intimately, and wrote enduring pieces for the date that were to become admired for decades to come.
The title track sets the tone for the whole record: subtle, measured, contemplative. It's the first solo opportunity for the perpetually underrated George Coleman, who displays virtuosity without arrogance, elegance without contrivance, depth of feeling without sentimentality.
Impeccably orchestrated pieces like "Little One" and the closing "Dolphin Dance" establish Herbie Hancock as the complete musician: inimitable pianist, creative composer, charismatic leader, supreme stylist.
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on 21 October 2017
Just wonderful.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 3 August 2013
Pianist/composer Herbie Hancock recorded this wonderful quintet album in New Jersey on March 17, 1965 with tenor saxophonist George Coleman, bassist Ron Carter & drummer Tony Williams - all members of the Miles Davis Quintet of the time - plus Freddie Hubbard on trumpet.
Everyone is in superb form on five memorable Hancock compositions which were inspired by aspects of the sea and the album has been compared to Debussy's 'La Mer' by jazz critic Joachim Berendt.
'Maiden Voyage' is a lyrical and accessible modern jazz classic which still sounds fresh almost 50 years later.
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on 30 October 2014
Great album but not the easiest to get into. Bought the CD to play in the car prior to getting the Music Matters audiophile LP which is on their next releases I believe.
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on 30 March 2009
Pre-funk Herbie (and all the better for that, some might think)- a classic album which stands the test of time and should be in your collection. Even people who don't like jazz like this.
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VINE VOICEon 22 February 2004
As prolific an artist as Herbie Hancock has been over 40 years, this album endures as probably his best. He had made a startling contribution to 60s jazz already with the excellent debut album, 'Takin off' and the follow up, 'Empyrean Isles.' Although they contained more obvious 'hits in the form of 'Watermelon Man' and the wonderful 'Canteloupe Island,' this is his most consistent album.
Part of the lasting appeal of this record is its thematic approach, as all five tracks come across as part of the same whole, almost like a classical suite, with the ocean as its 'subject matter.' This was an unusual and bold step in the field of jazz but the music's descriptive nature is one of the reasons that people remember the whole record rather than just five individual tracks. It is a key part of the album's appeal, and most importantly, it works. The music is successfully subject driven rather than style orientated, and is both highly original and atmospheric throughout.
The obvious masterpiece of the album is the title track itself, a piece which slowly gets under your skin, and gets better with each listen. Hancock's steady repeated pattern gently grounds the whole piece, and Freddie Hubbard plays a superb solo alternating between calm tranquility, and majestic power.
The rest of the album ranges from the gently swinging 'Dolphin Dance,' the quiet beauty of the 'Little One' (also recorded by Miles Davis' quintet on ESP), to the menacing 'Eye of the Hurricane' and the thrill ride of 'Survival of the Fittest.' The whole band is brilliant, each following the leader's concept with music of lasting value. Freddie Hubbard not only confirms, but enhances his reputation as one of the most versatile and important soloists in jazz at the time, Joe Henderson is slightly less to the fore but is still excellent and the rhythm section are on the ball throughout.
One of the great 60s jazz albums and an essential part of anything like a jazz collection.
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on 28 May 2004
By now, Herbie Hancock was reaching a point were every convention, every facet of jazz he had experienced before was reaching near perfection in his compositions. He had already acheieved fame and lucratove offers from Blue Notes records, so finance was more or less assured. He was lucky. He had time to plan his works and choose the musicians he wanted. And Hancock was not a man to let such an opportunity just whizz by. This album proves that.
The sound and it's purpose is almost overpowering. It is a brilliant manifestation of the sea through sound. Particularly the opening and closing tracks capture the life of the sea and the sway and lull of the waves.
The playing on the musicians part is as always superb. Vocal resonance eminates from the saxophone and trumpet courtesy of Freddie Hubbard and George Coleman, bass strengthens the sound and gives it that woody, but flexible edge (Ron Carter). Tony Williams plays the drums as though they were an extention of his mind! The correctness of it all is overpowering. Herbie himself is genius at the keyboard. Particularly on Maiden Voyage, that piece which demands so much control and precision not only in tone, but dynamic and communication - it's handled brilliantly.
As I said earlier, Hancock had now reached a point where everything was just right. But, his mind would soon lean him in another, vastly more inventive direction. This album however, when compared also with the 60's standards 'Speak Like a Child' and 'My Point of View', is a more mature take on jazz. Jazz, which is flexible to every corner and desire the composer imposes - here it still feels at home. As at home as it feels on 'Headhunters', or the bouncy, brilliant tunes on 'Takin' Off'. Not only is that testament to jazz, but it is testament to Hancock's vision and technique in the studio.
This is simply a definitive jazz record, it is one of a kind and not only that - it sounds darn good for it.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 13 June 2011
This is an album to live with, play in different moods, let grow on you, get to know and appreciate its subtleties. I don't quite agree with the fellow-reviewer who suggests that if you like Miles's Kind of Blue, then you'll like this. I don`t hear too much of a likeness, but I would say that if you like Miles's In A Silent Way or ESP - or indeed any of the 'lighter' Miles records of that era - then you may well dig this too.
There's a ruminative, pastoral feel to most of this somewhat impressionistic set from 1965. It shimmers, flows and glows, Herbie's gliding piano phrasing buoying up the soloists unobtrusively much of the time, occasionally taking the spotlight himself, as on Survival Of The Fittest, a restless number on which HH plays a beautiful, mercurial solo, or the closing Dolphin Dance, his quietly insistent inventiveness paying happy dividends.
Tony Williams's percussion is superlative throughout - what a very fine drummer he was - and there is evocative work from the superb trumpet of Freddie Hubbard and the rather underrated George Coleman on tenor sax. Bassist Ron Carter is reliable as ever.
What this early HH disc has is plenty of breathing space. I'm listening to it now as the June evening sun brightens and my windows are flooding light into my room where I type this. It couldn't be more fitting. Yet there's strength in this music too, not only a spiritual pulse, though that's certainly evident.
These Blue Note reissues (at least the ones I have) sound like they were recorded yesterday. Rudy Van Gelder has done as good a job producing this remaster as he has with others in the series.
This one's a grower, and the more I listen to it, the more I like and admire it.

Lovely music, played with love.
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on 5 October 2006
Like the sea itself, Maiden Voyage is vast and epic- flirting with adventure and myth. It is Herbie Hancock's tour de force- what the wonderous Speak No Evil was to his Blue Note peer, Wayne Shorter- ie. representing the composer/pianist at his imaginitive peak. We can only imagine what kind of zone Freddie Hubbard, George Coleman, Ron Carter and Tony Williams must have been during the recording of this masterpiece- so wonderfully coherent yet brimming with subtle musical conflict. And Hancock's playing is simply majestic.

The opening track is stunningly simple- you might feel a little uninspired by the low-key opening, but then, all of a sudden, it all opens out beautifully during the trumpet solo. This short flourish embodies the enitre tone of the album and indeed the majesty of the ocean in its sense of wonder and awe.

After the fast-and-furious Eye of the Hurricaine, Hancock, with Little One, reminds us of his ability to produce deeply complex and challenging, yet incredibly beautiful compositions. It's probably my favourite track of the album.

Survival of the Fittest recalls The Egg, from Empyrean Isles(Blue Note, 1964) in its open improvisational structure. The sense of conflict and frantic struggle is briliantly portrayed, and the listener is unsure of whether the music is hideous, or beautiful.

To round off, Herbie returns to laid-back territory with Dolphin Dance- fresh enough to clear our musical palette after what has preceded.

While the briliant playing ability of this wonderful quintet is unquestionable, for me, it's Herbie's writing that makes album what it is. Maiden Voyage works as more of a "Love Supreme-esq" suite, rather than an album of five separate tracks. Not always easily listenable, always completley compelling, music is rarely this powerful.
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on 23 November 2003
This is probably the best jazz album of the 1960s by far in terms of a complete listening experience and a complete collaboration by all the musicians involved (I could have included Miles, Eric Dolphy or others but to me this is the crystal sound of a true artist at work). The title track has become a classic and out of very simple materials, the insight by Herbie being in the voicings of the chords rather than in any awesome display of skill. This is therefore a very harmonically based album but with some wonerful melodies (Dolphin Dance being a particular swinging, languid number). This is perhaps one of Jazz's first concept albums - a meditation on the power and poetic nature of the sea. The rhythm section is, as always considering that it is Miles' houseband, superb but George Coleman's sax given ample foil by Freddie Hubberds wonderfully agressive trumpet playing is absolutely riviting. Contemplative, lyrical, right on the button. Buy it if you are unlucky enough to have never heard it. If you have heard it buy this CD issue - the sound is superb.
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