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Herbie Hancock

 

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own approaches to the blending of jazz with more popular elements. His Headhunters became one of the most successful fusion groups, selling large numbers of records and gaining wide popularity. Hancock had studied electrical engineering while at college, and his early training turned out to be quite useful as he delved more and more into the use of electronic instruments. Moreover, he expanded his horizons to the world of the movies, serving as musical director for a number of films, including the critically successful 'Round Midnight, starring saxophone giant Dexter Gordon, who had played on Hancock's 1963 debut record, Taking Off.

In the years since, Hancock has gone back and forth between sophisticated hard-rocking electronic dance music and more traditional acoustic jazz. Unlike many who have traveled this route, he obviously feels at home in both worlds, and even though he has been well rewarded for his more popular productions, he has never abandoned his love of purer jazz forms. Some of his acoustic ventures have a distinct whiff of nostalgia about them, especially the various reenactments of the Davis quintet, but Hancock clearly believes that these occasions should offer opportunities for more than simple reproductions of the past. He has also moved in newer directions, exemplified by his duet recording and tour with his old Davis teammate, saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

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