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Future Shock

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Album Review

Herbie Hancock completely overhauled his sound and conquered MTV with his most radical step forward since the sextet days. He brought in Bill Laswell of Material as producer, along with Grand Mixer D.ST on turntables — and the immediate result was "Rockit," which makes quite a post-industrial metallic racket. Frankly, the whole record is an enigma; for all of its dehumanized, mechanized textures and rigid rhythms, it has a vitality and sense of humor that make it difficult to turn off. Moreover, Herbie can't help but inject a subversive funk element when he comps along to the techno beat — and yes, some real, honest-to-goodness jazz licks on a grand piano show up in the middle of "Auto Drive." ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

I'm disappointed in Jacks...

... for being such a close minded individual. Herbie Hancock's entire discography is about experimentation. He fields so many ranges of jazz and the theories used in it across his entire career. How could you be so close minded to insist that he's only capable of the straight-ahead jazz you find so pleasant to your ears. Regardless, this became one of the most important electronic albums of its time and really kicked off the electro sound. Yet another winner from a fascinating man and artist.

One of the most important albums ever. Never mind the snooty jazz critics.

25 years later, "Future Shock" is still considered by those in the know as being one of the most important albums of all time. Is it jazz? Maybe not. It probably should be filed in the "Electronica" section, rather than being stacked next to "Maiden Voyage". Is it good music? Absolutely! It may not sound like a big deal to the kids of today, but in 1983, this album was groundbreaking (not to mention the "Rockit" video), and it still sounds as fresh and vital as it did then. Jazz purists deride Hancock for producing this album, but jazz purists don't understand innovation in musicality. Herbie Hancock does. What about jazz is "pure", after all? The cultural importance of this album cannot be overestimated.

Herbie's the man

Who cares about John, Herbie is the real Hancock, his unique style is amazing and way ahead of its time.


Born: April 12, 1940 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Herbie Hancock will always be one of the most revered and controversial figures in jazz -- just as his employer/mentor Miles Davis was when he was alive. Unlike Miles, who pressed ahead relentlessly and never looked back until near the very end, Hancock has cut a zigzagging forward path, shuttling between almost every development in electronic and acoustic jazz and R&B over the last third of the 20th century and into the 21st. Though grounded in Bill Evans and able to absorb blues, funk, gospel,...
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