25 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Herbie Hancock was already an elite composer and improviser when Miles Davis tapped him for his second great quintet in the mid-'60s. Compositions like 1962's “Watermelon Man” show the pianist's mastery of post-bop and soul-jazz styles, and the moderate tempo of Empyrean Isles—released two years later—allowed his harmonic invention to go over easy during solos. As a style scout, he had a keen vision exploring funk fusion in The Headhunters and with hip-hop textures (“Rockit”). His latter-day appearances with Thundercat and Flying Lotus underline his importance across generations.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Herbie Hancock was already an elite composer and improviser when Miles Davis tapped him for his second great quintet in the mid-'60s. Compositions like 1962's “Watermelon Man” show the pianist's mastery of post-bop and soul-jazz styles, and the moderate tempo of Empyrean Isles—released two years later—allowed his harmonic invention to go over easy during solos. As a style scout, he had a keen vision exploring funk fusion in The Headhunters and with hip-hop textures (“Rockit”). His latter-day appearances with Thundercat and Flying Lotus underline his importance across generations.

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