New Herbie Hancock box set chronicles key 'Mwandishi' period

Following on from the recent of pianist Herbie Hancock's many evolving years with Columbia Records a new 3 CD box containing his earlier work on Warner Brothers from 1969 - 1972 is to be released in the UK on August 21st.

Following on from the recent epic 34 CD box set of pianist Herbie Hancock's many evolving years with Columbia Records a new 3 CD box containing his earlier work on Warner Brothers from 1969 - 1972 is to be released in the UK on August 21st. The work from Herbie's so called 'Mwandishi' period, named after the album that paved the way for Herbie's game changing sound in the early 1970s with the Headhunters, includes Mwandishi and two key albums recorded either side. 

1969's Fat Albert Rotunda is Herbie's first sortie into jazz funk producing  soundtrack music for comedian Bill Cosby's Fat Albert cartoon show with a strong jazz line-up including Joe Henderson on tenor sax, trumpeter Johnny Coles and bass man Buster Williams. The result is a lasting infectious r&b driven sound with sophisticated horns and funky grooves.

Mwandishi remains a landmark album not only for Herbie but for jazz with deep eclectic electronic recordings influenced very much by the new direction Miles Davis was heading. Afro-centric titles and assigned names for band members lay the pathway for Herbie's deep unapologetic jazz funk of the next few years and the beginnings of a legendary band including reed man Bennie Maupin (Mwile) who himself returns for the EFG London Jazz Festival in November this year. 

Completing the set is the hitherto rare Crossings album from 1972. This is Herbie's tenth album as leader and ties the ancient African imagery on the cover to searching synth driven explorations including a 24 minute opener and two more cuts written by sideman Bennie Maupin. The band includes the same players from Mwandishi with saxophonist Bennie Maupin, Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Julian Priester on trombone, Buster Williams on bass and Billy Hart on drums.

The Warner Brothers recordings have been reissued before but this time all three albums are attractively presented in mini original album covers, each CD with extra material, and clammed into a box with extensive booklet.

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