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If not for the amazing reign of Miles Davis pianist Herbie Hancock might qualify as jazzs most well-known popular performer since the 60s Hancock had 11 albums chart during the 70s and 17 between 1973 and 1984 including three in 1974 figures that puts him well ahead of any other jazz musician in the 70s and beyond Hes also among jazzs finest eclectics having played everything from bebop to free jazz-rock fusion funk instrumental pop dance hip-hop and world fusion Hancocks style greatly influenced by Bill Evans mixes introspective and energetic elements and fuses blues and gospel influences with bebop and classical elements Hes both a great accompanist and excellent soloist whose vocals phrasing melodic and interpretative skills and harmonic sounds were impressive early in his career and remain sharp no matter what style or idiom hes working with Herbie Hancock born in 1940 began playing piano at his home in Chicago when he was seven years old He gave his first public performance two years later when he performed Mozarts D Major Piano Concerto with the Chicago Symphony when he was 11 and in high school he picked up an ear for jazz He formed his own jazz ensemble while attending Hyde Park High School He was influenced harmonically by the arrangements of Clare Fischer who provided for The Hi-Los and Robert Farnons orchestrations of pop songs After he graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa he moved to New York City and at age 20 hooked up with trumpeter Donald Byrd Byrd introduced him to Blue Note Records executives and Hancock recorded his first solo album in 1963 Taking Off which included appearances by Freddie Hubbard and Dexter Gordon This album contained Hancocks first Top 10 hit Watermelon Man Soon after Hancock got the attention of the legendary Miles Davis who invited Hancock to join his new group While working with Miles Hancock was introduced to and developed an interest in funk particularly
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