Then And Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock

Among the many highlights of 'Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock' is the classic track "Watermelon Man." The twenty-two year old Hancock wrote the soul-jazz hit for his first album 'Takin' Off' released in 1962. Hancock revealed the origins of the track on NPR's Jazz Profiles. Searching for inspiration for his own original compositions for his debut, Hancock remembered the horse drawn wagons in his native Chicago that used to travel up and down the alleys selling watermelon. The rhythm pattern of the song represents the sound of the wooden wheels going over the cobblestone. The track went on to become a Top Ten hit when it was recorded by Cuban bandleader Mongo Santamaria in 1963. That same year Hancock was invited by Miles Davis to join his legendary band.

The version of "Watermelon Man" that appears on 'The Definitive Herbie Hancock' is from the 'Head Hunters' album. Hancock revised the track as a funk classic, featuring funky drum patterns from Harvey Mason and African-influenced percussion from Bill Summers. Released in October 1973, 'Head Hunters' became the best-selling jazz release of its time, and extended its reach into the hip-hop era, as dozens of artists, including Tupac, Nas and LL Cool J to name a few, sampled his tracks for their own hits.

'Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock' is a first-ever career retrospective covering five decades of music from the multi-Grammy Award winning artist. The 12-track CD will be released September 23rd on Verve Records.

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