Herbie Hancock: Watermelon Man


Watermelon Man


Herbie Hancock (piano)


Takin’ Off (Blue Note 37643)

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Herbie Hancock (piano), Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Butch Warren (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).

Composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., May 28, 1962


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Appearing on Herbie Hancock’s first album as a leader, the catchy “Watermelon Man,” with its strong backbeat and earthy quality, quickly became extremely popular. A Latin pop-jazz version issued a short time later by the Afro-Cuban percussionist-bandleader Mongo Santamaria became a major hit and led to numerous other recordings of the song over the years. Hancock himself released a new, electronically enhanced funk version on his 1973 album Head Hunters. Tenorist Dexter Gordon’s solo on the original track is as down-and-dirty as any he ever recorded.

Reviewer: David Franklin

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