Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage


Maiden Voyage


Herbie Hancock (piano)


Maiden Voyage (Blue Note 95331)

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Herbie Hancock (piano), George Coleman (tenor sax), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Ron Carter (bass), Tony Williams (drums).

Composed by Herbie Hancock


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., March 17, 1965


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

“Maiden Voyage” uses more static harmonic areas than a tune with a lot of fast moving changes. The first section moves from a D-suspended chord to an F-suspended chord, and the rhythmic feel is a cross between a straight eighth-note feel and a sort of Latin vibe. Instead of moving through a lot of harmonic changes, the song stays on these areas for a longer period of time. The way Herbie plays on it is less a question of lines than that he’s using the harmonic space as a springboard to play a great variety of musical ideas. Herbie's way of playing over the changes is so fresh, and the rhythmic feel is relaxed but intense at the same time. He's not playing through II-V-I standards harmony, or even bebop harmony. It’s much more of a modal thing. The song gives him time to flesh out ideas, some involving lines, and some of which are much more harmonic or rhythmic. I think that during this period when a lot of modal playing was happening, a lot of players were looking to slow down the harmonic movement of the tunes to allow a certain space to occur in order to allow a variety of melodic, rhythmic and textural ideas to develop within the solo. It’s not just playing lines over those chords, which could sound boring after a while. Herbie’s ideas follow each other logically, but there’s a feeling of contrast, of dialogue or a sort of discourse, where he presents one idea, then the next, and a story is being told. He’s also a very interactive player, and he’s feeding off of what’s happening in the rhythm section.

Reviewer: Uri Caine

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