The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Head Hunting: Legacy Celebrates Herbie Hancock With 34-CD “Complete Columbia Album Collection”

with 10 comments

Herbie box coverWhen the 67-year old pianist and composer Herbie Hancock picked up the Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the 50th annual awards ceremony in 2008, he was making history.  His River: The Joni Letters became only the second jazz album to take the prize, and the first in over four decades – since 1964’s Getz/Gilberto, from Stan (Getz) and Joao (Gilberto).   Hancock, who earlier in the night had participated in a tribute to those who came before – including Miles Davis, with whom he famously served as part of the trumpeter’s Second Great Quintet with Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams – was never shy about his acknowledging his predecessors even as he pushed the limits of jazz composition and style.  By 2008, he had long been a part of the firmament himself, however, inspiring younger generations to find their own improvisatory voices.  “I’d like to thank the Academy for courageously breaking the mold this time, [and] in doing so, honoring the giants upon whose shoulders I stand, some of whom like Miles Davis, John Coltrane…unquestionably deserved the award in the past,” Hancock noted onstage. “But this is a new day that proves that the impossible can be made possible.”  Now, Sony’s Legacy Recordings is doing the impossible with the November 12 release of Hancock’s The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988.

This deluxe box set, first mooted years ago, contains all 31 albums – on 34 CDs – from Hancock’s impressive Columbia tenure, including the first U.S. release of eight albums originally released by CBS/Sony in Japan only. Three other albums have never been issued on CD in the U.S. (Sunlight, Magic Windows, Lite Me Up), and some that have been issued on CD are returning to the format after a long absence.  In addition, a number of discs in the box set contain bonus tracks.

After the jump, we have plenty more details on what you can expect from this deluxe package!

Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock of Chicago, Illinois began his association with Columbia Records while part of Davis’ remarkable Second Great Quintet.  He appeared as part of the group beginning with 1965’s E.S.P., all the while maintaining a career as leader at Blue Note.  (He also made numerous other appearances as an in-demand sideman during this landmark early period.)  In 1969, he moved over to Warner Bros. Records before finding a long-term home at Columbia in 1973 with Sextant, the first album in the new box set.  It was quickly followed by Head Hunters, on which he was joined by Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson, Bill Summers and Harvey Mason.  Head Hunters blended jazz and funk, becoming one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time and a watershed moment for jazz-fusion.  The album, with four lengthy tracks including three originals and a new interpretation of Hancock’s hard-bop period “Watermelon Man,” remains a high point in his career.  He remained at Columbia through 1988’s Perfect Machine, all the way exploring, experimenting, and innovating.

Herbie packshot

The Complete Columbia Album Collection allows the listener to trace Hancock’s art from the evolution from the “Mwandishi” Sextet to the Head Hunters to the Herbie Hancock Group to the V.S.O.P. group.  The latter band reprised the line-up of Davis’ Second Great Quintet, with Freddie Hubbard (no slouch himself) standing in for Miles.  Along with Herbie Hancock Trio and Quartet lineups, Hancock stretched on solo projects and a duet concert with another piano/keyboard great (and Davis alumnus) Chick Corea.  Soundtracks to Death Wish (1974) and Round Midnight (1986) are also included in the box.

Collectors will also likely salivate at the inclusion of the eight CBS/Sony Japan albums: Dedication (solo, both acoustic and electric, live in the studio, without overdubs, 1974); Flood (the Head Hunters Band live, 1975); The Herbie Hancock Trio (with Ron Carter and Tony Williams, studio, 1977); Tempest in the Colosseum (V.S.O.P. with Hubbard, Shorter, Carter, and Williams, live, 1977); Directstep (full band, studio, direct-to-disc, 1978);  Five Stars (V.S.O.P. lineup, their only studio album, direct-to-disc, 1979); Butterfly (full electric band with singer Kimiko Kasai, studio, 1979); and Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams (studio, 1981).  Two more albums recorded and released in Japan were reissued in 2004 by Columbia/Legacy for the first time on CD in the U.S. with bonus tracks.  The extras have been retained for The Piano (solo, acoustic piano, direct-to-disc, 1978, recorded one week after Directstep); and V.S.O.P. / Live Under The Sky (1979).

Produced by Grammy winner Richard Seidel, The Complete Columbia Album Collection is housed in a deluxe box with a removable lid.  Each album will be packaged in a mini-LP replica of the original jacket, with original artwork including gatefolds where applicable.  Most impressively, the set boasts a 200-page book.  Another Grammy winner, Bob Belden, has contributed a 5,500-word essay plus album-by-album notes from Hancock discographer/historian Max Schlueter.  And that’s still not all.  The label is promising “one of the most detailed discographies ever included in a Legacy box set, assembled by box producer Richard Seidel.  Included are full musician lineups and instrumentation, recording data (dates, producers, engineers, mixers, studios, etc.), exact original release dates in both the U.S. and Japan, cross references for additional appearances of various songs elsewhere in the box, Billboard chart information, R.I.A.A. certifications, and a short-form discography of Hancock’s solo recording career before and after his Columbia years.”

Also included in the book will be sidebars on Hancock as pianist, composer and synthesist, written by Belden.  Schlueter has written a sidebar, too, on noted record producer David Rubinson, who produced all but six of the albums in the box set.  Another sidebar is devoted to Hancock’s late sister, the lyricist Jean Hancock.  The total immersion continues with a glossary of the more than 60 different electronic instruments played by Hancock and the other musicians throughout the albums.  Mark Wilder and Maria Triana at Battery Studios have completely remastered The Complete Columbia Album Collection for optimum sound.

Herbie Hancock, now 73, shows no sign of slowing down.  But The Complete Columbia Album Collection allows an unprecedented chance to rediscover his art in the most comprehensive context available.  It hits stores on November 12, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!

The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 (Columbia/Legacy 88697 72408-2, 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Sextant (Columbia KC 32212, 1973)

  1. Rain Dance
  2. Hidden Shadows
  3. Hornets

Disc 2: Head Hunters (Columbia KC 32731, 1973)

  1. Chameleon
  2. Watermelon Man
  3. Sly
  4. Vein Melter

Disc 3: Dedication (CBS/Sony SOPM 165 (JP), 1974) *

  1. Maiden Voyage
  2. Dolphin Dance
  3. Nobu
  4. Cantaloupe Island

Disc 4: Thrust (Columbia PC 32965, 1974)

  1. Palm Grease
  2. Actual Proof
  3. Butterfly
  4. Spank-A-Lee

Disc 5: Death Wish: Original Soundtrack (Columbia PC 33199, 1974)

  1. Death Wish (Main Title)
  2. Joanna’s Theme
  3. Do a Thing
  4. Paint Her Mouth
  5. Rich Country
  6. Suite Revenge
  7. Ochoa Knose
  8. Party People
  9. Fill Your Hand

Disc 6: Flood (CBS/Sony SOPZ 98/99 (JP), 1975) *

  1. Introduction & Maiden Voyage
  2. Actual Proof
  3. Spank-A-Lee
  4. Watermelon Man
  5. Butterfly
  6. Chameleon
  7. Hang Up Your Hang Ups

Disc 7: Man-Child (Columbia PC 33812, 1975)

  1. Hang Up Your Hang Ups
  2. Sun Touch
  3. The Traitor
  4. Bubbles
  5. Steppin’ in It
  6. Heartbeat

Disc 8: Secrets (Columbia PC 34280, 1976)

  1. Doin’ It
  2. People Music
  3. Cantaloupe Island
  4. Spider
  5. Gentle Thoughts
  6. Swamp Rat
  7. Sansho Shima

Discs 9-10: V.S.O.P. (Columbia PG 34688, 1976)

  1. Piano Introduction
  2. Maiden Voyage
  3. Nefertiti
  4. Introduction of Players/The Eye of the Hurricane
  1. Toys
  2. Introductions
  3. You’ll Know When You Get There
  4. Hang Up Your Hang Ups
  5. Spider

Disc 10: The Herbie Hancock Trio (CBS/Sony 25AP 60 (JP), 1977) *

  1. Watch It
  2. Speak Like a Child
  3. Watcha Waitin’ For
  4. Look (aka “Harvest Time”)
  5. Milestones

Disc 11: V.S.O.P.: The Quintet (Columbia C2 34976, 1977)

  1. One of a Kind
  2. Third Plane
  3. Jessica
  4. Lawra
  5. Darts
  6. Dolores
  7. Little Waltz
  8. Byrdlike

Disc 12: V.S.O.P.: Tempest in The Colosseum (CBS/Sony 40AP 771/2 (JP), 1977) *

  1. The Eye of the Hurricane
  2. Diana
  3. Eighty-One
  4. Maiden Voyage
  5. Lawra
  6. Red Clay

Discs 13-14: An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea in Concert (Columbia PC2 35663, 1978)

  1. Someday My Prince Will Come
  2. Liza
  3. Button Up
  1. Introduction of Herbie Hancock by Chick Corea
  2. February Moment
  3. Maiden Voyage
  4. La Fiesta

Disc 14: Sunlight (Columbia JC 34907, 1978) **

  1. I Thought It Was You
  2. Come Running to Me
  3. Sunlight
  4. No Means Yes
  5. Good Question

Disc 15: Feets Don’t Fail Me Now (Columbia JC 35764, 1978)

  1. You Bet Your Love
  2. Trust Me
  3. Ready or Not
  4. Tell Everybody (Disco Version) (12″ A-side – Columbia 43-11019, 1979)
  5. Honey from the Jar
  6. Knee Deep
  7. Tell Everybody (Original Album Version)

Disc 16: Directstep (CBS/Sony 30AP 1032 (JP), 1978) *

  1. Butterfly
  2. Shiftless Shuffle
  3. I Thought It Was You

Disc 17: The Piano (CBS/Sony 30 AP 1033 (JP), 1978)

  1. My Funny Valentine
  2. On Green Dolphin Street
  3. Someday My Prince Will Come
  4. Harvest Time
  5. Sonrisa
  6. Manhattan Island
  7. Blue Otani
  8. My Funny Valentine (Alternate Take)
  9. On Green Dolphin Street (Alternate Take)
  10. Someday My Prince Will Come (Alternate Take)
  11. Harvest Time (Alternate Take)

Tracks 8-11 from Columbia CD CK 87083, 2004

Discs 18-19: V.S.O.P. The Quintet: Live Under the Sky (CBS/Sony 40 AP 1037-1038 (JP), 1979)

  1. Opening
  2. The Eye of the Hurricane
  3. Tear Drop
  4. Domo
  5. Para Oriente
  6. Pee Wee
  7. One of Another Kind
  8. Fragile
  1. Opening
  2. The Eye of the Hurricane
  3. Tear Drop
  4. Domo
  5. Para Oriente
  6. Pee Wee
  7. One of Another Kind
  8. Fragile
  9. Stella by Starlight
  10. On Green Dolphin Street

Disc 2 released on Columbia CD C2K 87165, 2004

Disc 19: V.S.O.P. The Quintet: Five Stars (CBS/Sony 30AP 1036 (JP), 1979) *

  1. Skagly
  2. Finger Painting
  3. Mutants on the Beach
  4. Circe
  5. Skagly (CD Version)
  6. Finger Painting (CD Version)

Tracks 5-6 from CBS/Sony CD 38DP 38 (JP), 1983)

Disc 20: Kimiko Kasai with Herbie Hancock: Butterfly (CBS/Sony 25AP-1350 (JP), 1979) *

  1. I Thought It Was You
  2. Tell Me a Bedtime Story
  3. Head in the Clouds
  4. Maiden Voyage
  5. Harvest Time
  6. Sunlight
  7. Butterfly
  8. As

Disc 21: Monster (Columbia JC 36415, 1980)

  1. Saturday Night
  2. Stars in Your Eyes
  3. Go for It
  4. Don’t Hold It In
  5. Making Love
  6. It All Comes Round

Disc 22: Mr. Hands (Columbia JC 36578, 1980)

  1. Spiraling Prism
  2. Calypso
  3. Just Around the Corner
  4. 4 A.M.
  5. Shiftless Shuffle
  6. Textures

Disc 23: Magic Windows (Columbia FC 37837, 1981) **

  1. Magic Number
  2. Tonite’s the Night
  3. Everybody’s Broke
  4. Help Yourself
  5. Satisfied with Love
  6. The Twilight Clone

Disc 24: Herbie Hancock Trio with Ron Carter + Tony Williams (CBS/Sony AP-2190 (JP), 1981) *

  1. Stablemates
  2. Dolphin Dance
  3. A Slight Smile
  4. That Old Black Magic
  5. La Maison Goree

Disc 25: Quartet (Columbia C2 38275, 1981)

  1. Well You Needn’t
  2. Round Midnight
  3. Clear Ways
  4. A Quick Sketch
  5. The Eye of the Hurricane
  6. Parade
  7. The Sorcerer
  8. Pee Wee
  9. I Fall in Love Too Easily

Disc 26: Lite Me Up (Columbia FC 37928, 1982) **

  1. Lite Me Up!
  2. The Bomb
  3. Gettin’ to the Good Part
  4. Paradise
  5. Can’t Hide Your Love
  6. The Fun Tracks
  7. Motor Mouth
  8. Give It All Your Heart

Disc 27: Future Shock (Columbia CK 38814, 1983)

  1. Rockit
  2. Future Shock
  3. TFS
  4. Earth Beat
  5. Autodrive
  6. Rough
  7. Rockit (Mega Mix) (12″ A-side – Columbia 44-04960, 1984)

Disc 28: Sound-System (Columbia CK 39478, 1984)

  1. Hardrock
  2. Metal Beat
  3. Karabali
  4. Junku
  5. People Are Changing
  6. Sound-System
  7. Metal Beat (Extended Version) (12″ A-side – Columbia 44-04637, 1984)

Disc 29: Herbie Hancock and Foday Musa Suso: Village Life (Columbia CK 39870, 1984)

  1. Moon/Light
  2. Ndan Ndan Nyaria
  3. Early Warning
  4. Kanatente

Disc 30: Round Midnight: Original Soundtrack (Columbia CK 40464, 1985)

  1. Round Midnight
  2. Body and Soul
  3. Berengere’s Nightmare
  4. Fair Weather
  5. Una Noche Con Francis
  6. The Peacocks
  7. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  8. Rhythm-a-Ning
  9. Still Time
  10. Minuit a Champs Elysses
  11. Chan’s Song (Never Said)

Disc 31: Perfect Machine (Columbia CK 40025, 1988)

  1. Perfect Machine
  2. Obsession
  3. Vibe Alive
  4. Beat Wise
  5. Maiden Voyage/P. Bop
  6. Chemical Residue
  7. Vibe Alive (Extended Dance Mix) (12″ A-side – Columbia 44-07804, 1988)
  8. Beat Wise (12” Edit) (12″ A-side – Columbia 44-07896, 1988)

* previously unreleased in the U.S.
** previously unreleased on CD

Written by Joe Marchese

July 31, 2013 at 14:09

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. As of July 30th, the links are active, but neither or are actually accepting preorders yet.

    Philip Cohen

    July 31, 2013 at 14:23

  2. Those were the days….when an artist released as many as FIVE new albums each year. Now, it is one every 5 years for many artists.


    July 31, 2013 at 15:32

  3. Are the Quad versions going to be included?

    Neil Wilkes

    August 1, 2013 at 05:17

    • No, of course not. Sony stopped supporting surround sound many years ago, when they stopped releasing SACD’s.

      Philip Cohen

      August 1, 2013 at 05:34

  4. Hopefuly this is all remastered …

    Ron de Joode

    August 3, 2013 at 07:30

    • It certainly is, Ron! 🙂 See above: “Mark Wilder and Maria Triana at Battery Studios have completely remastered ‘The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ for optimum sound…”

      Joe Marchese

      August 3, 2013 at 09:55

  5. As much as I love and respect his music… I’m not sure I need 31 albums from his ’70-’80 period… which maybe be ok, but certainly not his finest moment.
    And for $ 220?… ehr…. thank you but noooooo thank you.
    I guess I’ll stick to my complete blue note 60’s sessions and to Miles’s second quintet… I strongly suggest the Live at the Plugged Nickel records… that’s SOME Harbie Hancock 🙂


    August 6, 2013 at 08:28

    • I meant Herbie, of course 🙂


      August 6, 2013 at 08:30

  6. Most disappointing is that, wherever(and with whatever labels) it is contractually possible, that Herbie Hancock is extremely (totally) restrictive about the release of previously unreleased material. in the 4-CD “The Herbie Hancock Box”, Hancock permitted exactly ONE unreleased track, and in this 34-disc box, Hancock won’t permit even one unreleased track. Undoubtedly, unsuccessful attempts to get Hancock to relent, is why this boxed set has been postponed for years.

    Philip Cohen

    August 6, 2013 at 08:39

  7. I too am a big Herbie fan. Already own 12 titles (7 remastered). Then there’s 8 I could do without. It’s a shame they didn’t release the Japan only/ V.S.O.P. material as separate boxes. Will have to think long and hard about this.

    John C.

    August 6, 2013 at 12:39

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: