Herbie Hancock – “Empyrean Isles”

  • Artist: Herbie Hancock
  • Album: Empyrean Isles
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Release Date: 1964
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Formats: CD, LP

“Empyrean Isles” represents some of the best music from the cauldron of change that was jazz in the ’60s. When he released “Empyrean Isles,” Hancock had been with Miles Davis a year, and his work on the album shows how fully he had taken advantage of the freedom that Miles offered him. Pulling his rhythm mates, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, with him into the studio, Hancock added Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. The result is a record that sounds nothing like a Miles Davis album. Instead, the pianist was able to fully satisfy his penchant for light, shimmering, ethereal melodies and tones and complex compositions. Not that he ignores catchy rhythms; “Cantalope Island,” is one of the most infectious tunes in jazz. But on “The Egg,” Hancock stretches out with a long, challenging composition that features lots of space and freedom. It’s a great cut, one that fully challenges and engages each of the top-flight members of the quartet. A great quartet it is. You’d expect Hancock, Williams and Carter to have no trouble meshing, and they are superb together. Freddie Hubbard, given the unenviable job of replacing Miles’ trumpet, takes on the task fearlessly and turns in a great overall performance on the album.

Available on both CD & LP; the latter was recently reissued by Music Matters on 2 x 45 RPM – demonstration quality.

This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *