Cherry Red’s Robinsongs imprint recently paired Herbie Hancock’s 1978 and 1979 albums Sunlight and Feets Don’t Fail Me Now on one 2-CD set. Now, Robinsongs has looked back to bring three original Hancock albums for Columbia Records together as one 2-CD package: 1974’s Thrust, 1975’s Man-Child, and 1976’s Secrets. All three of these albums were Jazz No. 1 records; these reissues sweeten the deal by adding rare single versions to the track line-ups.
Thrust was the American follow-up to Hancock’s groundbreaking, chart-topping exercise in funk and fusion, Head Hunters (the artist was concurrently recording for CBS Japan). The pianist-composer-leader and his co-producer David Rubinson were joined by Bennie Maupin on saxophones/clarinet/flute, Paul Jackson on electric bass, Mike Clark on drums (replacing Harvey Mason from Head Hunters) and Bill Summers on percussion for another taut, four-song funk romp. In Hancock and Maupin’s “Butterfly,” Hancock introduced one of his most enduring compositions. He would return it to it multiple times over the years on various live and studio albums. All four songs from Thrust were released by Columbia in single edits, and those singles all appear here as bonus tracks. The album was another smash, going to the top of the Jazz chart in the U.S. and making No. 2 R&B and No. 13 on the Billboard 200.
David Rubinson and the band returned for 1975’s Man-Child, which delved even further into the space-age funk idiom with the addition of guitars. Melvin “Wah-Wah Watson” Ragin, DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight and David T. Walker all added electric guitar to Man-Child, while the beefed-up band also welcomed Hancock’s old Miles Davis Quintet cohort Wayne Shorter, Ernie Watts, Jim Horn, and even Stevie Wonder. At six songs, the grooves on Man-Child were tighter, and there was less full-band improvisation. Robinsongs has added two bonus tracks, both sides of the single “Hang Up Your Hangs Up” b/w “Sun Touch,” to this No. 1 Jazz/No. 6 R&B/No. 21 Pop success.
The third and final LP preserved on this set, Secrets, largely found Hancock in a breezy, mellow mood. He was joined by the returning “Wah Wah” Watson as well as vets Jackson and Maupin, and also welcomed Ray Parker Jr. on guitar, Kenneth Nash on percussion, and James Gadson on drums. Hancock flirted with disco on the opening track “Doin’ It,” co-written with Parker, and reinvented his classic “Cantaloupe Island” from his Blue Note days with the dancefloor in mind. Secrets, in addition to being Hancock’s fourth consecutive Jazz No. 1, made No. 8 R&B and No. 49 Pop. The single version of “Doin’ It” and its B-side, the edit of “People Music,” are both here as bonus tracks.
Lois Wilson has contributed a concise essay to this package, and it has been remastered by Alan Wilson. Note that, in order to accommodate all three albums on two discs, the Man-Child album has been spread over two CDs, and its accompanying bonus cuts actually are sequenced before the album itself. Thrust/Man-Child/Secrets, chronicling one of the most vivid and fertile periods of Herbie Hancock’s long and impressive career pushing the boundaries of jazz, is available now from Robinsongs!
- Palm Grease
- Actual Proof
- Palm Grease (Single Version)
- Actual Proof (Single Version)
- Butterfly (Single Version)
- Spank-a-Lee (Single Version)
- Hang Up Your Hang Ups (Single Version)
- Sun Touch (Single Version)
- Hang Up Your Hang Ups
- Sun Touch
- The Traitor
- Steppin’ in It
- Doin’ It
- People Music
- Cantaloupe Island
- Gentle Thoughts
- Swamp Rat
- Sansho Shima
- Doin’ It (Single Version)
- People Music (Single Version)
CD 1, Tracks 1-4 from Thrust, Columbia PC 32965, 1974
CD 1, Tracks 5 & 7 from Columbia single 3-10050, 1974
CD 1, Tracks 6 & 8 from Columbia single 3-10094, 1974
CD 1, Tracks 9-10 from Columbia single 3-10239, 1975
CD 1, Tracks 11-13 and CD 2, Tracks 1-3 from Man-Child, Columbia PC 33812, 1975
CD 2, Tracks 4-10 from Secrets, Columbia PC 34280, 1976
CD 2, Tracks 11-12 from Columbia single 3-10408, 1976