Back in April, Vinyl Me Please announced that jazz legend Herbie Hancock would be the focus of their next Anthology box set. The world has changed a lot since then and unforeseen production situations caused it to be set aside in favor of a Grateful Dead set.
Well, now it's finally Herbie Hancock's turn. Today, the vinyl subscription service officially announced the upcoming release of The Story of Herbie Hancock as its next Anthology release.
VMP's Anthology series considers the box set as part of an interactive experience with podcasts and exclusive message boards playing a role alongside audiophile-quality vinyl. Volumes so far have shone a light on famed record labels like Blue Note, Motown, Ghostly International, Stax, Zamrock, and the series has just started to feature individual artists, too, beginning with that aforementioned Grateful Dead volume.
An explorer of genres, forms, and technologies, pianist-composer Hancock has left his mark on all kinds of music. He made up a fifth of Miles Davis' classic quintet and was a formative influence in fusion as well as a pioneer of hip-hop. But his contributions don't begin or end there. With excursions into soundtrack compositions, an orchestral Gershwin tribute, and a Grammy-winning ode to Joni Mitchell, not to mention his works as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, his music has broken boundaries for decades. VMP has worked closely with Hancock, as well as UMe and Sony, to create the upcoming exclusive LP box. These titles were chosen especially by Herbie and will be paired with an exclusive podcast series celebrating Hancock's lasting influence as he celebrates his 80th year.
The eight-album, 11-LP box set features the following titles (with Episodes corresponding to the related podcast):
- Episode 1: Takin' Off (1962)
- Episode 1: Maiden Voyage (1965)
- Episode 2: Head Hunters (1973)
- Episode 2: The V.S.O.P Quintet: Live Under The Sky (1979) [2-LP]
- Episode 3: The Piano (1979)
- Episode 3: Future Shock (1983)
- Episode 4: 1+1 [featuring Wayne Shorter] (1997) [2-LP]
- Episode 4: River -- The Joni Letters (2007) [2-LP]
Live Under The Sky has been re-sequenced, and had a new song added to it at Herbie's request exclusively for this Anthology. "I believe these albums present a broad view of my perspectives," Hancock said in a statement back in April, "and outline a general framework of what my musical life was all about."
Vinyl Me Please Anthology: The Story of Herbie Hancock was produced by VMP's Cameron Schaefer and music supervisor Karyn Rachtman. To get the full experience, VMP and Hancock encourage listeners to open two albums in sequential order each week and supplement their listening sessions with the corresponding podcast episodes. But no matter how you enjoy the music, the box looks to impress aurally and visually. Each of the eight albums will be pressed on 180-gram black vinyl and the audio has been sourced from the original analog tapes. Lacquers were cut from the masters by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Takin' Off, Maiden Voyage, Head Hunters, The Piano and Future Shock were cut in an AAA workflow using analog tapes. 1+1, and River: The Joni Letters, which were recorded digitally, and Live Under the Sky are sourced from digital audio masters. The albums were plated at RTI, and pressed at GZ. Additionally, the heavyweight, tip-on sleeves have been designed to replicate the original art as closely as possible. The set is packaged in a hand-numbered heavyweight, two-piece slip-and-slash box designed by Clay Conder. Liner notes are provided by music curator Marcus J. Moore.
The 5-episode podcast series will feature new discussions between Hancock and host Toure, as well as contributions from colleagues and collaborators including Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Larry Klein, and others. Vinyl Me Please has also planned a pair of "Ask Me Anything" video sessions, one of which featuring a special guest to be announced.
In all, Vinyl Me Please Anthology: The Story of Herbie Hancock promises to be a tribute fitting for a beloved musician who has charted new courses in all kinds of musical forms and genres for years. You can order your copy from Vinyl Me Please's online store. As an added bonus, all current 3-, 6-, or 12-month members will receive a $60 off discount code via email to apply to their purchase.