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Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

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Also Known As: Herbert Hancock, Herbert Jeffrey Hancock Died:
Born: April 12, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: composer, musician, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The handsome, mustachioed and bespectacled Grammy-winner Herbie Hancock is a pioneer in the fusion of jazz techniques with electronic instrumentation--a combination which fueled several best-selling records as well as opening up a new film scoring idiom. The Chicago native began piano lessons at age seven and within four years was performing with the Chicago Symphony. Hancock's interest in jazz didn't take hold until his high school years. After graduating from college at age 20, he headed east to NYC and began an association with Blue Note Records which led to his working with several jazz greats, including Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis. Eventually, Hancock branched out to form his own sextet, through which he began to experiment with various types of sounds, combining funk, rock and jazz. By the mid-1970s, he returned to acoustic jazz with the group V.S.O.P. In 1966, Hancock debuted as a film composer, providing the jazz-tinged score to Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up". After contributing songs to the soundtracks to a handful of films, he went on score a handful of other features, including "Colors" (1988) and "Harlem Nights" (1989). Appropriately, Hancock had a small role in and scored Bertrand...

The handsome, mustachioed and bespectacled Grammy-winner Herbie Hancock is a pioneer in the fusion of jazz techniques with electronic instrumentation--a combination which fueled several best-selling records as well as opening up a new film scoring idiom. The Chicago native began piano lessons at age seven and within four years was performing with the Chicago Symphony. Hancock's interest in jazz didn't take hold until his high school years. After graduating from college at age 20, he headed east to NYC and began an association with Blue Note Records which led to his working with several jazz greats, including Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis. Eventually, Hancock branched out to form his own sextet, through which he began to experiment with various types of sounds, combining funk, rock and jazz. By the mid-1970s, he returned to acoustic jazz with the group V.S.O.P.

In 1966, Hancock debuted as a film composer, providing the jazz-tinged score to Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up". After contributing songs to the soundtracks to a handful of films, he went on score a handful of other features, including "Colors" (1988) and "Harlem Nights" (1989). Appropriately, Hancock had a small role in and scored Bertrand Tavernier's "'Round Midnight" (1986), a tribute to 1950s jazz greats Bud Powell and Lester Young, which netted him an Oscar for Best Original Score. Although he has provided little original music for films in the 90s, Hancock has remained a respected and influential performer and recording artist.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Transcendent Man (2009)
5.
 Indecent Proposal (1993) (Cameo Appearance)
6.
7.
 Listen Up (1990) Himself
8.
 Round Midnight (1986) Eddie Wayne
10.
 Death Wish (1974)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in Chicago, IL
1947:
Began playing piano at age seven
1951:
By age 11, was performing with the Chicago Symphony
:
Played jazz piano in a trio, while working towards an engineering degree at Grinnell College
1963:
Released first solo LP, <i>Watermelon Man</i>, after working with trumpeter Donald Byrd
1963:
Worked with Miles Davis, with whom he recorded often for Blue Note Records
1966:
Feature debut, scored Michelangelo Antonioni's, "Blow-Up"
1971:
Ceased collaborating with Davis and branched out musically to pursue fusion with Mwandishi
1973:
Formed band and released breakthrough album of the same title, <i>Headhunters</i>
1974:
Made TV debut with the soundtrack, "Fat Albert Rotunda" a Bill Cosby animated special
1976:
Returned to earlier jazz influences and formed the acoustic group, V.S.O.P.
1979:
Feature debut as song performer, "The Bitch"; also received song credit for, "I Thought It Was You"
1986:
Feature acting debut, also credited for music, music arrangement, and music direction, "'Round Midnight"; earned Best Original Music Score Oscar
1986:
First TV-movie music credit, "The George McKenna Story" (CBS)
:
Hosted the cable series "Showtime Coast to Coast"
1989:
Served as music director, also featured in the Cinemax special, "The Neville Brothers: Tell It Like It Is"
1990:
Appeared as himself in the biographical feature, "Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones"
1994:
Released the album, <i>Tribute to Miles</i> to honor his mentor Miles Davis who had died in 1991
1998:
Achieved success with his album <i>Gershwin's World</i>, which featured Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Shorter
1998:
Reunited with Headhunters for the album, <i>Return of the Headhunters</i>
2001:
Partnered with Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove to record a live concert album saluting Davis and John Coltrane called <i>Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall</i>
2005:
Released the duet album, <i>Possibilities</i>, which featured duets with Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Sting and others; the album earned two Grammy nominations
2007:
Released the album, <i>River: The Joni Letters</i>, a tribute album in honor of Joni Mitchell, a longtime associate and friend of Hancock; earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year
2010:
Earned three Grammy nominations for <i>The Imagine Project</i>, which features collaborations from various artists; the album was complemented by a documentary about the recording process
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Education

Grinnell College: Grinnell , Iowa - 1960
Grinnell College: Grinnell , Iowa - 1960
Roosevelt University: Chicago , Illinois - 1960
Manhattan School of Music: New York , New York - 1962
New School for Social Research: New York , New York - 1967

Notes

"I always thought the tradition WAS about taking chances. Reinventing, reconstructing the material you're given. It's not like the old days when pop tunes were also considered jazz tunes. There's been a lot of distance put between them since then. But that doesn't mean anyone shouldn't try." --Herbie Hancock quoted in NEW YORK NEWSDAY, February 25, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gudrun Meixner. Interior decorator.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Wayman Edward Hancock. Government meat inspector.
mother:
Winnie Bell Hancock.
sister:
Jean Hancock. Songwriter. Deceased.
daughter:
Jessica Dru Hancock.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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