Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Herbie Hancock: The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Box sets this colossal should come with roadmaps. At 34 discs, the set will surely intimidate the novice listener. In today’s ADD world, being presented with nearly two decades of material can be paralyzing, especially if the listener’s inclination is to absorb the music chronologically.

The upswing, though, is that Hancock’s musical trajectory during his Columbia run wasn’t stuck in one stylistic lane. Instead, it crisscrossed between such idiomatic routes as white-knuckle postbop, Afro-futuristic jazz-funk, roller-skate boogie and hip-hop-flavored techno. So between the bizarre, percolating rhythms and murky textures of “Rain Dance,” the opening composition on 1973’s Sextant, to “Chemical Residue,” the spooky, dense ballad that closes 1988’s Perfect Machine, this set offers a lot of entrances into Hancock’s fascinating pathways.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published