Herbie Hancock, Inventions and Dimensions


One of my favorite jazz selections was an album by Herbie Hancock called Inventions and Dimensions. Recorded on August 30, 1963 for Blue Note Records when Herbie was only 23 years old. The album was also re-released in the mid-1970s as Succotash. This album was not as commercially successful as his two previous albums or as successful as some of his later releases. Artistically however; it is a giant that a true jazz enthusiast must have in their library.

This third album for Herbie Hancock chose a very rhythmic setting for his completely improvised compositions. Supported only by bassist Paul Chambers and percussionists Willie Bobo and Osvaldo Martinez, the pianist creates each tune from scratch and the results are astonishing. The bonus track, an alternate take of 'Mimosa', has previously only been available as part of a box set. Rudy Van Gelder remastered edition Blue Note 2005.

I own both the LP and the CD and for years have enjoyed giving this as a gift to some of my jazz friends only to hear in amazement how they could’ve missed this music.

Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Academy Awards

1986, Original Soundtrack, for Round Midnight


Grammy Awards

1.1984, Best R&B Instrumental Performance, for Rockit

2.1985, Best R&B Instrumental Performance, for Sound-System

3.1988, Best Instrumental Composition, for Call Sheet Blues

4.1995, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group, for A Tribute to Miles

5.1997, Best Instrumental Composition, for Manhattan (Island of Lights and Love)

6.1999, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s), for St. Louis Blues

7.1999, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual or Group, for Gershwin's World

8.2003, Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group, for Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall

9.2003, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, for My Ship

10.2005, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, for Speak Like a Child

11.2008, Album of the Year, for River: The Joni Letters

12.2008, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, for River: The Joni Letters

13.2011, Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for A Change Is Gonna Come

14.2011, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, for Imagine

Take a musical interlude and listen to Hancock's Succotash here

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