Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is a jazz pianist and composer from Chicago, Illinois, United States. Hancock is one of jazz music's most important and influential pianists and composers. He embraced elements of rock, funk, and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. As part of Miles Davis' "second great quintet" Hancock helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section, and was later one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and jazz funk.
Yet for all his restless experimentation, Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "crossover" and achieve success among pop audiences. Probably the most influential era in Herbie Hancock's extensive career is with the "Headhunters" ensemble during the mid-late 70's, including (among others) Paul Jackson on bass, Bennie Maupin on saxophones, Harvey Mason on drums, "Wah Wah" Watson on guitar and Bill Summers on percussion. His 2007 tribute album, River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Early life and career Like many jazz pianists, Hancock started with a classical music education; Hancock studied from age seven.
His talent was recognized early, and he played the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 5 at a young people's concert with the Chicago Symphony at age eleven. Through his teens, Hancock never had a jazz teacher. Instead, around high school age, Hancock grew to like jazz after hearing some Oscar Peterson and George Shearing recordings, which he transcribed in his own time, and which developed his ear and sense of harmony. He was also influenced by records of the vocal group the Hi-Lo's: ...by the time I actually heard the Hi-Lo's, I started picking that stuff out; my ear was happening.Make Herbie Hancock Playlist