A trio of great albums from Herbie Hancock – funky, spiritual, and plenty soulful – and presented here with bonus tracks too! First up is Fat Albert Rotunda – the first album to feature Herbie really breaking away from his straight jazz work – moving into a groove that's nice and funky, using electric piano along with acoustic, to forge the sound that he'd develop famously over the 70s. The album's got a harder, heavier sound than some of his straight electric ones – and it features a larger group with soloists that include Johnny Coles on trumpet and Joe Henderson
on tenor – plus some sweet basslines from Buster Williams! Includes the cuts "Fat Mama" and "Wiggle Waggle", both sample favorites, plus "Tell Me A Bedtime Story" and "Lil Brother". CD also features bonus mono mixes of "Wiggle Waggle" and "Fat Mama". Next is Mwandishi – an excellent session that was one of Herbie Hancock's first free-flowing fusion records of the 70s! Herbie's playing Fender Rhodes with a sound that's at once cosmically beautiful, soulfully fragile, and spacily grooving – and he gets some excellent accompaniment from an all-hip group of players that includes Benny Maupin on bass clarinet and flute, Buster Williams on bass, Eddie Henderson
on trumpet, and Julian Priester on trombone – plus percussion from Jose Areas and Ndugu Chancler. The roots of later classics like Sextet and Flood all start with this session – and the album contains 3 long tracks – "You'll Know When You Get There", "Ostinato", and "Wandering Sprit Song". CD features bonus promo edits of "Ostinato" and "You'll Know When You Get There". Crossings is a record that really steps up Herbie's range of keyboards, mixing in both acoustic and electric pianos, mellotron, and even a bit of spacey moog from the legendary Patrick Gleeson! The whole thing is wonderful – very open and flowing, and even more organic than Hancock's later work on Columbia – especially given the length of the tracks on the set. In addition to Gleeson, other players include Benny Maupin on reeds, Julian Priester on trombone, Buster Williams on bass, and Billy Hart on drums – and titles include the 3 long tracks "Quasar", "Sleeping Giant", and "Water Torture" – all good ones! CD features bonus single mixes of "Crossings" and "Water Torture".