Rolling Stone - 9/2/71, p.44
"...ranges from the street-strutting funk of the early 'Watermelon Man' through statements succesfully more challenging and complex..."
JazzTimes - p.65
"[Hancock is] a musician with passion, an open mind and an awareness of history that constantly propels him forward into new sonic territory."
Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano); Dexter Gordon, George Coleman, Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Freddie Hubbard, Donald Byrd (trumpet); Thad Jones (flugelhorn); Grachan Moncur III (trombone); Peter Phillips (bass trombone); Jerry Dodgion (alto flute); Butch Warren, Ron Carter, Chuck Israels (bass); Billy Higgins, Tony Williams, Mickey Roker (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Compilation producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey between 1962 and 1968.
Herbie Hancock is arguably the most influential jazz pianist since the late Bill Evans. A true master of his instrument, Hancock has long possessed the ability to play unique, knotty solos, all the while infusing his music with plenty of soul and groove. Whereas many of his contemporaries perform in a more detached and clinical style, Hancock can charm even the most casual of jazz listeners with his warm touch.
This Blue Note collection presents many of the 1960s tunes that made the post-bop pianist famous, including "Watermelon Man" and "Cantaloupe Island," songs that stem from his groundbreaking forays into the funkiest territories of jazz. Also heard here is the ethereal "Maiden Voyage," which boast a classic Freddie Hubbard trumpet solo and remains one of Hancock's most popular compositions. THE BEST OF also presents the lilting "Dolphin Dance" and the hard-swinging "Riot," which features a scorching solo by Hancock. Although this compilation only draws from one decade of Hancock's career, it is an excellent compilation of the pianist's '60s output.