December 1997

Herbie Hancock - Man-Child
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDCD 706
Originally Released: 1975
Remastered Released: 1997

by Steven R. Rochlin

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on Gold CD]Herbie Hancock...hmmmmmm. Played with unknowns like Miles Davis and Donald Byrd. Herbie also was one of the earliest champions of the Rhodes electric piano and Hohner clavinet. He was a child prodigy at the ripe old age of seven and even soloing in the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11. In '61 he joined with Donald Byrd and in '63 with Miles Davis and his band in time for the Seven Steps To Heaven sessions. In '68 he left to do his own thing, which brings us to his own '71 recording. As a musician he was ever growing and ever changing.

Change is good. This gold reissue by Mobile Fidelity is another feather in their huge cap of great re-releases. On this album Herbie is into that groove thang. Can ya dig it? Listening to the first few measures from the first song titled "Hang Up Your Hangups" tells you where this is all going. After the beginning eight bars of music, the drums and band kick in and it's funky tie-eeme. Savory little guitar licks and get-on-down bass lines truly transfuse the music. The song "Steppin' In It" continues this groove whereas there are quite a few more mellow grooves for you love-making ghoolies out there. "Bubbles" is one of those mellower tracks that is so down-n-funky relaxin' that it was enjoyed during a recent, er, um, lovin' vibe time. Add to that the song "Sun Touch" and you got yourself a groovy music soundscape of your own. Bringin' it all back to hotter licks is the last track "Heartbeat." What starts out as a solid straight beat turns quickly into exploration funk with a kick. Oh, did I forget to mention Stevie Wonder plays harmonica on this album too? Hey, it's a new Mo-Fi release, so need I say anything about the sonics? They're wonderful! Are ya down with it?