Herbie Hancock's Influence On Jazz Music

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Literature Used in the paper

Due to the reputation of Herbie Hancock, there are publications about him, ranging from books, journals, interviews to dissertations. Topics of these literatures cover almost everything about him from Herbie Hancock to his language of music. Johannes Wallmann’s The music of Herbie: Composition and Improvisation in the Blue Note Years (2010) deals with improvisation and composition style of Herbie Hancock’s Blue Note recordings in the 1960s. John Opstad’s The Harmonic and Rhythmic Language of Herbie Hancock’s 1970s Fender Rhodes Solos (2009) examines Hancock’s Fender Rhodes solos to figure out how he used electric keyboard as a main instrument. Kevin Fellezs’s Between Rock and A Jazz Place: Intercultural Interchange
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Jazz, in nature contains many characteristics of black people because its origin was from an African music. When we talk about jazz as a black music, the black here refer to African-American. African music is characterized by collective performance as a musical element. Several people played together and danced and enjoyed music. That's why rhythm play was more important than melody in Jazz eventually in Hancock’s music.
Not to mention, jazz music had been struggle against society. The 1960s and 1970s’s black power movement influenced on jazz musicians and Hancock was not an exception. That’s why sociological factors influenced on Hancock’s styles, sounds and messages in songs or albums.
In Musical Borrowing, Dialogism, and American Culture, 1960-1975 (2006), Berry suggests that “Watermelon Man” (1973) from Hancock’s album Head Hunters (1973) shows evidence of mixing African-American culture with traditional African music (Berry,2006, p.168-169). This song begins and ends with musical style of the Ba-benzele people of central Africa by refining African sounds into contemporary funk music. Berry also states that Hancock’s album Mwandishi (1971) was created by working with black activist James Mtume and giving himself the Swahili name, “Mwandishi” which means a composer to show that his advocacy toward Black nationalist
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By this interconnectivity with different cultures, Fellezs states that Hancock newly defined his relationship to blackness and re-imaged black identities
In Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters: Troubling the Water of Jazz (2000), Pond uses “a web of affiliation” to show how much Afro-American culture affected to the creation of the album Head Hunters. According to “a web of affiliation”, Hancock’s music is a product of interconnectivity with a variety of facets surrounding Hancock such as Black Arts movement, electronic instruments, master marketing plan at a major music label and etc. Pond concludes that Hancock’s legendary funk jazz album “Head Hunters is a gesture toward funk and through funkiness toward Africa”. (Pond, 2000, p. 131)
Apart from the Afro-American culture, Herbie Hancock was also a pioneer in accepting contemporary cultural phenomena. In The Music of Herbie Hancock: Composition and Improvisation in the Blue Note Years (2010), Johannes argues that Hancock’s mega-hit song, Rockit (1983) was the first pop hit track to adapt the “scratching” recording method only used in emerging rap music at that time (Pond, 2000,
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