You'll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band

University of Chicago Press
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As the 1960s ended, Herbie Hancock embarked on a grand creative experiment. Having just been dismissed from the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet, he set out on the road, playing with his first touring group as a leader until he eventually formed what would become a revolutionary band. Taking the Swahili name Mwandishi, the group would go on to play some of the most innovative music of the 1970s, fusing an assortment of musical genres, American and African cultures, and acoustic and electronic sounds into groundbreaking experiments that helped shape the American popular music that followed. In You’ll Know When You Get There, Bob Gluck offers the first comprehensive study of this influential group, mapping the musical, technological, political, and cultural changes that they not only lived in but also effected. Beginning with Hancock’s formative years as a sideman in bebop and hard bop ensembles, his work with Miles Davis, and the early recordings under his own name, Gluck uncovers the many ingredients that would come to form the Mwandishi sound. He offers an extensive series of interviews with Hancock and other band members, the producer and engineer who worked with them, and a catalog of well-known musicians who were profoundly influenced by the group. Paying close attention to the Mwandishi band’s repertoire, he analyzes a wide array of recordings—many little known—and examines the group’s instrumentation, their pioneering use of electronics, and their transformation of the studio into a compositional tool. From protofunk rhythms to synthesizers to the reclamation of African identities, Gluck tells the story of a highly peculiar and thrillingly unpredictable band that became a hallmark of American genius.


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About the author

Bob Gluck is professor of music, a jazz historian, and director of the Electronic Music Studio at the State University of New York, Albany.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jul 18, 2012
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780226300061
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / General
Music / Genres & Styles / Jazz
Music / Individual Composer & Musician
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." — Charlie Parker
"What is jazz? The rhythm — the feeling." — Coleman Hawkins
"The best sound usually comes the first time you do something. If it's spontaneous, it's going to be rough, not clean, but it's going to have the spirit which is the essence of jazz." — Dave Brubeck
Here, in their own words, such famous jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Bunk Johnson, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Clarence Williams, Jo Jones, Jelly Roll Morton, Mezz Mezzrow, Billie Holiday, and many others recall the birth, growth, and changes in jazz over the years. From its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century in the red-light district in New Orleans (or Storyville, as it came to be known), to Chicago's Downtown section and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Chicago's South Side to jam sessions in Kansas City to Harlem during the Depression years, the West Coast and modern developments, the story of jazz is vividly and colorfully documented in hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tape recorded and telephone conversations, and excerpts from previously printed articles that appeared in books and magazines.
There is no more fascinating and lively history of jazz than this firsthand telling by the men who made it. It should be read and re-read by all jazz enthusiasts, musicians, students of music and culture, students of American history, and other readers. "A lively book bearing the stamp of honesty and naturalness." — Library Journal. "A work of considerable substance." — The New Yorker. "Some of the quotations are a bit racy but they give the book a wonderful flavor." — San Francisco Chronicle.

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