Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles (Blue Note Classic)


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Herbie Hancock debuted on Blue Note in 1962 and quickly established himself as both a remarkable pianist and a brilliant composer with three excellent albums - Takin' OffMy Point of View, and Inventions & Dimensions - before making what is widely considered to be his first masterpiece: Empyrean Isles.

Recorded in 1964, the album seemed to distill the full breadth of Hancock's artistry into a sweeping 35-minute musical journey. Joining Hancock on the voyage were three of his closest collaborators: trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and Hancock's Miles Davis Quintet bandmates Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

Each of the four distinctive original pieces Hancock composed for the date occupies its own unique space. The quartet launches into the album opener "One Finger Snap" which consists of a single opening line that leads directly into blistering improvisations by Hubbard and Hancock. The first side concludes with the beguiling "Oliloquy Valley" which conjures a mysterious and mystical vibe. The flipside leads off with one of Hancock's most enduring themes, "Cantaloupe Island," with its undulating groove and unforgettable melody, before moving into a more exploratory realm with "The Egg," an expansive 14-minute epic that flirts with the avant-garde and gives ample space for the musicians to let their imaginations run wild.

This Blue Note Classic Vinyl Edition is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on heavyweight vinyl at Optimal in 2023.


  1. One Finger Snap
  2. Oliloqui Valle
  3. Cantaloupe Island
  4. The Egg
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