Herbie Hancock My Point of View (1963) Blue Note

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Track Selection 1: King Cobra (Hancock)

Track Selection 2: Tribute to Someone (Hancock)

Artists

Donald Byrd (t) Grachan Moncur III (trb) Hank Mobley (ts) Herbie Hancock (p) Grant Green (g) Chuck Israels (b) Tony Williams (d) recorded Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, March 19, 1963

Hancock DiscographyTakin’ Off  (1963); My Point of View (1963); Inventions and Dimensions (1963);Empyrean Isles (1964); Maiden Voyage (1965) Speak Like  a Child (1968); The Prisoner (1969). From the watershed of 1970,  in the next forty years Hancock cut a zigzag path between almost every development in electronic jazz fusion and funk, culminating in 2010 in The Imagine Project,Pokeineye-versus-imagine-resized which I had the misfortune to see performed live at the Nice Jazz Festival the other year.

The kick-off with Rockit was fun, but  I could  endure only a couple of minutes of John Lennon’s Imagine before I was forced to make an excuse and leave.  In an exclusive LJC Poll (which I just made up) the alternative ” a Poke in The Eye with a Sharp Stick”  was preferred over listening to Herbie’s rendition of the utopian anthem by eleven out of ten modern jazz fans who expressed a preference. Not even close-run.

Music

digitalred1963Meanwhile back in the heady days of 1963, a young pianist Herbert Hancock was making a name for himself, and soon as part of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet, helped redefine the relationship between the rhythm section and the front line – and so the transition to post-bop.

Hot on the heels of his debut album Takin’ Off  Hancock piled on the punishment with another must-have recording, My Point of View.  He assembled an astonishing septet for the sessions – Byrd,Mobley and Grachan Moncur III gave him three brass voices to play with, the contrasting luminous flow of Grant Green, with free-swinging Anthony Williams and Chuck Israels at the anchor. On top of that you get Herb: if music is food for the soul, it’s celebrity come dine with me, under Master Chef Hancock.

The album’s promoted feature track Blind Man, Blind Man is a Watermelon Man shoe-in, which can be overlooked if you prefer, or enjoyed for itself if you like.  I prefer the more adventurous and slightly more challenging King Cobra and Tribute to Someone. Not that I am in using the term “challenging” in the sense embraced by free jazz apostles out there, champions of  unstructured cacophony, Post-Postbop, but in stretching the modern jazz genre towards greater freedom in improvisation, to include the unexpected.

Vinyl: BST 84126 , Van Gelder Stereo master, NY labels and Ear, a healthy 174 gm

Whilst a preference for mono is on record, with so much happening musically, Stereo here is a very enjoyable experience. There, I’ve said it. Not that there was any option as Hancock’s 60’s output is much sought after, appealing both to the MJ and the DJ tendency. You get what you can.

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Collectors Corner

I was grateful to add Point of View to my collection, via Ebay earlier last year. They are hard to find. I was robbed second-placed on the auction of a nice original copy of Maiden Voyage last week, sold by a British seller. My very very generous bid was trumped  by the cursed “we don’t care what it costs, our customers will pay” Disk Union buyers from Japan. Small consolation but I doubled the price they hoped to pay, over the third place bidder. After postage and customs duty, that will be a lot.

What I was reminded of was that TokyoJazzCollector’s  budget does not look like any ordinary collectors, or not at least like mine. All competition is fair, the seller deserves the best price he can realise, but it is kind of depressing. Especially if it goes on and sensibly we can never win. It’s in circumstances like this you turn to a song, perhaps one which sets out the possibility for a better future…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one….

Bugger!

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17 thoughts on “Herbie Hancock My Point of View (1963) Blue Note

  1. Ah… Killer Hancock album. The ones that don’t have this gem on the Evil Silver Disk have to do without the great alternate take of Blind Man, Blind Man.

    That version (take 11 to be exact) begins with some nice studio chatter in which Hancock tells Lion that Chuck (Israels) is going to play something different. Talking about a ‘fly on the wall’ experience 😉

  2. I think that our only hope for cheaper blue note records is that the demand goes down. Like what happened to dixieland and big band scene. It will probably take a while though and who wants to wait for a thing like that…;-)

    Anyway it is not certain at all thar prices just go up and up. A lot of the listeners are old (ok define old you say and I say that they were around when the music came out…) Many are in their careers making money high up in organizations and they can pay more than most of us can. Granted a lot of collectors have fell off the cliff but there is still a cushion of collectors that gladly want to takecare of the records.

    Here in Stockholm we had a collector dying and his whole collection got out to bidders on an auction like manor. I was not involved but a local dealer bought the whole thing for +£100K. He apparently had amongst other goodies the whole Blue Note catalogue in mono and stereo in original pressings and in good shape too. A life´s work of collecting and this guy started out before things started to go ebay crazy worldwide.The week after the dealer went to a record fair in Jonkoping and sold the best stuff like Cool Struttin’ for £2500. Never saw the record myself I’m afraid.

    • Tell me about it. I popped into the basement jazz section of one central London record store last week and … the shelves were bare. Not a single record, not one. They were only mostly Seventies and Eighties reissues , nothing especially collectable, but all gone. “Moving?” I asked the manager. “Nope. Chinese buyer. Just walked in off the street and said “I’ll take the lot.”

      I reckon somewhere between 1,500 jazz LPs “disappeared”. What is anyone going to do with 1,500 jazz reissues? On a slow boat to China?

      After all the years we have had the 50’s 60’s retro style fascination, I read somewhere the Seventies are the next big thing. Platform shoes, big hair, and just may be, jazz reissues. That’s where the smart money must be going. Remember, you read it here first.

      • Yeah, maybe the lot was to be used in i Chinese TV-commercial or something 😉 Or maybe like a home decoration thing where the buyer gets everything setup – even the stereo and 1500+ cool vinyl covers……never mind if its original pressings or not….would be fun (or not so fun) to know….

        BTW do you know how long Contemporary pressed deep grooves? I just boght a Hampton Hawes vol 2 Trio (£8, rec 1956 in mono) and the label has a deep groove . Inner bag is from 1963 so it probably is not from the 50’s. Heavy vinyl and smooth round edges. Sounds great for £8 so no loss here but dic C make deep grooves in 1963?

        • I number only a half dozen US Contemporary originals, but helpfully I have titles either side of C3515 – C3503 and C3526 – both of which are deep groove, and date back to around 1956/7. So I reckon at that price you got a steal. So much so I’ve called the cops: turn yourself in and they may go easy on you.

          My other 30 Contemporary are UK Contemporary Vogue, many of which have deep groove just inside the label edge or in the usual position, but we are talking pressing by Decca.

          • Hmmm well if it looks original and smells original and weighs original it must be an o…….or just a lovely record with great sound.
            BTW I also got the second copy of one of my nicest records Al Cohn Quintet and Brookmeyer on Coral CRL 57118. The cover was top seamsplit VG but the LP Ex- and the sound just perfect lively and bright with NO groove distortion at all.
            £4. I had the German original pressing before – also very nice. Happy camper hre!

            • I have a DG stereo pressing of “For Real!” released in 1961, so Contemporary was using DG dies at least until then.

              Have a look at the matrix numbers in the deadwax. If they are stamped end with D and a number, like “D4” they are made from the original master (I don’t think I’ve seen a DG Contemporary pressing that was a remaster). Also the original for that LP should have label 1A as shown here:

              http://www.vinylbeat.com/cgi-bin/labelfocus.cgi?label=CONTEMPORARY&label_section=A,B,C

              • Hi yeah it has a machine stamp D8 starting with LKS and the label looks just like the 1 A. But since the inner bag is newer iI still cannot shake the thought that it is later pressing. But I guess it could be the same master repress or the wrong inner bag?

      • Come on, LJC, don’t just go saying irrational, crazy stuff like “70’s reissues of vintage modern jazz records are the next big market” simply for the sake of having said it first! The only reason that might happen would be because all the “originals” from the 50’s and 60’s would be bought up by collectors and then NEVER return to the market, which is pretty ridiculous IMO.

        Once you get past the RVG master lacquers, the price drops significantly. This makes sense, and IMO it’s the very reason that 70’s reissues will never be a big market. I must say, however, that I have come across some blue and black label reissues and they are relatively heavyweight pressings (always a sign of quality to me), but they’re not made from RVG lacquers.

        It’s possible that the 70’s style will come back and/or the fascination with the 50’s and 60’s (Mad Men anyone?) will wane (not for me, I’ve always been down! 🙂 , but if that’s so, then the demand for ALL these modern jazz records will go down, original or not. If people start to identify more with other decades, the sound and artwork of these records is still characteristic of the 50’s and 60’s, so it’s pretty silly to me to think that if people start to identify more with the 70’s that they will want 70’s reissues of records from the 50’s and 60’s XD

        I personally have no interest in the reissues. I NEED those RVG lacquers, he’s my hero. And I may actually need to start giving RVG stereo a chance while I wait for a mono copy of a particular title :/

        On a side note, it’s clear that Van Gelder started to take stereo more seriously when he moved to Englewood Cliffs. I believe he has said several times that the live room design for the new studio was inspired by “The Church”, the Columbia studio on 30th St. in Manhattan, and Columbia was making much better stereo recordings than Van Gelder at that time in that big space. But he revolutionized bold, in-your-face mono sound in the 50’s so I think that’s why it seems like he thinks more of his work in mono to this day.

        • BTW: I bring up the mono-stereo debate again not just because I am obsessed with it (as I am), but because it’s relevant here, as the only mono reissues I’ve seen beyond the RVG lacquers are Japanese, some vinyl, a few CDs, but scarce in both cases. Plus they’re not the handywork of Van Gelder at the Scully lathe.

        • Seventies the NBT? Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Richard. Fusion, Mahavishnu Orchestra, David Sanborn, Miles Davis increasingly eccentric wardrobe, its too awful to contemplate.
          I worry about to many audiophiles discovering the “good stuff” on Sixties vinyl. Fortunately most of them start in 1973, Pink Floyd, Dark Side of The Moon.

    • I really like what you have contributed here, Shaft! You post gives me hope I may someday be able to afford some of these vintage gems that I cannot at the moment. And it makes sense that a lot of the collectors now are older with deeper, more seasoned pockets and they’re willing to drop a lot.

      I just realized that my attitude about this is a bit paradoxical: on one hand, I *don’t* want people to get into vintage jazz vinyl moving forward so the demand goes down, but on the other hand, I want to share the experience with people :\ Oh brother.

  3. One day TokyoJazzCollector will be raised to the big vinyl disc (with ear) in the sky, and his collection will be released like apple blossom upon the world thus perpetuating the eternal cycle of attachment and loss, hope and despair. Unless he decides to take his records with him of course, and who could blame him?

  4. ROFL….absolutely LOVE the way you tied that all together.

    In my studies I have seen warnings of the evil Japanese collectors with bottomless pockets. Personally, I understand that this is an expensive game (I’m starting to realize the BLUE NOTE game in particular is on average significantly more expensive than the Prestige and Riverside games). The way I feel about it, if I really want the record, I’ll make the sacrifices necessary to get it, and the worst case scenario is that eventually all the rich people with bottomless pockets will have a near mint copy of the record I want so I just need to be patient. You also gotta have a little faith in the universe.

    That being said, POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! 😉

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