Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the MilesDavis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Hancock's best-known solo works include "CantaloupeIsland", "WatermelonMan" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader MongoSantamaría), "MaidenVoyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "RockIt". His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbie_Hancock
When Rehm asks Herbie about his 1983 smash, “RockIt,” which represented a sharp departure from his work up until then, he says, “Well, it really comes from the Hip-Hop scene. But at that time, hip-hop was underground — primarily here in New York — and it hadn’t really bubbled to the surface yet. I had the good fortune of being at the right place at the right time, with the right people. And it was my record that really brought hip-hop forward to be the cutting edge music recognized internationally.”
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