Herbie Hancock - Takin' Off (UK) [LP]
TAKIN' OFF was Herbie Hancock's first album as a leader. The 1996 reissue of TAKIN' OFF adds alternate takes of "Watermelon Man," "Three Bags Full" and "Empty Pockets." Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano); Dexter Gordon (tenor saxophone); Freddie Hubbard (trumpet); Butch Warren (bass); Billy Higgins (drums). Producer: Alfred Lion. Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on May 28, 1962. Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather. Digitally remastered by Ron McMaster. TAKIN' OFF (1962), Herbie Hancock's debut as a leader, holds up exceptionally well decades after its release, even in light of the vast, eclectic, and excellent solo catalogue that followed. Still in the thick of his groundbreaking work with Miles Davis, Hancock had already established himself as a pianist and composer of the first order, and those qualities shine on TAKIN' OFF. Flanked by superb personnel that includes trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, saxophonist Dexter Gordon, and drummer Billy Higgins, Hancock offers six excellent compositions (including the famous "Watermelon Man") that balance between adventurousness and the rigors of classic hard bop. The Rudy Van Gelder remaster, released in 2007, brings this classic back in glorious clarity.