Herbie Hancock: My Point of View (1963)

Kronomyth 2.0: BLIND WATERMELON. Herbie shuffles the lineup but plays pretty much the same cards on My Point of View. His second album is notable for the inclusion of Donald Byrd, who had taken Hancock under his wing years earlier, Hank Mobley and a 17-year-old Tony Williams. Creatively speaking, it’s a lateral move, with Hancock reiterating the musical points he made earlier on Takin’ Off. “Blind Man, Blind Man” is essentially a rewrite of “Watermelon Man;” from a distance, I couldn’t tell the two apart. “The Pleasure Is Mine” and “A Tribute To Someone” continue to balance out the barrelhouse numbers with gentrified jazz. I don’t mean to sound dismissive with that word, since “A Tribute To Someone” is one of my favorite songs on here and a fine showcase for Mobley’s smooth-as-butter tenor. It’s just that Hancock’s early songs tend to consist of either a few notes hammered out in rhythmic repetition or cosmopolitan clusters of notes presented in well-mannered melodies. One amelodic entry does slip into the set, “King Cobra,” which will appeal to fans of more difficult jazz. The closing “And What If I Don’t,” by contrast, is surprisingly accessible and melodic enough to qualify as pop music. Hancock has a remarkable sense of rhythm and swing, which makes his later interest in funk part of a logical arc. Personally, I prefer the Blue Note sessions of Empyrean Isles and onward, as Hancock became more confident as an arranger/composer. His point of view would get more profound with time. My Point of View is certainly worth a listen, especially for Byrd watchers who remember Hancock as a piano prodigy. The post-Miles Hancock, however, is a bird of a different feather. Oh, and as for Williams’ early performance, to borrow a Monty Python quote, he got better.

Original LP Version
A1. Blind Man, Blind Man
A2. A Tribute To Someone
B1. King Cobra
B2. The Pleasure Is Mine
B3. And What If I Don’t

All songs written by Herbie Hancock.

CD reissue bonus track
6. Blind Man, Blind Man (alternate take)

The Players
Herbie Hancock (piano), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Grant Green (guitar), Chuck Israels (bass), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Grachan Moncur III (trombone), Anthony Williams (drums). Recording by Rudy Van Gelder.

The Pictures
Cover photo and design by Reid Miles.

The Plastic
Released on mono and stereo elpee in 1963 in the US (Blue Note, BLP 4126). Re-issued on elpee in the late 1960s in the US (Blue Note, BST 84126 with “A Division of Liberty Records” label) and in the late 1960s in the US (Blue/Liberty, BST 84126 with solid blue label). Re-released on CD in 1988 (Blue Note, CDP-84126). Re-released on remastered, expanded CD with one bonus track on September 14, 1999 in the US (Blue Note) and in June 2008 in Japan (Blue Note, TOCJ-7116). Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2016 in Europe (Dol).

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