ON THIS DATE (46 YEARS AGO)
May 17, 1965 – Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage is released.
* RF Rating 4.5/5
# Allmusic 5/5
# Allmusic 5/5
Maiden Voyage is the fifth album led by Herbie Hancock, and was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder on March 17, 1965 for Blue Note Records. It was issued as BLP 4195 and BST 84195. It is a concept album aimed at creating an oceanic atmosphere. Many of the song titles refer to marine biology or the sea, and the musicians develop the concept through their use of space and almost tidal dynamics. The album was presented with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. According to Bob Blumenthal’s 1999 liner notes, “Blue Note logs indicate that an attempt had been made to record “Maiden Voyage”, “Little One” and “Dolphin Dance” six days earlier, with Hubbard on cornet and Stu Martin in place of Williams. Those performances were rejected at the time and have been lost in the ensuing years.”
“Maiden Voyage”, “The Eye of the Hurricane” and “Dolphin Dance” have now become jazz standards and are featured in Hal Leonard’s New Real Book vol. 2. Hancock rerecorded “Maiden Voyage” and “Dolphin Dance” on his 1974 album Dedication and updated the title track on his 1988 album Perfect Machine. “Dolphin Dance” was rerecorded in 1981 for the Herbie Hancock Trio album. Hancock has released live concert versions of “Maiden Voyage” on CoreaHancock (1979) and An Evening With Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea: In Concert (1980) (both with Chick Corea). Hancock recorded “Maiden Voyage” and “Eye of the Hurricane” with the VSOP Quintet on VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum (1977). “Maiden Voyage” was covered by jazz rock band Blood, Sweat, and Tears for their album New Blood, by Phish in their earlier live performances, and by Toto for their album Through the Looking Glass. In 2008, jazz pianist John Beasley released a tribute to Hancock called Letter to Herbie, which features a re-working of “Maiden Voyage” called “Bedtime Voyage”. The album also features a cover of “Eye of the Hurricane”.
AMAZON ESSENTIAL RECORDING ~Stuart Broomer
In the mid-’60s, a distinctive postbop style evolved among the younger musicians associated with Blue Note, a new synthesis that managed to blend the cool spaciousness of Miles Davis’s modal period, some of the fire of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and touches of the avant-garde’s group interaction. Maiden Voyage is a masterpiece of the school, with Hancock’s enduring compositions like “Maiden Voyage” and “Dolphin Dance” mingling creative tension and calm repose with strong melodies and airy, suspended harmonies that give form to his evocative sea imagery. Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was at a creative peak, stretching his extraordinary technique to the limits in search of a Coltrane-like fluency on the heated “Eye of the Storm,” while the underrated tenor saxophonist George Coleman adds a developed lyricism to the session.
REVIEW by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com
Less overtly adventurous than its predecessor, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage nevertheless finds Herbie Hancock at a creative peak. In fact, it’s arguably his finest record of the ’60s, reaching a perfect balance between accessible, lyrical jazz and chance-taking hard bop. By this point, the pianist had been with Miles Davis for two years, and it’s clear that Miles’ subdued yet challenging modal experiments had been fully integrated by Hancock. Not only that, but through Davis, Hancock became part of the exceptional rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, who are both featured on Maiden Voyage, along with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The quintet plays a selection of five Hancock originals, many of which are simply superb showcases for the group’s provocative, unpredictable solos, tonal textures, and harmonies. While the quintet takes risks, the music is lovely and accessible, thanks to Hancock’s understated, melodic compositions and the tasteful group interplay. All of the elements blend together to make Maiden Voyage a shimmering, beautiful album that captures Hancock at his finest as a leader, soloist, and composer.