ON THIS DATE (47 YEARS AGO)
May 17, 1965 – Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage is released.
* ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# allmusic 5/5
Maiden Voyage is the fifth album led by Herbie Hancock, was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder on March 17, 1965 for Blue Note Records, and released on this date in May, 1965.
Herbie Hancock — Piano
Freddie Hubbard — Trumpet
George Coleman — Tenor saxophone
Ron Carter — Bass
Tony Williams — drums
Maiden Voyage 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.”
Probably the best in Herbie Hancock’s series of fine Blue Note albums from the 60s, Maiden Voyage finds him in what is basically the Miles Davis band of the time, with Miles replaced by the young Freddie Hubbard. Hancock has always been a fine composer, but Maiden Voyage contains two classic compositions in particular – the beautiful `Dolphin Dance’, and the atmospheric and popular title track. Saxophonist George Coleman, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams play as well throughout as they have ever played, and the whole record is marked with a timeless freshness and sense of creative tension.
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.
All compositions by Herbie Hancock.
“Maiden Voyage” – 7:53
“The Eye of the Hurricane” – 5:57
“Little One” – 8:43
“Survival of the Fittest” – 9:59
“Dolphin Dance” – 9:16