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My Point Of View (1963)

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Herbie Hancock

Takin' Off was an impressive debut effort from Herbie Hancock, and his second record, My Point of View, proved that it was no fluke. Hancock took two risks with the album -- his five original compositions covered more diverse stylistic ground than his debut, and he assembled a large septet for the sessions; the band features such stellar musicians as trumpeter Donald Byrd, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, drummer Tony Williams, guitarist Grant Green, bassist Chuck Israels, and trombonist Grachan Moncur III. It's a rare occasion that all seven musicians appear on the same track, which speaks well for the pianist's arranging capabilities. Hancock knows how to get the best out of his songs and musicians, which is one of the reasons why My Point of View is a captivating listen. The other is the sheer musicality of the record. Hard bop remains the foundation for Hancock's music, but he explores its limitations, finding its soulful side (the successful "Watermelon Man" rewrite "Blind Man, Blind Man"), its probing, adventurous leanings (the edgy "King Cobra"), and its ballad side. "The Pleasure Is Mine" is a lovely, simple ballad, while "A Tribute to Someone" takes the form to more challenging territory -- it's lyrical, but it takes chances. The closer "And What if I Don't" finds the band working a relaxed, bluesy groove that gives them opportunities to spin out rich, tasteful solos. It's a little more relaxed than Takin' Off, but in its own way My Point of View is nearly as stunning. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine