Saturday, January 03, 2009

Audio Geek: Happy New Year + Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters

¡Prospero Año Nuevo! Happy New Year!

With thanks to music writer/musician Ned Sublette, I got informed about the fact that Herbie Hancock's Headhunters (Columbia, 1973) was selected for the 2007 National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. They select twenty-five recordings every year, and announced the 2007 selections in 14 May 2008. NPR has been doing a series on the 2007 selections; the final installment was about Headhunters. Although it's only a 7.5 minute segment, the information presented is truly fascinating touching on the innovative instrumentation, the engineering of the album, and Hancock's artistic influences in creating the album's sound with the participation of the musicians, the newly formed The Headhunters, particularly percussionist Bill Summers (check his recreation of the Ba-Benzélé (Central African Republic) ethnic group's Hindewhu flute sounds on the opening of "Watermelon Man"), and the legendary engineer David Rubinson, who all contribute to this profile. Check it out here.

Endnote:
Steven F. Pond, Head Hunters : the making of jazz’s first platinum album (Ann Arbor : The University of Michigan Press, 2005). Pond also contributes to the NPR profile.

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