cover image Possibilities


Herbie Hancock, with Lisa Dickey. Viking, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-01471-2

Melodically weaving the notes of his personal life around his exploration of numerous music genres from classical and R&B to funk and hip-hop, renowned pianist Hancock elegantly composes a tuneful sound track of his life in music. While growing up on Chicago’s South Side in the 1940s, Hancock started playing piano when he was seven; four years later, he’d won a music contest and played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Hancock’s intense focus on the intricacies of music, and his steadfast drive to learn about all aspects of life, especially how things work, led him to take up jazz as a teenager and to study engineering briefly in college. Hancock takes us through the opus of his early days as a pianist with Donald Byrd, the composition of his first song, “Watermelon Man,” and signing with Blue Note to record his first album, Takin’ Off. Just 23, Hancock got a call from Miles Davis asking the young pianist to come play with him in what eventually grew into the Second Great Quintet. Five years later, Hancock left Davis to form his own band, the Herbie Hancock Sextet, launching a successful and widely varied solo career that included writing scores for movies like Round Midnight, Jo Jo Dancer, and Harlem Nights. Hancock’s discovery and embrace of Buddhism opened his heart and mind to the myriad possibilities in life and music, and he reveals eloquently in this candid memoir that he continues to approach life in an improvisational style in which each moment is special and everything is always new. [em](Oct.) [/em]