Herbie Hancock was born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago Illinois into a musical family. His father was a government meat inspector and mother was a secretary. Herbie began studying piano at the age of 7, he started his education with classical music. On February 5, 1952, along with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he played the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.26 in D Major, K. 537 (Coronation), at the time he was only 11.
Hancock was influenced by Clare Fischer’s arrangements for the HI-Los and Robert Farnon’s orchestral arrangements of standard popular songs. He graduated from Grinnell College in 1960, by that time he was already performing with Coleman Hawkins and Donald Byrd, in Chicago Jazz clubs. In 1963, Hancock received considerable attention when Byrd invited him to join his quintet in New York. He landed on a record deal with Blue Note, where he released his debut album as the head of the band, Takin’ Off. The seminal Watermelon Man, was an original tune with a strong gospel influence through which Hancock got the attention he deserved. His piano style had evolved with time into a high personal blend of blues and exquisite tone. He joined Miles Davis Quintet in May, 1963. Along with working with Davis’s quintet, Hancock composed several tunes which have become jazz standards, including, Dolphin Dance, Maiden Voyage, Cantaloupe Island, The Socerer and Speak Like a Child.
Hancock started with a sextet, his first venture into electronic music. This also included elements of rock, jazz, African and Indian music. This sextet was influenced by Davis’s early fusion recordings. Through this Hancock got more into electronic music and instruments, playing the Fender-Rhodes piano through a variety of signal processors such as wa-wa and fuzz pedals. ‘Headhunters’ was the first on which Hancock used a synthesizer in 1973. It became the largest selling jazz album in history.
He recreated Miles band without Miles with V.S.O.P Quintet. Hancock’s single Rock it won the Grammy for best R&B Instrument whereas