Cantaloupe Island: A Herbie Hancock Review

Chicago-born pianist Herbie Hancock came to prominence in the early 1960’s with his composition ‘Watermelon Man’. Hancock was part of a bigger movement in modern jazz expressing a return to the ‘roots’ of Gospel and Blues. In 1964, Hancock, a thoughtful pianist and an original composer, recorded his composition ‘Cantaloupe Island’ (our choice today) with a quartet consisting of Freddie Hubbard (tpt), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). This slim and sparse melody has atmosphere and conjures up a Caribbean past of steamy islands, African slaves and mystery. Note the insistent bass line and the melody that repeats over the unusual chord change of 4 bars F minor to 4 bars of C sharp 7th, and then on to D minor before returning to F minor. At this point in his career Hancock was a very original and outstanding composer. Enjoy!

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