‘Empyrean Isles’ is arguably Herbie Hancock’s finest straight ahead Jazz recording. The four Hancock compositions are all quite different, each one encompassing a different aspect of where Jazz found itself in 1964. ‘Empyrean Isles’ was recorded on 17 June to be accurate. ‘One Finger Snap’ is a fiery piece of modal Jazz that features a full-on trumpet solo courtesy of Freddie Hubbard. ‘Oliloqui Valley’ is flowing and mystical with Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock to the fore. ‘Canteloupe Island’ is one of this writer’s favourite Hancock tunes. The opening statement from Hubbard takes the breath away – the gentle lapping of the sea on clear sandy beaches comes to mind. ‘The Egg’ is a freer less conventional slice of Jazz. The rhythm section of Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums) alongside Herbie Hancock had been members of Miles Davis Quintet for roughly one year at the time of the recording of ‘Empyrean Isles’ and the imaginative nature reflects that influence.
01 One Finger Snap by Herbie Hancock
02 Oliloqui Valley by Herbie Hancock
03 Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock
04 The Egg by Herbie Hancock
05 One Finger Snap (Alternate Take) by Herbie Hancock
06 Oliloqui Valley (Alternate Take) by Herbie Hancock