Great Musical TV Moments: Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters on Don Kirschner’s New Rock Concert 1976

By 1976, Herbie Hancock was a true rock star. He had established himself as a huge talent during his Blue Note career in the 1960s before joined the legendary second Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. That in turn led to Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way, and Bitches Brew, and the rock and jazz worlds melded into a delicious fusion cocktail.

Hancock, meanwhile, put out several superb albums on Warners, including Mwandishi and Crossings. When he switched labels again to Columbia, his album Sextant continued his fine output in March 1973.

Fast-forward to October… and Head Hunters. And everything changed. Blame it on “Chameleon.” Every funk player worth his salt today knows the changes to “Chameleon.” Following Head Hunters were Thrust (1974) and Man-Child (1975) plus a Japanese double live album, Flood. 

The Headhunters appeared on Don Kirschner’s New Rock Concert on October 16, 1976. The band for this set is: Herbie Hancock, piano, keyboards; Benny Maupin, tenor saxophone; Paul Jackson, bass; Wah Wah Watson (Melvin Ragin), guitar; and James Gadsen?, drums.

 

SETLIST

00:14  Gentle Thoughts
10:38  Doin’ It
19:58  Hang Up Your Hang Ups
25:38  commercials

 

Man-Child was the album with another of Hancock’s signature electric tunes, “Hang Up Your Hang-Ups.” Secrets had just come out in August, just ahead of this live show. “Gentle Thoughts” and “Doin’ It” are from Secrets.

 

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