Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage (1964/65/2015) [Blu-Ray Pure Audio Disc]

Sticker on front cover says 24 bit / 96kHz but all audio tracks are 24 bit / 192 kHz.

Artist: Herbie Hancock
Title: Empyrean Isles / Maiden Voyage
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Modal, Piano Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records/Universal Music Enterprises
Release Date: Empyrean Isles – 1964 (BLP 4175/BST 84175); Maiden Voyage – 1965 (BLP 4195/BST 84195)/2015
Recorded: Empyrean Isles – June 17, 1964; Maiden Voyage – March 17, 1965; Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Mastered: tracks 1-4: Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering; tracks 6-10: Robert Vosgien at Capitol Mastering; tracks 11-15: Alan Yashida
Quality: Blu-ray Audio
Length: 02:04:48
Size: 22.6 GB
Video: MPEG-4 AVC 950 kbps / 1080i / 29,970 fps / 16:9 / High Profile 4.1
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 / 192 kHz / 6475 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Audio: English LPCM 2.0 / 192 kHz / 9216 kbps / 24-bit
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 / 192 kHz / 5881 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)

Jazz icon Herbie Hancock’s solo career blossomed on Blue Note Records in the mid-to-late ’60s with classic albums including Maiden Voyage and Empyrean Isles. Throughout his career, Hancock has always pushed musical boundaries, exploring a wide variety of jazz idioms while bringing his flair and innovation to every single setting. His Blue Note albums of the 1960’s ranged all the way from post bop to Latin jazz, to straight ahead and free form.

Empyrean Isles, recorded when Hancock was 24 and a new member of the Miles Davis Quintet, features the pianist pushing the envelope of hard bop, creating fresh, new music in the process. In a quartet setting with Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, Hancock shows that he was familiar with both avant-garde jazz and groovin’ R&B. His four compositions include the original and most exciting version of “Cantaloupe Island” and the swingingly unpredictable “One Finger Snap.”Empyrean Isles brims with the power and adventure of the best of ’60s jazz while gracefully crossing over into uncharted territory in signature Hancock fashion.

However, 1965’s Maiden Voyage is arguably the best in the bunch. Every single cut on the exquisite 5-track offering from the haunting title track to the gentle, swinging “Dolphin Dance” has found its way into the standard jazz repertoire. Hancock and company – Ron Carter (bass), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet) and Anthony Williams (drums) – fashioned a modern jazz milestone here with extraordinary compositions, interplay and solos and in 1999 Maiden Voyagewas recognized as such when it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

My Point of View and Inventions and Dimensions found Herbie Hancock exploring the fringes of hard bop, working with a big band and a Latin-flavored percussion section, respectively. On Empyrean Isles, he returns to hard bop, but the results are anything but conventional. Working with cornetist Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams — a trio just as young and adventurous as he was — Hancock pushes at the borders of hard bop, finding a brilliantly evocative balance between traditional bop, soul-injected grooves, and experimental, post-modal jazz. Hancock’s four original concepts are loosely based on the myths of the Empyrean Isles, and they are designed to push the limits of the band and of hard bop. Even “Cantaloupe Island,” well-known for its funky piano riff, takes chances and doesn’t just ride the groove. “The Egg,” with its minimal melody and extended solo improvisations, is the riskiest number on the record, but it works because each musician spins inventive, challenging solos that defy convention. In comparison, “One Finger Snap” and “Oliloqui Valley” adhere to hard bop conventions, but each song finds the quartet vigorously searching for new sonic territory with convincing fire. That passion informs all of Empyrean Isles, a record that officially established Hancock as a major artist in his own right. -Empyrean Isles review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Less overtly adventurous than its predecessor, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage nevertheless finds Herbie Hancock at a creative peak. In fact, it’s arguably his finest record of the ’60s, reaching a perfect balance between accessible, lyrical jazz and chance-taking hard bop. By this point, the pianist had been with Miles Davis for two years, and it’s clear that Miles’ subdued yet challenging modal experiments had been fully integrated by Hancock. Not only that, but through Davis, Hancock became part of the exceptional rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, who are both featured on Maiden Voyage, along with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The quintet plays a selection of five Hancock originals, many of which are simply superb showcases for the group’s provocative, unpredictable solos, tonal textures, and harmonies. While the quintet takes risks, the music is lovely and accessible, thanks to Hancock’s understated, melodic compositions and the tasteful group interplay. All of the elements blend together to make Maiden Voyage a shimmering, beautiful album that captures Hancock at his finest as a leader, soloist, and composer. -Maiden Voyage review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes… the new remasters are really cool! -Don Was, President, Blue Note Records

Empyrean Isles
1. One Finger Snap
2. Oliloqui Valley
3. Cantaloupe Island
4. The Egg
Bonus Tracks:
5. One Finger Snap (Take 10)
6. One Finger Snap (Take 19)
7. Oliloqui Valley (Take 1)
8. Oliloqui Valley (Take 3)
9. Cantaloupe Island (Take 11)
10. Cantaloupe Island (Take 12)
Maiden Voyage
11. Maiden Voyage
12. The Eye Of The Hurricane
13. Little One
14. Survival Of The Fittest
15. Dolphin Dance


Tracks 5, 7, 9 & 10 previously unreleased.
Tracks 1-4: Mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering
Tracks 5-10: Mastered at Capitol Mastering
Empyrean Isles was recorded June 17, 1964
Maiden Voyage was recorded March 17, 1965
All audio sourced from the original master tapes.

Empyrean Isles:
Herbie Hancock, piano
Freddie Hubbard, cornet
Ron Carter, bass
Anthony Williams, drums
Maiden Voyage:
Herbie Hancock, piano
Ron Carter, bass
George Coleman, tenor saxophone
Freddie Hubbard, trumpet
Anthony Williams, drums



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