The Wire

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Story of Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band to be published

In 1972, Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band were joined by Patrick Gleeson, a white schoolteacher with a monophonic synthesizer that took up a whole room and had to be prepared for recording sessions a week in advance. The group were among the pioneers bringing synthesizers in jazz and improvisation, and were in operation from 1970–73.

The University Of Chicago Press is now publishing a book on the group, by Bob Gluck (jazz historian and director of the Electronic Music Studio at the State University of New York), titled You'll Know When You Get There. It includes interviews with Hancock and other band members, plus the producer and engineer they worked with, among others. Gluck discusses Hancock's formative years and recordings, with Miles Davis and in bebop ensembles, and moves through the development and influence of the group's three albums: Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant.

The group consisted of Herbie Hancock (electric piano and electronics), Buster Williams (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Patrick Gleeson (synthesizer), Bennie Maupin (sax), Julian Priester (trombone) and Eddie Henderson (trumpet). They broke up a month after Sextant was released, following poor record sales, pressure from their label, and a number of inappropriate support slots for Canned Heat and The Pointer Sisters.

More details on the book here. A feature on the group appeared in The Wire 174.