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  • The Prisoner

    Herbie Hancock’s seventh album, The Prisoner, comes at a definitive point in the jazz musician’s career. He had just departed Miles Davis’ band after a five-year run, and was at the end of his Blue Note contract. Perhaps for these reasons, The Prisoner is one of Hancock’s most ambitious albums in its post-bop explorations. A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the album opens with the utterly beautiful “I Have a Dream.” Even with a nonet – Joe Henderson (tenor sax, alto flute), Johnny Coles (flugelhorn), Garnett Brown (trombone), Buster Williams (bass), Albert “Tootie” Heath (drums), and a rotating lineup of musicians playing flute, bass clarinet, and bass trombone – The Prisoner’s focus is surprisingly tight. The additional musicians add rich texture, and engineer Rudy Van Gelder adds reverb, most notably on Coles’ flugelhorn and Henderson’s tenor sax. The Prisoner’s use of melody and space makes it an inviting listen – even in its unconventionality – and ends Hancock’s Blue Note era on a high note.

    The Prisoner Catalog Number:  Blue Note BST 84321

    The Prisoner Track Listing:

    Side One

    1. I Have a Dream – 10:55

    2. The Prisoner – 7:55

    Side Two

    1. Firewater – 7:30

    2. He Who Lives in Fear – 6:50

    3. Promise of the Sun – 7:50

    Get The Prisoner on Vinyl:

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