Academic journal article American Studies

YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET THERE: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band

Academic journal article American Studies

YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET THERE: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band

Article excerpt

YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET THERE: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band. By Bob Gluck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2012.

Bob Gluck's You'll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band is a welcome addition to the slowly growing bodies of scholarly literature on both post-1967 electric jazz and on iconic bands and recording projects. In addition, Gluck takes a step towards filling a mighty gap in jazz scholarship-biographical and analytic research on Herbie Hancock. For researchers, Hancock and his several closest collaborators have been difficult interview subjects, so this book, which blends hard-gotten author interviews with previous published material is extremely valuable to anyone interested in Hancock and his music in general, as well as the Mwandishi Band, which was a pioneer in electric/electronic jazz and musically adventurous.

The book touches on several topics of interest to current scholars: the collaborative production of music by musicians, producers, and engineers, the business aspects of jazz band-leading in the 1970s, and the role of effective marketing of music by record labels. Gluck makes good use of his access to Hancock's bandmates who appear pleased to talk about Mwandishi, a rewarding musical collaboration which they uniformly characterize as spiritual. The book is somewhat less convincing when engaging those spiritual aspects, at least in distinguishing an extra spiritual dimension of this band from spiritual musical connections made all the time on bandstands. Another problem is that Gluck provides little help in distinguishing Mwandishi's spiritualism from the Pan African-derived spirituality that was so widely cited at the time. The book concludes with refreshingly lengthy remembrances by the band and other musicians whom they inspired. …

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