This is Herbie Hancock’s 1969 release Fat Albert Rotunda. The first time I heard this, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of it. With one listen I knew that this should be considered some of Herbie’s greatest work but for a guy who is as accomplished as him it has been lost amongst his catalog of legendary hits. It’s his first release for Warner Bros, after leaving Blue Note. This album is a turning point for Herbie as it is his first foray into the world of funk and soul. The album before this was The Prisoner, which was still in the post bop realm. Although it’s a departure from the style of his earlier material, it still features some incredible arrangements and is not short on that trademark Herbie sound. Hancock plays Fender Rhodes  and Buster Williams opts for the electric bass for most of the album, giving it an immediate electric groove. Along with Tootie Heath’s syncopated funky beats and an interesting horn section made up of alto flute, trumpet and trombone, this group is straight funky with keen jazz sensibilities. It is said that these songs were inspired by material written for Bill Cosby’s childrens cartoon, Fat Albert… hence the name. Upon listening you can actually hear a bit of the Junkyard Gang coming through. It’s dirty and elegant all at the same time but at the core it’s just damn funky. This is without a doubt one of Herbie’s finest works and is ideal for full length listening, so if you have some time be sure to listen to it from start to finish. If you don’t have time, make sure you don’t miss “Wiggle Waggle”, “Fat Mama”, “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” & the title track “Fat Albert Rotunda”.

Wiggle Waggle

Fat Mama

Tell Me A Bedtime Story

Oh! Oh! Here He Comes


Fat Albert Rotunda

Lil’ Brother

Purchase Online:

Buy Fat Albert Rotunda on Amazon

Buy Fat Albert Rotunda on iTunes

Reference Links:

More about Herbie and Fat Albert Rotunda

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