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Herbie Hancock: Possibilities cover art

Herbie Hancock: Possibilities

By: Herbie Hancock,Lisa Dickey
Narrated by: Herbie Hancock
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Summary

The long-awaited memoir by one of the most influential and beloved musicians of our time.

In Herbie Hancock legendary jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock reflects on a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, garnering 14 Grammy Awards along the way.

From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis's second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock reveals the method behind Hancock's undeniable musical genius.

Hancock discusses his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.

©2014 Penguin Audio (P)2014 Herbie Hancock

Critic reviews

"Herbie Hancock has led a fascinating life. And the story of that life makes a fascinating book." (Peter Keepnews, The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice)

"Few jazz biographies are perfect, though Hancock’s Possibilities come closer than some." (Kevin Whitehead, Fresh Air)
 

"[Possibilities is] very effective at its paramount task: getting the reader to dig into the catalog of this restless jazz genius with newly edified ears." (The Boston Globe

What listeners say about Herbie Hancock: Possibilities

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Music as a journey through life

I'm so grateful to Herbie for writing this book, where he has shown how his music and journey through that profession taught him so much, and leading him to Buddism, where he started to look life through new eyes; as a transformed human being! Thank you Herbie!

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Really inspiring

A must read for any musician and any human being 🙃 I've walked miles with this 12-hour book and enjoyed every second of it. Thank you Herbie!

Udi Glaser

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Magnanimous Masterpiece

Of all the many musical accolades this man has achieved, not once does he brag; Herbie Hancock at every opportunity attributes his successes to a host of others, whether it be his mother or Miles Davis.

This is what makes it interesting and an excellent listen. Even though there are some (though not many, to be fair) technical parts, particularly about groundbreaking keyboard technology, there is the feeling if being in the pleasant company of a very interesting, knowledgeable and kind person, such is the warmth that come through. In fact, Herbie himself acknowledges that these parts may sound like "alphabet soup" to the uninitiated!

It is peppered with great anecdotes about Miles, Donald Byrd, Wynton Marsalis as well as being frank enough to talk about some of the more challenging episodes of his life.

Was sad when it came to an end - the mark of a great listen.

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Fascinating!

Fantastic audiobook narrated by Herbie himself. as a casual jazz (and funk) fan I learnt so much about his journey, and his insights into Buddhism were fascinating. highly recommended!

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The best book in a long time 🙏

Did not want it to EVER end
Must read and not put down or turn off until the end
Inspirational heaven - amazing Herbie 🙏🙏

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Read by the man himself!

Excellent and truthful look at a great man's life. And what a life. Thanks Herbie.

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A Strong Ego. Not much self-criticism

If Buddhism and chanting gave him all the answers, why then did he need to do the drugs and become a junkie pipe-using crackhead, putting his family, career and workmates in jeopardy? He praises himself for going into rehab (eventually) but never quite owns up to the self absorption and character weakness that lead him astray,or that preclude him from giving more than lip service credit to other people in his story - other than Miles Davis.

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Fascinating peek into a musical brain

Not just because I've always been into 1970s jazz rock fusion, but overall it's a great insight into the mind of a musical genius, a truly original musician.

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One of the best autiobiographies I have ever heard

I started listening, and kept it rolling in all of my free time, for a week. Brilliant!

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A pleasure for jazz fans.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I really enjoyed hearing Herbie read his own life story. He is so personable. It was such a pleasure to listen. He has had such an amazing musical life.

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  • Joyce
  • 21-06-15

High Marks All Round

Herbie Hancock tells his story with wisdom and wit. I learned a lot about both jazz and how to live a life.

I have long been drawn toward meditation and admiration of the Buddhist way of life. His embrace of this "religion" (I use quotes as I object to organized religion and consider myself an atheist) has guided him. In spite of the many obstacles in his way he has managed to live a pretty stress free life. He, and I, mostly attribute that phenomon to his attachment to a form of Buddhism.

However, there is another very important element here of which he is well aware: As a black kid growing up in Chicago's South side in the '40s, he was extraordinarily lucky to have had loving parents who were both willing and able to encourage him all along the way. He comes across across as a fun loving and very kind young man who is probably a genius of some sort. He is as nonjudgmental of others as he is critical of himself. He studies himself almost as tenaciously as he does the new music thresholds he is forever seeking out. His antennae are in constant motion. He is swept away over and over again by some new and extraordinary musical innovation. Way ahead of his time, or, as some think, just a sellout. I don't at all agree with that latter assessment. In any case, I haven't the "chops" to critique him or his detractors. I just found him eminently trustworthy, and someone we are lucky to have on this planet.


If I have one cavil it is this. THERE SHOUD BE SOME MUSIC The story is only frustrating in that the music he discusses (in exuberant and delicious detail) remains unheard. For example, when he tells of how he finally found the right chord for "Maiden Voyage", a major Hancock album and song, one longs to hear it then and there. I wonder if some music might have been added. It would show just what an "audiobook" can do. When reading one doesn't expect to "hear"; when "listening", one does.

However, that said, the writing and his reading of it are what you would expect from this concert pianist, science major, turned Jazz musician. His organization of the material is meticulous and his voice and delivery are just right. He writes with humility and verve.

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  • Cliff Finch
  • 06-07-15

Spiritually captivating

Whether it be the genius of audible all the voice of Herbie Hancock, its the first book iv ever truly completed. Though I love books, reading has always been a challenge for me. Add, I suppose, I'm not sure. Being a musician myself, for over 35 years, I know of Herbie Hancock's history. It was spoken with such deaph and truth that I could hardly put down my device. I could hardly wait you today to come home and read another chapter or two. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to see what an artist goes through in his or her walk to discover themselfs. 5 start all the the.

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  • Niki J. Juarez-Cummings
  • 16-02-15

Tell it like it was, is and will be...

If you only do one audio book this year make Herbie Hancock's Possibilities that book. What a feast! As a musician, student and lover of life experiences I have to say it winds its way right into your heart. Feeds the soul and mind.

4 people found this helpful

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  • zc
  • 08-01-15

Superb Storytelling

Superb and engaging storytelling by the man himself. Thank you Herbie for such wonderful gift to us all! I feel like I grew as a person and as a musician. I was enthralled by each step of his musical journey and bold decisions he made. As a Catholic, I appreciated Mr. Hancock sharing his experience with truths he has gained from Nichiren Buddhism. Please don't let that aspect turn you away. There is so much richness of person shared in his memoir and likewise so much music! And I hope other living musical legends like Bela Fleck will take this format and deep exploration of their life and career and share their amazing story both in print and self narration.

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  • Red Pine
  • 11-03-15

Smiled throughout the book

A wonderful story. And read by Herbie made it even better.I would highly recommend this to anyone and especially to jazz fans.

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  • Quinton Ervin
  • 21-02-15

Music, life, spirituality at it's best

Loved it. Was glad to hear the author read the book. A great honest account of music, life, spirituality, and growth. AWESOME.

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  • jlight
  • 12-01-15

a touching, fun glimpse into his heart and mind.

I loved this not just because I love Herbie.Hancock, but because he opened himself in a touching way, sharing all parts of his journey into music, hid soul, and his spirituality. thank you Herbie, I loved this and learned a lot for myself. I am inspired in a new way.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-01-23

Bravo Maestro!!!

This audiobook is one of the most riveting and highly inspirational book I’ve encountered in a long time. I want to personally thank Herbie Hancock for this masterful portrayal of a brilliant career and life!!! Bravo!!!!

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  • Laurie
  • 27-10-22

Fascinating book

Herbie is a fantastic person and incredible musician. I really enjoyed his story and getting to know him. Well and honestly told. He has been such a creative force in music. I was familiar with his Possibilities and Imagine projects which were phenomenal. Now I know much more. Thank you Herbie for all your humanity and light!

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  • Rob
  • 16-09-22

Thanks

Great listen thanks for sharing Herbie!
very detailed stories, passionately spoken and inspirationally Jazzy!