|Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Billy Hart|
Gluck's book discusses his initial exposure to this band and it's compelling experimental sound. He talks about the original members and their Swahili names:(Mwandishi means "The Composer") much of Hancock's early career as a classical piano prodigy.through his exposure to jazz, blues and gospel music, and his early career as a young New York sideman and eventually, as the regular pianist with the Miles Davis Quintet. Even during his tenure with Davis, Hancock was doing his own projects, and was developing as a composer and bandleader. Gluck describes the first time Hancock played a Fender Rhodes. Quoting Hancock in Chapter 4:
When I walked into the recording studio to record with Miles one day, I didn't see an acoustic piano.So I asked Miles: "What do you want me to play?" And he pointed at the corner of the room and said, "Play that!" And it was a Fender Rhodes electric piano. In my head, I was thinking: "He wants me to play that toy over there?' I had heard about the Fender Rhodes electric piano from some other musicians, piano players, and they were saying: "It's not an acoustic piano." So I went in with that kind of skepticism, which was kind of negative. But I had never heard it. So I said: "OK." I turned it on and played a chord, and much to my surprise, I liked the sound.
Clearly the rest was history; if not for Hancock (and maybe Chick Corea), many of us would never have been interested in playing the Fender Rhodes.(Truth be told, my first gigs as a pianist were actually on Rhodes. I've always loved the sound. Never liked carrying them, though.)And although this is an example of Davis making an executive decision as a bandleader, the prevailing wisdom, mentioned several times in the book, is that Miles Davis rarely told his sidemen how to play. He preferred to let them thrive in their own way. Naturally, Hancock would "lead" Mwandishi in a similar fashion, which is why it was, at least musically, more of a collective.