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San Francisco’s Superior Viaduct and their sub-imprint Antarctica Starts Here have announced vinyl reissues of Herbie Hancock’s pivotal output for Warner Bros. Records. The entire catalog from his transitional phase between 1969-72 with Warner is present, namely new high-quality vinyl prints of Fat Albert Rotunda, Mwandishi, and Crossings. All three releases will land on March 29.

Herbie Hancock signed with Warner after close to a decade of releases with Blue Note and guest work with Miles Davis and others through the ’60s.

1969’s Fat Albert Rotunda presented a unique blend of post-bop jazz, R&B, soul, and funk. His large ensemble comprised an all-star lineup of talent of the ’60s jazz era, including Joe Henderson, Joe Farrel, Buster Williams, Eric Gale, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Albert “Tootie” Heath, and more. 

Over the course of 1970 and 1971, Hancock transformed his group and made a seismic shift in his aesthetic, creating the Mwandishi Band. Replacing all but one of the members that existed on Fat Alberta Rotunda, his new lineup included Billy Hart (Jabali), Eddie Henderson (Mganga), Bennie Maupin (Mwile), Buster Williams (Mchezaji), and Julian Priester (Pepo Mtoto). Adopting Swahili names, the group began to center around vamps, complex polyrhythms, and innovative chord structuring, while also utilizing post-production studio techniques. The new lineup created Mwandishi in this context at the Wally Heider Recording Studios in San Francisco, California during January of 1971. 

1972’s Crossings from the Mwandishi Band was just as much of a leap forward in post-production treatment and fusions of contemporary music. It was recorded in February of 1972 at Pacific Recording Studios, San Mateo and Different Fur Trading Company, San Francisco, with Patrick Gleeson added on the Moog synthesizer, Victor Pantoja on congas, and a unique vocal section comprising Candy Love, Sandra Stevens, Della Horne, Victoria Domagalski, and Scott Breach. 

These reissues are an important snapshot into Hancock’s shift through sound as technology flourished through the early ’70s and his efforts to unearth more elevated sounds continued. 

Pre-order for the three high-grade vinyl reissues can be found here

Tracklisting, Fat Albert Rotunda 

01. Wiggle-Waggle

02. Fat Mama

03. Tell Me A Bedtime Story

04. Oh! Oh! Here He Comes

05. Jessica

06. Fat Albert Rotunda

07. Lil’ Brother

Tracklisting, Mwandishi 

01. Ostinato (Suite For Angela)

02. You’ll Know When You Get There

03. Wandering Spirit Song

Tracklisting, Crossings

01. Sleeping Giant

02. Quasar

03. Water Torture