As the 1960s ended, Herbie Hancock embarked on a grand creative experiment. Having just been dismissed from the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet, he brought a new group of musicians together into what would become a revolutionary band. Taking the Swahili name Mwandishi, the group would go on to play some of the most invative music of the 1970s, fusing an assortment of musical genres, American and African cultures, and acoustic and electronic sounds into groundbreaking experiments that helped shape the American popular music that followed. In You'll Kw When You Get There , Bob Gluck offers the first comprehensive study of this seminal group, mapping the musical, techlogical, political, and cultural changes that they t only lived in, but effected. Beginning with Hancock's formative years as a sideman in bebop and hard bop ensembles, his work with Miles Davis, and the early recordings under his own name, Gluck uncovers the many ingredients that would come to form the Mwandishi sound. He offers an extensive series of interviews with Hancock, other band members, the producer and engineer who worked with them, and a catalog of well-kwn musicians who were profoundly influenced by the group. Paying close attention to Mwandishi's compositions, he analyzes a wide array of recordings - many little kwn - and examines the group's instrumentation, their pioneering use of electronics, and their transformation of the studio into a compositional tool. From protofunk rhythms to synthesizers to the reclamation of African identities, Gluck tells the story of a highly peculiar and thrillingly unpredictable band that became a hallmark of American genius.
Bob Gluck is a jazz historian, an associate professor of music, and director of the Electronic Music Studio at the University at Albany, SUNY.