This month, members of Vinyl Me, Please Classics will receive an exclusive 180-gram edition of Herbie Hancock’s 1980 album Mr. Hands. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020, the album has never been reissued on vinyl until this edition, which was remastered AAA, and pressed at QRP. Head here to read our new liner notes, and read below for why we picked this album.
Andrew Winistorfer, Classics A&R: Herbie Hancock is, obviously, one of the most important jazz musicians of all time. He played with basically everybody, but most notably he played with Miles Davis during his most creative period. But as a solo act, Hancock was also very instrumental in updating jazz as different music became popular. He had the Headhunters band in the early ’70s that really melded jazz and funk, and he reinvented himself again in the ’80s and melded jazz with rap and hip-hop. There are a lotta Herbie Hancock records that are out-of-print and haven’t been reissued; everybody basically has the Headhunters stuff, and Hancock records from the ’60s and the early ’80s, but there are gaps in his catalog that haven’t gotten much attention.
I was listening to a lot of late-’70s/early-’80s Hancock for a bigger project, and identified this Mr. Hands record because it feels like a signpost record for a lot of the music we listen to today. Marcus J. Moore’s liner notes really illuminated this point: at some points, this record sounds like Flying Lotus, Solange… it’s like this record predicted where a lot of R&B was gonna eventually end up, with the mixing of jazz with funk and rap and everything. It’s crazy that Mr. Hands hasn’t been reissued on vinyl since it came out, and that’s our motivation: this seems like a record that really speaks to today in a way that many ’80s jazz records do not.
This will be a 40th Anniversary Edition, the first time Mr. Hands will be available on vinyl in 40 years.
Marcus J. Moore did the liner notes; he has his Kendrick Lamar biography coming out in 2020, and he took a break from working on that to do these liner notes for us. I knew I needed him to do it, since he’s a really huge Herbie Hancock fan. Like since our Al Green reissue in May, this album was remastered to Triple-A vinyl from the original master tapes. Remastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, and pressed at QRP on 180-gram black vinyl. It’s the definitive version: That’s our goal with Classics, to try to make the definitive version of every Record of the Month that we feature, so I think we did that here.