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Herbie Hancock: Sextant (1973)


“Sextant” is the eleventh studio album by Herbie Hancock, an American jazz pianist, composer and arranger born in Chicago, Illinois in 1940.

Track Listing

All tracks are composed by Herbie Hancock.

  1. Rain Dance – 9:16
  2. Hidden Shadows – 10:11
  3. Hornets – 19:35


The album was recorded at Wally Heider Studios and Different Fur Studios in San Francisco in 1973, and was released by Columbia Records in the same year.

It is the last of the experimental “Mwandishi” trilogy, which was recorded by Hancock under the strong influence of the early electric Miles Davis — “In A Silent Way” (1969) and “Bitches Brew” (1970) — in his transition period between the Blue Note years in the 1960s and the popular funk period after “Head Hunters” (1973).

It was recorded by the Mwandishi-era Herbie Hancock Sextet featuring saxophonist Bennie Maupin, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, trombonist Julian Priester, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart.

Synthesizer player Patrick Gleeson and percussionist Buck Clarke also joined.

Produced by David Rubinson.

It is an album of avant-garde afro-jazz-funk featuring electric piano (Fender Rhodes), Mellotron, Moog synthesizer, and ARP synths.

It is characterized by its cosmic sound like a science fiction film soundtrack.

The American music magazine “Paste“ called it “uncompromising avant-funk masterpiece”.

“Rain Dance” is an electronic music-tinged track based on Patrick Gleeson’s synths.

“Hidden Shadows” is an odd-meter funk tune at a mid tempo.

“Hornets” (about 20 minutes) is an aggressive and chaotic afro-funk tune featuring electronic sounds and effected (fuzz, wow) noisy keyboards.


  • Mwandishi (Herbie Hancock) – piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, Mellotron, ARP 2600, ARP Pro Soloist, Moog synthesizer
  • Mwile (Bennie Maupin) – soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, piccolo, afuche
  • Mganga (Eddie Henderson) – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Pepo (Julian Priester) – bass trombone, tenor trombone, alto trombone, cowbell
  • Mchezaji (Buster Williams) – bass guitar, double bass
  • Jabali (Billy Hart) – drums
  • Patrick Gleeson – ARP 2600, ARP Pro Soloist
  • Buck Clarke – percussion
Rain Dance