So here we are at the final keyboardist. As I look at this list I see so many amazing players. And although I had to choose the ones that made an impact on my playing I have so many more that I admire. From Red Garland and Brad Mehldau to Chester Thompson and Matt Rollings, there are so many great musicians out here. And, of course, my college teacher ,Greg Hatza, had a big influence on me and helped me get started on my journey so many years ago. And I thank him for that…
#1: Herbie Hancock
So yes, every keyboard player is expected to cite Herbie as an influence. And with good reason, he is sooo the man. I first found him in college after my piano professor turned me on to Speak No Evil (a Wayne Shorter album). Of course I had heard of Herbie from the Eighties hit “Rockit,” but the earlier Miles Davis side of him was so was so soulful. Every note had so much feel and intention. And although in college I was studying all the greats, such as Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bud Powell, etc., I kept coming back to Herbie. The live Miles Davis 1964 discs Four & More + My Funny Valentine were constantly playing in my room. It was, and remains to be, one of my favorite recordings of all time. There is great compositional improvisation on that record, so much musical intuition between the players. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the Headhunters’ records. This was another level for me as well. Not only funky playing, but also that tone coming from the Rhodes was something I had to have. Herbie’s feel is always at the center of his playing whether a piano, Rhodes or Clavinet. He was a great inspiration for me.
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