Fat Albert Rotunda

Fat Albert Rotunda

If nothing else, this album would be forever be known as Herbie Hancock's first record for Warner Bros. after an incandescent run with Blue Note. But 1969’s Fat Albert Rotunda stands as one of the keyboardist’s classics. Joined by a jazz sextet of saxophonist Joe Henderson, trumpeter Johnny Coles, trombonist Garnett Brown, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Tootie Heath, Hancock (usually on Fender Rhodes) played a groove-based style of electric jazz that wasn't all that different from what was happening at Stax or on Creed Taylor’s CTI label. The songs were based on tunes Hancock wrote for the Bill Cosby TV cartoon Fat Albert, and there's a light, good-time vibe carried on catchy melodies, top-notch solos, and tight ensemble playing. This is particularly apparent on the funky “Wiggle-Waggle,” “Fat Mama," and the title track. There’s also some nice down-tempo material like the aptly titled “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” and the tender, horn-driven “Jessica.”


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