Excerpt from the LP liner notes:
"I thought it would be impossible to get people like Tony Williams or Ron Carter or Wayne Shorter or Freddie Hubbard in the same room at the same time, because so many of them are band leaders themselves. Wayne had told me later that he hadn't played that style in years - lots of fast eighth notes and long running flowing lines. This was really straight ahead jazz - walking bass, a swinging drum beat - but expressed through experiences of the musicians today. I thought of the days at Birdland when I used to sit in with Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan or Freddie Hubbard. Freddie actually played on my first album, "Taking Off," and then played on 'Empyrean Lsles' and 'Maiden Voyage.' I played on Freddie's albums, and it made logical sense to me to have Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. A strange thing happened when I went on stage with the first group. As we started to play, I got the feeling that no matter what I would play, these musicians were so gifted that they could make music out of anything. The feeling of freedom that came over me was overwhelming.
The Sextet that I used to have from 1969 through 1973, played not only the music it had created, but all of the very first music from when I first left Miles Davis in 1968, and got my own band together. The Sextet has a special place in my heart. I was doing the album 'Speak Like a Child' and I used flugelhorn, also flute and bass trombone as an experiment. The sound killed me so much I realized, that's the sound I want for my own band. The most difficult conception to recapture was the Sextet, because of how it was originally built. The Sextet's very foundations was the intuition, empathy, teamwork, unity, and spontaneous creativity of the members of a true ensemble. From the late sixties until 1973 we had been hanging out together, studying not only music but life. We explored together, trying to analyze the creative process. We grew on each other; we became like one and the music became like one. Billy Hart had to come the farthest. He was working in London with Stan Getz, and the 29th was his one night off. Somehow he managed to fly right from London to New York, rehearse, play the concert and get back on a plane for London. When the Sextet was at its best, the whole group was like a living body. It was a music of the moment, no regular changes, bars, or even tempo - but somehow, almost miraculously, the music would have a flow and order that made me feel like I was listening to the sound from all the planets. Trying to recapture that spirit was difficult, but it came off - it was really swinging.
I suppose somebody from the twenties or thirties wouldn't call any of the three groups Jazz. There are people today who don't call the funk group a Jazz group. I hear that group incorporating jazz and funk into a very happy marriage. The third band is actually my present band. At that time I had been using Ken Nash on percussion, and in addition to Wah Wah we had Ray Parker on guitar, since he had been recording with us. Of course Bennie Maupin was one of our sextet, and is still playing with me now. The funk - now that music has such strong roots in the Earth. With all the earthiness there's always room for flight. The biggest reason I enjoy playing this new kind of funk is the contrasts between the wide open improvisation and the funky foundation at the bottom. It gives the music a character that is broad, vast, yet in touch with people."
- Herbie Hancock
- "Piano Introduction" - 4:33
- "Maiden Voyage" (Hancock) - 13:18
- "Nefertiti" (Shorter) - 5:17
- "Introduction of Players/Eye of the Hurricane" (Hancock) - 18:35
- "Toys" (Hancock) - 14:00
- "Introductions" - 1:47
- "You'll Know When You Get There" (Hancock) - 7:00
- "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" (Hancock, Jackson, Ragin) - 11:54
- "Spider" (Hancock, Jackson, Ragin) -10:12
Tracks 1-4 performed by V.S.O.P., Tracks 5-7 performed by Mwandishi, Tracks 8-9 performed by the Headhunters.
- Ron Carter – bass
- Herbie Hancock – electric piano
- Billy Hart – drums
- Eddie Henderson – flugelhorn, sound effects, trumpet
- Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
- Paul Jackson – electric bass
- James Levi – drums
- Bennie Maupin – alto flute
- Kenneth Nash – percussion
- Ray Parker, Jr. – guitar
- Julian Priester – bass trombone
- Wayne Shorter – soprano sax, tenor sax
- Wah Wah Watson – guitar, synthesizer
- Buster Williams – bass
- Tony Williams – drums