The following is from William Walsh’s class presentation:
Herbie Hancock – The Prisoner (1969)
- Herbie Hancock is a renowned jazz pianist and composer
- His 1969 album The Prisoner was recorded and released in the year following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination
- Dedicated in his memory
- Tackles issues such as discrimination against African-Americans and general inequality in society
- https://youtu.be/FH_ShhJnPPk?t=4m27s (4:26 – 5:07)
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Optimistic tone, lacks a strong root
- https://youtu.be/9eSI-jnazIE?t=16s (0:16 – 0:40)
- 5/8 section
- Minor second interval
- Duality between oppressed and oppressor
- Violence vs. peace: smooth music with occasional stabs
He Who Lives in Fear:
- https://youtu.be/TdN-qwS7lRs?t=18s (0:18 – 0:53)
- Explores intimidation experienced by Martin Luther King for condemning racism
- Establishes a fearful atmosphere
Promise of the Sun:
- “The sun promises life and freedom to all living things, and yet blacks are not yet free” (Herb Wong)
- Hancock uses music to incite emotions in the listener and to portray prejudice and oppression.
- By drawing attention to these issues, he hopes to memorialize Dr. King and spread his message of equality.
- How can music communicate a message or an emotion without using words?
- Do you feel the issues discussed by Hancock on this album are still apparent today?
- What are some modern-day examples of music that, like The Prisoner, comments on societal issues?