Herbie Hancock is certainly Takin Off at this point in his career – stepping into the limelight with an excellent batch of soul jazz tunes, including the first recording of his classic “Watermelon Man”, the one track that probably put all his kids through school! Although that one went on to become a standard within a few short years in 60s jazz, it still sounds great here in the original – a very fresh take on the sound of soul jazz in the 60s – offered up here in a 7 minute version that has more sharp soloing than most other takes on the tune! The group here is great too – with Dexter Gordon on tenor, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – and the tracks are all also originals by a young Herbie – including “Watermelon Man”, “The Maze”, “Driftin”, “Three Bags Full”, “Alone & I”, and “Empty Pockets”