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Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited memoir by one of the most influential and beloved musicians of our time.

In Herbie Hancock legendary jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock reflects on a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, garnering 14 Grammy Awards along the way.

From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis's second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock reveals the method behind Hancock's undeniable musical genius.

Hancock discusses his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.

©2014 Penguin Audio (P)2014 Herbie Hancock

What listeners say about Herbie Hancock: Possibilities

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High Marks All Round

Herbie Hancock tells his story with wisdom and wit. I learned a lot about both jazz and how to live a life.

I have long been drawn toward meditation and admiration of the Buddhist way of life. His embrace of this "religion" (I use quotes as I object to organized religion and consider myself an atheist) has guided him. In spite of the many obstacles in his way he has managed to live a pretty stress free life. He, and I, mostly attribute that phenomon to his attachment to a form of Buddhism.

However, there is another very important element here of which he is well aware: As a black kid growing up in Chicago's South side in the '40s, he was extraordinarily lucky to have had loving parents who were both willing and able to encourage him all along the way. He comes across across as a fun loving and very kind young man who is probably a genius of some sort. He is as nonjudgmental of others as he is critical of himself. He studies himself almost as tenaciously as he does the new music thresholds he is forever seeking out. His antennae are in constant motion. He is swept away over and over again by some new and extraordinary musical innovation. Way ahead of his time, or, as some think, just a sellout. I don't at all agree with that latter assessment. In any case, I haven't the "chops" to critique him or his detractors. I just found him eminently trustworthy, and someone we are lucky to have on this planet.


If I have one cavil it is this. THERE SHOUD BE SOME MUSIC The story is only frustrating in that the music he discusses (in exuberant and delicious detail) remains unheard. For example, when he tells of how he finally found the right chord for "Maiden Voyage", a major Hancock album and song, one longs to hear it then and there. I wonder if some music might have been added. It would show just what an "audiobook" can do. When reading one doesn't expect to "hear"; when "listening", one does.

However, that said, the writing and his reading of it are what you would expect from this concert pianist, science major, turned Jazz musician. His organization of the material is meticulous and his voice and delivery are just right. He writes with humility and verve.

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Spiritually captivating

Whether it be the genius of audible all the voice of Herbie Hancock, its the first book iv ever truly completed. Though I love books, reading has always been a challenge for me. Add, I suppose, I'm not sure. Being a musician myself, for over 35 years, I know of Herbie Hancock's history. It was spoken with such deaph and truth that I could hardly put down my device. I could hardly wait you today to come home and read another chapter or two. I recommend this book to anyone that wants to see what an artist goes through in his or her walk to discover themselfs. 5 start all the the.

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Tell it like it was, is and will be...

If you only do one audio book this year make Herbie Hancock's Possibilities that book. What a feast! As a musician, student and lover of life experiences I have to say it winds its way right into your heart. Feeds the soul and mind.

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Smiled throughout the book

A wonderful story. And read by Herbie made it even better.I would highly recommend this to anyone and especially to jazz fans.

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Music, life, spirituality at it's best

Loved it. Was glad to hear the author read the book. A great honest account of music, life, spirituality, and growth. AWESOME.

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  • zc
  • 01-08-15

Superb Storytelling

Superb and engaging storytelling by the man himself. Thank you Herbie for such wonderful gift to us all! I feel like I grew as a person and as a musician. I was enthralled by each step of his musical journey and bold decisions he made. As a Catholic, I appreciated Mr. Hancock sharing his experience with truths he has gained from Nichiren Buddhism. Please don't let that aspect turn you away. There is so much richness of person shared in his memoir and likewise so much music! And I hope other living musical legends like Bela Fleck will take this format and deep exploration of their life and career and share their amazing story both in print and self narration.

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a touching, fun glimpse into his heart and mind.

I loved this not just because I love Herbie.Hancock, but because he opened himself in a touching way, sharing all parts of his journey into music, hid soul, and his spirituality. thank you Herbie, I loved this and learned a lot for myself. I am inspired in a new way.

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Loved this book!

First things first, I always like a book better when it’s read by the author.

I got to say I absolutely loved this book. Herbie tells his story pulling from such interesting episodes of his life. The good the bad, it was all in there. I really liked listening to this book in pieces because Herbie would talk about how an album was made and then I would go to YouTube and listen to the music. I really like knowing the backstory of any song or album that I listen to, and since I’m currently obsessed with Jazz I will be looking for more autobiographies by great jazz musicians. I wish Herbie would write a second book because I know his story isn’t over yet!

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Herbie Hancock in his own words - a great book!

Herbie Hancock's life story, from when he started playing piano at 7 until (almost) now - written by and read by Herbie himself.

It is interesting, entertaining with many funny stories, educational to hear how his music developed and changed through the years, and moving with Herbie's life lessons.

This is definitely one of my favorite audio books on Audible - I highly recommend it.

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Buddhism, Miles Davis, and Fat Albert Rotunda

Compelling autobiography that is only enhanced by Herbie’s narration. Good stuff, especially the Miles Davis stories.

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  • Joe Public
  • 11-26-20

A Strong Ego. Not much self-criticism

If Buddhism and chanting gave him all the answers, why then did he need to do the drugs and become a junkie pipe-using crackhead, putting his family, career and workmates in jeopardy? He praises himself for going into rehab (eventually) but never quite owns up to the self absorption and character weakness that lead him astray,or that preclude him from giving more than lip service credit to other people in his story - other than Miles Davis.

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  • Dez V
  • 03-20-19

Fascinating peek into a musical brain

Not just because I've always been into 1970s jazz rock fusion, but overall it's a great insight into the mind of a musical genius, a truly original musician.

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  • Jean-Pierre Fouché
  • 10-30-17

One of the best autiobiographies I have ever heard

I started listening, and kept it rolling in all of my free time, for a week. Brilliant!

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  • Ozzie
  • 08-26-15

A pleasure for jazz fans.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I really enjoyed hearing Herbie read his own life story. He is so personable. It was such a pleasure to listen. He has had such an amazing musical life.

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  • john
  • 03-17-15

Possibly one of the better auto biogs I've enjoyed

Truly insightful story of HH's life and times really helped but his absolute honesty and self effacing storytelling! I loved it and I'm currently listening to certain Miles albums that Herbie is playing on!

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  • Dale
  • 06-11-19

Sensational.

I recommend this book to all music lovers. Herbie is a wonderful narrator and his story is remarkable.

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  • Don
  • 09-21-17

Herbie's creative process and more

Would you consider the audio edition of Herbie Hancock: Possibilities to be better than the print version?

Of course - Herbie narrates it and he is vey entertaining and enthusiastic, right down to the Miles Davis imitations.

Any additional comments?

This is a semi-autobiographical narration by Herbie himself. I listened in half-hour lots in the car and I found it compelling - every 'session' had something interesting. Well done.