“Upon his return from Japan in the fall of 1979, Hancock began preparing for his next studio album. After sketching out first ideas in his home studio, and collecting input from Rubinson, Jeffrey Cohen, and a number of the musicians involved, the recordings for Monster took off in November.
The album presents a blend of infectious disco-funk tracks with Latin percussion (“Saturday Night”), smooth downtempo musings (“Making Love”), and even straightforward rock songs on which Hancock emulates the sound of distorted guitars with his Clavitar, a guitar-necked portable synthesizer (“It All Comes Round”).
The basic studio band consisted of Wah Wah Watson, bassist Freddie Washington, drummer Alphonse Mouzon, percussionist Sheila Escovedo, and The Waters providing background vocals. But most prominently, Carlos Santana is featured on the opener, “Saturday Night,” with his trademark guitar sound and a gripping solo battle with Hancock. Their teamwork on the album soon sparked a string of further collaborations. Around the same time of recording Monster, Hancock took part in the recording sessions for Santana’s album, The Swing Of Delight (1980) and, in May 1980, Hancock and Santana played a wildly received concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley with Jon Lucien, Stanley Clarke, Alphonse Mouzon, and Santana’s percussion section.” – 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes
“Monster, while a mix of dance music, pop, and hard rock, most fully realized Herbie’s development as a songwriter and creator of pop vocal music. Recorded largely in L.A., the core recording band included Wah Wah, Ray Parker Jr. (later to become widely successful as a solo artist [Raydio] and the composer of the theme from Ghostbusters), Alphonse Mouzon on drums, and Sheila Escovedo (later known as Sheila E.) on percussion, plus Gavin Christopher and The Waters Family on vocals. Monster also featured Carlos Santana on the dance single “Saturday Night,” which crossed over from the dance charts to pop music formats.” – Bob Belden, 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes
Produced by David Rubinson and Friends, Inc. and Herbie Hancock.
Recorded 1979-1980 by Fred Catero and David Rubinson at The Village Recorder, L.A.; United Western Studios, L.A.; The Automatt, S.F.
Mixed by Fred Catero and David Rubinson at The Automatt, S.F.
A product of Catero Sound Company, San Francisco
Originally released March 1980 as Columbia LP JC-36415
Billboard chart info: Pop 94, 18 wks; R&B 19, 24 wks; Jazz 3
Oberheim Eight Voice – This analog polyphonic synthesizer was first released in the late 1970s and featured eight monophonic synthesizers wired together into one unit. Herbie played this instrument on his 1980 album Monster.
Clavitar – Released in 1978, this keytar combines the keyboard and guitar into one unique instrument. The instrument is played like a keyboard but shaped like a guitar and straps around the neck allowing the keyboard player to roam freely on stage. Herbie plays the Clavitar on Monster.
Steiner EVI – An electronic valve trumpet using a similar concept to the Lyricon in that the mouth piece could measure the amount of air pressure being used, and a button near the thumb controlled the octave. This instrument was played by Herbie on Monster.
WLM Organ – These electric organs were first produced in the early 1970s in Finland. The sound produced by these organs is similar to a Hammond, but is cleaner. Herbie plays this organ on Monster.
Oberheim Eight Voice – This analog polyphonic synthesizer was first released in the late 1970s and featured eight monophonic synthesizers wired together into one unit. Herbie played this instrument on Monster.
Rhodes 88 Suitcase Piano – An 88-key Fender Rhodes Electric Piano with updates, including plastic hammers to reduce its weight, built-in 100W stereo amplifier and ¼” outputs, allowing this instrument to be plugged directly into a mixing console. Herbie played the Suitcase Piano on Monster.
Linn LM-1 – This was the first drum machine to use digital samples of real drums and also had the ability to be programmed. This was used by Herbie on Monster.
Roland CR-78 – A drum machine released in 1978 featuring analog sounds with digital controls and 34 preset rhythms. This instrument was used by Herbie on his 1980 album Monster.
- 1. Saturday Night 7:16
- 2. Stars In Your Eyes 7:07
- 3. Go For It 7:37
- 4. Don't Hold It In 8:01
- 5. Making Love 6:24
- 6. It All Comes Around 5:49
- Herbie Hancock (Composer, Producer, Keyboards)
- Herbie Hancock (Synthesizers, Piano)
- Herbie Hancock (Modified Apple II Plus Microcomputer)
- Wah Wah Watson (Guitar)
- Freddie Washington (Bass)
- Alphonse Mouzon (Drums, Synth (Track 3))
- Sheila Escovedo (Percussion)
- Julia Waters (Background Vocals)
- Maxine Waters (Background Vocals)
- Oren Waters (Background Vocals)
- Luther Waters (Background Vocals)
- Devadip Carlos Santana (Guitar)
- Greg Walker (Lead Vocal)
- Ray Parker, Jr. (Guitar)
- Randy Hansen (Guitar)
- Gavin Christopher (Lead Vocals)
- Bill Champlin (Lead Vocals)
- David Rubinson (Producer, Mixing Engineer)
- Fred Catero (Engineer, Mixing)