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Magic Windows

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Magic Windows


“Amidst a busy touring schedule in 1981 with Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, Hancock devoted his studio time to recording another album at The Automatt in San Francisco. The sound of Magic Windows is similar to the previous funk albums, not least because associate producer Jeffrey Cohen again co-wrote four of the six tracks. For “Satisfied With Love,” Hancock shares the writing credit with his sister Jean, an IBM systems analyst and passionate songwriter, who also co-wrote “Harvest Time” (released on The Piano) and “Manhattan” (released on The New Standard, 1996).

The liner notes unambiguously point out that there are no strings, brass, or other instrumental orchestrations on this album – all of these orchestrations were performed by Hancock on his array of synthesizers, as well as an Alpha Syntauri (modified Apple II) computer.

The personnel includes many familiar faces, among them, Wah Wah Watson, Ray Parker Jr., James Gadson, Freddie Washington, and the Brothers Johnson, while lead vocal duties are handled by Gavin Christopher, Vicky Randle, and Sylvester.” – 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes

Produced by David Rubinson and Friends, Inc. and Herbie Hancock.

Recorded and Mixed 1981 by Fred Catero, Leslie Ann Jones, and David Rubinson at The Automatt, S.F.

Additional recording at Kendun Recording; Village Recorders; Ameraycan Studios, L.A.

A product of Catero Sound Company, San Francisco

Originally released September 1981 as Columbia LP FC-37837

Billboard chart info: Pop 140, 6 wks; R&B 40, 10 wks; Jazz 13

Instrument Glossary:

Prophet 5 – First made in 1978, this was one of the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synthesizers. It featured patch memory storage, which allowed it to save every knob setting for storing and recalling preferred sounds. Herbie played this instrument on his 1981 album Magic Windows, among many others.

Linn Drum – This drum machine released in the early 1980s featured 15 drum sounds sampled from real drums and a sequencer. It was the successor to the LM-1. Herbie played this instrument on Magic Windows.

  • 1. Magic Number 7:25
  • 2. Tonight's The Night 6:32
  • 3. Everybody's Broke 7:11
  • 4. Help Yourself 6:43
  • 5. Satisfied With Love 6:32
  • 6. The Twilight Clone 8:20
  • Herbie Hancock (Producer, Composer)
  • Herbie Hancock (Synthesizers, Keyboards)
  • Herbie Hancock (Modified Apple II Plus Microcomputer)
  • Ray Parker, Jr. (Guitar)
  • Freddie Washington (Bass)
  • John Robinson (Drums)
  • Sheila Escovedo (Percussion)
  • Pete Escovedo (Percussion)
  • Juan Escovedo (Percussion)
  • Sylvester (Lead & Background Vocals)
  • Jeanie Tracy (Background Vocals)
  • Michael Brecker (Saxophone)
  • Vicki Randle (Background Vocals)
  • Ngoh Spencer (Background Vocals)
  • Deke Dickerson (Background Vocals)
  • George Johnson (Guitar)
  • Louis Johnson (Bass)
  • John Robinson (Drums)
  • Gavin Christopher (Lead Vocals)
  • David Bottom (Background Vocals)
  • Jeffrey Cohen (Background Vocals)
  • Al McKay (Guitar)
  • Eddie Watkins (Bass)
  • James Gadson (Drums)
  • Wah Wah Watson (Guitar)
  • Alphonse Mouzon (Drums)
  • Oren Waters (Background Vocals)
  • Luther Waters (Background Vocals)
  • Julia Waters (Background Vocals)
  • Maxine Waters (Background Vocals)
  • Adrian Belew (Lead Guitar, Composer)
  • Paulinho da Costa (Percussion)
  • Kwawu Ladzekpo (Ghanian Drums, Bells)
  • Kwasi Dzidzornu (Ghanian Drums, Bells)
  • Moody Perry III (Ghanian Drums, Bells)
  • David Rubinson (Producer, Engineer, Mixing)
  • Fred Catero (Engineer)
  • Leslie Ann Jones (Engineer)