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Hoppy Holidays: #1

So here we are at the final keyboardist. As I look at this list I see so many amazing players. And although I had to choose the ones that made an impact on my playing I have so many more that I admire. From Red Garland and Brad Mehldau to Chester Thompson and Matt Rollings, there are so many great musicians out here. And, of course, my college teacher ,Greg Hatza, had a big influence on me and helped me get started on my journey so many years ago. And I thank him for that…

#1: Herbie Hancock

So yes, every keyboard player is expected to cite Herbie as an influence. And with good reason, he is sooo the man. I first found him in college after my piano professor turned me on to Speak No Evil (a Wayne Shorter album). Of course I had heard of Herbie from the Eighties hit “Rockit,” but the earlier Miles Davis side of him was so was so soulful. Every note had so much feel and intention. And although in college I was studying all the greats, such as Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bud Powell, etc., I kept coming back to Herbie. The live Miles Davis 1964 discs Four & More + My Funny Valentine were constantly playing in my room. It was, and remains to be, one of my favorite recordings of all time. There is great compositional improvisation on that record, so much musical intuition between the players. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the Headhunters’ records. This was another level for me as well. Not only funky playing, but also that tone coming from the Rhodes was something I had to have. Herbie’s feel is always at the center of his playing whether a piano, Rhodes or Clavinet. He was a great inspiration for me.

Hoppy Holidays
12/10 Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom | Denver, CO – KHB feat. DJ Logic & Liza Oxnard w/The Nu Classics plus signature beer by Kyle and Boulder Beer
12/11 Hodi’s Half Note | Fort Collins, CO – KHB feat. DJ Logic & Liza Oxnard w/the Nu Classics plus signature beer by Kyle and Boulder Beer
12/12 Avery Brewing Co. | Boulder, CO – KHB plus signature beer by Kyle and Avery Brewing and much, much, more! – SOLD OUT!


5 responses to “Hoppy Holidays: #1”

  1. Awesome! Can’t wait for tonight! I hope you’re ready to party.

  2. Tom Dobbs Avatar
    Tom Dobbs

    I knew Herbie would be #1.

  3. Pete Fayan Avatar
    Pete Fayan

    If you had done the top 6 or 7, would Richard Manuel or Garth Hudson been on the list?

    According to one of the cool youtube video’s about the making of The Bands 2nd album, Robbie Robertson fades out the band and leaves Hudsons clav standing in the mix on “Up on Cripple Creek,” and comments how it might have been the first time its been recorded in Rock music.

    I like your list and wondered if these guys had any impact on your thought process when approaching a song?
    Thanks and have a happy holiday.

  4. Hi Kyle. In 1972, when I was 17, I met a 15 year old keyboard player from Detroit. We had both auditioned for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp trip to Europe, and we had been selected to perform in the jazz and rock groups as part of a tour of England, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. He taught me and others in the rhythm section to play the Freddie Hubbard classic “Red Clay.” When he told me the orignal had been performed by Herbie Hancock, I asked him if Herbie was as good as my 15 year-old friend. He scoffed, “Man, you don’t know anything.” He was right. Sort of. The kid was Greg Phillenganes, and he went on to play with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Toto and many many more, including – most recently – Herbie Hancock.

  5. Alexandra Avatar

    Very cool, Kyle. Sort of had an inkling that you would place Herbie Hancock at the top.

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