Jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock was born in Chicago on April 12, 1940. He was a child prodigy trained in classical music. In 1951 at the age of only eleven, Herbie performed the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto Number Five in D Major at a young people's concert with the Chicago Symphony Orechestra. Herbie graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1958. While he never had a formal music teacher, Herbie studied the recordings of Oscar Peterson and George Shearing and other great pianists in different styles. He attended Grinell College in Iowa where he studied for a double major in music and electrical engineering.
In 1960 when Herbie was twenty and still in college, he was asked by trumpeter Donald Byrd to join his group and Byrd also introduced Herbie to executives at Blue Note records and he signed with that label. In 1963, Herbie was invited by Miles Davis to join his second great quintet.
Herbie reinvented the role of a jazz rhythm section and played with Miles Davis for five years until 1968 when he formed his own group. Some of his best-known solo works were Cantaloupe Island, Watermelon Man, Maiden Voyage, and Chameleon. Since the 1960s, Herbie has won ten Grammy Awards for his original compositions. He has written many scores for movies and TV shows. He also won an Oscar for best original musical score in 1986 for the motion picture Round Midnight. He won five MTV Video Awards, a Soul Train music award, and several Keyboard Magazine reader's poll awards. In 1995, Herbie Hancock was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame. To learn more about the music of Herbie Hancock, readers may visit the official Herbie Hancock Web Site.