Herbie Hancock
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (OST)
United Artists : 1973

HH, Fender Rhodes, synthesizer; Hohner Clavinet; Bennie Maupin, reeds; Julian Priester, trombone; Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Buster Williams, bass, Patrick Gleeson, synthesizer; Billy Hart, drums.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door brought the political undercurrents of the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s to the surface with a vengeance — and for its efforts was swiftly suppressed. The story revolves around an African-American FBI agent who uses his guerrilla training to start a Black insurgency against the U.S. government. Director Ivan Dixon had filmed the movie covertly and partly financed it with money made from his acting stint on Hogan Heroes. Best of all, Spook is a revolutionary movie with a happy ending. Highly recommended.

Of course he also had the good taste to hire Herbie Hancock’s visionary Mwandishi band for the soundtrack. It turned out to be their final recording together. Here’s Pat Gleeson on the sessions (from Bob Gluck’s recent book devoted to the Mwandishi band You’ll Know When You Get There):

We did the Spook orchestral sessions quickly — one double session for fifty to sixty pieces, and another smaller session. David Rubinson produced the original, never released sessions, which were recorded at what was then Columbia Studios and which shortly thereafter became David Rubinson’s Automatt. The players were mostly from the San Francisco Symphony and the Oakland Symphony, with the guys in the band assuming solo roles. Amusingly, when the charts were handed out, the copyist handed me one labeled “Synthesist,” which had staves and, I believe, a treble clef, but was otherwise blank. Later that week we did small group sessions at Wally Heider’s.

Fans of the band may recognize strains of “Actual Proof” in the reprise of the title theme.

Category Herbie Hancock