“You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band,” my new book, has entered production mode. This means that the basic writing is complete and the manuscript is in the hands of my publisher’s production team at University of Chicago Press. This will include a manuscript editor, designer, marketer, as well as my editor. During the coming months, final decisions about the photographs I’ve selected will be made, a cover designed, the text itself finalized, and other details worked out. Although I’ve published many articles, this is my first book, and so this process is a new one for me. I’m looking forward to the publication timeline to be set and for everything to move ahead.
One interesting consequence of this development (which followed final approval by the publisher’s editorial boards) is that I’ve been able to go back and listen to some of the music without considering what it all means. I’m not used to listening “casually.” And in fact, that didn’t really last very long. I’m inherently a critical listener (critical in the sense of listening for nuance, connections, technique, structure, and so on; I don’t mean that I am looking for things to “criticize” while listening!). But I am finding that the bottom line, what first attracted me to this writing project, was how much I’ve always loved this music. Listening “casually” has been a great reminder of how much this remains the case.
My work on the book isn’t done – more will continue in the coming months. But I’m now returning my attention to thinking of the music from the perspective of a player. I’ve done a few performances of the band’s repertoire during the past two years and I’m looking forward to some more of that this fall. Stay tuned!