Personalizing Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”

Hey Improvisers,

Even though it’s always fun to discover new tunes that we haven’t played before, it’s great to revisit old chestnuts and explore fresh ways to play them. Better yet, we can use these familiar tunes as a way to further develop our own personal approach to playing piano.

Our Journey Through The Real Book has brought us to tune #224, which is Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.”

Composed in 1965, five years after Miles Davis’s “So What,” “Maiden Voyage” is to the Mixolydian Mode what “So What” is to the Dorian. Simply put, “So What” will get you started playing with the Dorian Mode while “Maiden Voyage” will help you learn the Mixolydian.

I’ve made a video to show you some ways you can explore playing “Maiden Voyage” yourself. While the most common way is to start with the rhythmic figure that Herbie plays during the intro, we can also begin with keyboard textures that are personalized. We can bring something of ourselves to the table right away and then gradually incorporate Hancock’s rhythmic figure as we go along, sometimes stating it boldly and at other times more subtly.

Check out what I demonstrate on the video and then try it yourself.

Maiden Voyage: Journey Through The Real Book #224

As always, enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”


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