Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist and composer. He is regarded not only as one of the greatest living jazz musicians, but also as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Hancock helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section, and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. Later, he was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences.
Herbie's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island," "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaria), "Maiden Voyage," "Chameleon," and the singles " I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit." His 2007 tribute album "River: The Joni Letters" won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award after 1965's Getz/Gilberto.
He is an adherant of the Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism.