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  • Herbie’s Austin City Limits Performance To Air January 20th!

    Herbie’s debut Austin City Limits performance will air January 20th on PBS as part of the show’s 43rd season! For more info please visit acltv.com.

    Herbie’s debut Austin City Limits performance will air January 20th on PBS as part of the show’s 43rd season! For more info please visit acltv.com.

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  • Herbie’s MasterClass Is Available Now!

    Herbie’s MasterClass is now available! In his first-ever online class, he will teach you his approach to piano with note-by-note exercises and exclusive performances. Enroll and begin at www.masterclass.com/hh

    Herbie Hancock is set to released his own MasterClass for fans and aspiring jazz musicians alike this …

    Herbie’s MasterClass is now available! In his first-ever online class, he will teach you his approach to piano with note-by-note exercises and exclusive performances. Enroll and begin at www.masterclass.com/hh

    Herbie Hancock is set to released his own MasterClass for fans and aspiring jazz musicians alike this fall. “Music is a story about life and a story about heart,” says Hancock. This is your chance to learn from from the 14-time Grammy Award winner. In his MasterClass, you will have the opportunity to explore his techniques, learn more about the inspiration behind his songs, and  find your personal style. “The problem happens when you don’t put that first note down. Just start!”

    Pre-enroll for class with one all-time greats today. Learn more HERE!

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  • Herbie’s ACL Live Performance To Be Live Streamed!

    Herbie will make his long anticipated Austin City Limits debut on October 12th! Visit acltv.com for more info and watch the live stream here!

    Photo: Douglas Kirkland

    Herbie will make his long anticipated Austin City Limits debut on October 12th! Visit acltv.com for more info and watch the live stream here!

    Photo: Douglas Kirkland

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  • USA & Europe Summer Tour Dates Announced!

    Herbie will be going on tour this summer across Europe and the USA! Visit our tour page for a full list of dates and ticket info, and stay tuned to HerbieHancock.com for breaking news and updates.

    Herbie will be going on tour this summer across Europe and the USA! Visit our tour page for a full list of dates and ticket info, and stay tuned to HerbieHancock.com for breaking news and updates.

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  • Welcome to the Brand-New HerbieHancock.com!

    We invite you to digitally explore the remarkable depth of Herbie’s life and professional career through rare archival images, remastered audio, classic videos, high-definition design, and enhanced HTML5 user interfaces. We have endeavored to highlight the unparalleled creativity and enduring legacy of Herbie Hancock – and introduce his life’s work to a new generation. This website contains …

    We invite you to digitally explore the remarkable depth of Herbie’s life and professional career through rare archival images, remastered audio, classic videos, high-definition design, and enhanced HTML5 user interfaces. We have endeavored to highlight the unparalleled creativity and enduring legacy of Herbie Hancock – and introduce his life’s work to a new generation. This website contains the most comprehensive educational resource of information related to Herbie’s career that has ever been assembled in one place.

    We encourage you to browse our collection of rare and vintage videos, audio, and photos; read Herbie’s latest updates and dispatches on our news page, and find hidden treasures in the comprehensive discography section.

    There are many new features to explore, and many more to come. We hope you enjoy what you find!

    Here is an overview of some of the features you’ll find here:

    The most comprehensive and detailed resource of information about Herbie Hancock ever assembled

    Exclusive HD Video Gallery with more than 150 rare video titles all in one place

    Deluxe vintage jukebox featuring a custom-curated selection of Herbie’s legendary work

    Extensive news archive with hundreds of articles, scholarly essays, interviews, and transcripts

    Complete Discography section with fully-transcribed liner notes (available for the first time ever); reviews, essays, historically-accurate credits, chart info, track info, buy/stream links, and even instrument glossaries detailing the exact gear Herbie used on his recordings.

    Media Galleries featuring Rare & Vintage Photos and Videos spanning Herbie’s six-decade career

    Herbie’s legendary Harvard lecture series videos: all in HD, all in one place, for the first time ever; offered as an educational resource to his fans.

    HerbieHancock.com is your official source for all the latest news, updates, events, and everything imaginable related to Herbie Hancock.

    Click here to sign up for the newsletter and get advance notice of breaking news, concert announcements, and special events.

    Stay tuned for more information and exciting new product announcements – coming very soon to a screen near you….

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  • Sign Up For The Newsletter

    Be sure to join the official Herbie Hancock mailing list for a chance to win a signed copy of the Possibilities book and Imagine Project vinyl, plus get updates on Herbie’s tour schedule and see exclusive content. Click here to join the mailing list.

    Be sure to join the official Herbie Hancock mailing list for a chance to win a signed copy of the Possibilities book and Imagine Project vinyl, plus get updates on Herbie’s tour schedule and see exclusive content. Click here to join the mailing list.

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  • Essay: Mwandishi – The Warner Brothers Recordings

    Presented online for the first time as an exclusive at HerbieHancock.com is the following epic essay by Bob Blumenthal, which originally appeared in the 1994 Warner Brothers double disc set The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings. We invite you to press play on our jukebox and enjoy an annotated history of Herbie’s fascinating Mwandishi period, spanning …

    Presented online for the first time as an exclusive at HerbieHancock.com is the following epic essay by Bob Blumenthal, which originally appeared in the 1994 Warner Brothers double disc set The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings. We invite you to press play on our jukebox and enjoy an annotated history of Herbie’s fascinating Mwandishi period, spanning the albums The Prisoner, Fat Albert Rotunda, Mwandishi, and Crossings.

    “When I told Miles Davis’s manager that I wanted to form my own group,” Herbie Hancock explained to a full house at Boston’s Jazz Workshop in 1972, “he asked me, Who do you plan to have in your trio?’ When I told him that planned to lead a sextet, he told me it was impossible for a group of that size to survive. Well, I kept a sextet together for three years until last week, when we added a seventh member!”

    Hancock was speaking with justifiable pride, given the parlous state in which most working jazz artists found themselves in the early 70s. He had not only kept his band together, but sustained a constant personnel for two of those three years, taking advantage of the familiarity bred by nightly playing to build a collective knowledge that informed every set. It would not last forever. By 1974, Hancock had reduced and reconfigured his instrumentation, adopted a funkier rhythmic slant and achieved pop-chart success. His sextet period was no mere transition phase, however; it resulted in some memorable and influential music, most of which was documented during Hancock’s affiliation with Warner Bros.

    If anyone was likely to beat the odds on leading a band in that rock-fixated era, it was Herbert Jeffrey Hancock, who had already shown an incredible knack for joining visionary impulses with commercial acceptance for nearly a decade. His first recording as a leader in 1962 had produced the blockbuster “Watermelon Man,” his 1965 masterpiece Maiden Voyage began life as music for a cologne commercial on television, and he had displayed singular range and flexibility with his score for Michelangelo Antonioni’s epochal film Blow-Up. Then there was the nearly six years Hancock spent in the Miles Davis Quintet, one of the seminal ensembles of that or any jazz period. Hancock was aboard when the trumpeter first added electric instruments, and would reconnect with Davis for influential recording sessions during the years that the music in the present collection was created.

    So Hancock had one of jazz’s more diverse palettes at his disposal when he formed his band-including a thorough knowledge of bebop, modal and free jazz, a pioneer’s interest in the electric, rock-inflected style that had not yet been dubbed fusion, and experience writing for other media that prepared him for all manner of compositional sound-painting. He also knew what kind of ensemble would offer the greatest possibilities, which is why he insisted on a sextet where the smart money would have told him to economize.

    The particular three-horn blend that Hancock favored can be traced back to his 1968 Blue Note album Speak Like A Child, where flugelhorn, bass trombone and alto flute were orchestrated in an expansive manner that revealed the influence of Miles Davis’s old friend and collaborator Gil Evans. The same options were available in Hancock’s first sextet, which is heard on the late 1969 sessions that produced the album Fat Albert Rotunda. The band had recorded The Prisoner for Blue Note earlier in the year which is closer to the searching impressionism of Speak Like A Child. Fat Albert Rotunda, in contrast, reflects the funkier electric avenues that link “Watermelon Man” to his contemporary efforts with Davis.

    “I did the music for the Fat Albert cartoon show Bill Cosby did on TV,” Hancock explained in a 1971 interview. “Bill had the soundtrack tape, which he played for the executives at Warner Bros., and they flipped over it; they just loved it. So I chose to record Fat Albert Rotunda as my first album for the label-which gave me the freedom to do Mwandishi next.”

    The album, which is Hancock’s most commercial venture to date, was built around the original Hancock sextet that included Johnny Coles (trumpet, flugelhorn), Garnett Brown (trombone), Joe Henderson (tenor sax, alto flute), Buster Williams (bass, electric bass) and Albert “Tootie” Heath (drums), with studio reinforcements added. Given the functional nature of the music, the emphasis on funk rhythms is not surprising and sounds less dated a quarter-century later than the primitive electric piano that Hancock employs. Creating music around Cosby’s popular characters provided an effective opportunity to write popular music with some challenging wrinkles. For the most part, Hancock succeeded surprisingly well.

    After its mysterious introduction, with what sounds like a banjo/sitar hybrid and muted trumpet, “Wiggle-Waggle” becomes a funky celebration with clever rhythmic displacements and voicings passed among the brass and reeds. As responsive parts begin to accumulate, Joe Henderson launches a frisky, emotions-on-sleeve tenor solo as the ensemble shouts support. A typically open Hancock voicing, far removed from standard funk of this type, introduces a trumpet solo played by Count Basie alumni Joe Newman, who was in the trumpet section rather than the more introspective Coles. Newman’s shakes and the more complex backgrounds set up Hancock, who leaves a calling card of sorts with his opening solo break. His mix of riffing, counter-rhythmic tension, melodic flow and exclamatory trills feeds off the full band as it repeats the infectious theme to the fade.

    The groove is heavier on the next track, befitting a “Fat Mama.” The simple melodic material is embellished by evolving call-and-response figures from the horns that inspire Hancock’s piano inventions as surely as the lumbering swing of the rhythm section.

    “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” is the best-known composition from this session, and one of his most tender ballad creations. After a haunting trumpet introduction, the sextet states the theme (Henderson on alto flute), reinforced by the full ensemble on the reprise. The harmonic and rhythmic suspensions on the bridge, plus the quirky resolution of the main melody, add great character to an already memorable line. Hancock takes a gentle half-chorus before the theme returns and sets up a double recapitulation and quiet, tumbling coda.

    Lumbering funk returns with “Oh! Oh! Here He Comes,” which gains added heft as the trombones shoulder the theme. Hancock’s electric piano percolates under and between orchestral riffs, holding the groove and leaving space to appreciate Buster Williams’s earth-moving electric bass.

    Grand piano brings on “Jessica.” Garnett Brown’s trombone states the theme first, with Henderson’s alto flute trailing countermelodies. Then Johnny Coles takes over for a heartfelt flugelhorn lead as the ensemble spreads under his improvisation. Hancock follows with his only acoustic solo in this collection, offering another, more intimate opportunity to appreciate the supportive work of Williams and Albert Heath.

    “Fat Albert Rotunda” begins with a fanfare, which brings on the infectious theme. The two-note figure that underpins the performance is the focus of Hancock’s opening electric piano solo, which is spurred by an added (and unidentified) electric guitar. Henderson explodes into his tenor solo (the man has always known how to get started) and continues to wrestle demons as the signature vamp adds intensity underneath. The theme returns, with horn punctuations, before Hancock leads the fade out.

    The more excitable “Lil’ Brother” ends Hancock’s first Warner Bros. project with some added starters featured. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie is in the drum chair. The theme (scored for trombone and alto flute in unison) gives way to what becomes a recurring guitar break by the late Eric Gale and the hortatory tenor solo is played by Joe Farrell. After Hancock’s solo, the theme leads to a coda that allows some of the gentler images from Fat Albert Rotunda to momentarily reappear.

    By the close of 1970, when Hancock recorded his next session, only Williams remained in the sextet. With the exception of the bassist and trombonist Julian Priester, the personnel was made up of younger and less familiar figures, and everyone in the band had taken a Swahili name. Hancock was Mwandishi, the horn players were Mganga Eddie Henderson, Pepo Mtoto Julian Priester and Mwille Benny Maupin; and the rhythm section was completed by Mchezaji Buster Williams and Jabali Billy Hart. An affinity quickly arose among these musicians, which Hancock described with great enthusiasm during a June 1971 interview with this author shortly after the album Mwandishi was released.

    “My current band has hit a point where we are really turning out some great group music,” he reported. “One night in Chicago this band gave me the greatest musical experience of my life. We all just played beyond ourselves. I know how well each man can play, and we all played better. It was a spiritual revelation. We have come close to capturing that magic several times since. My other band had excellent nights, too, but the emphasis was more on solos. That band, I don’t think, was as daring as the one I have now. The earlier band would go through several mood changes in one tune; it was like a game we used to play, but we don’t try to do that anymore. I think the group is a little more subtle now. We try not to push the music any certain way, we just let it happen the way it happens.”

    “I’ve played with some fantastic soloists,” he went on, “but there’s a thing that I think is more important than solos. I think music is supposed to make you high, to give you an experience so that you can transport yourself from wherever you are and that whole physical contact with the world so that you can gain a little more consciousness-inner consciousness. think it would be impossible for most of my early music to do that, just from the very nature of the material; but my new music is set up to do just that. It’s set up to make you high.”

    Hancock called Mwandishi “my favorite record of all the records I have ever made, and the loosest I’ve ever done. None of the tunes have chords. After we play the melody, then we can go where we want to. Usually the structure of the melody leads you in a certain direction, so at least you’re not walking off of a cliff. That’s what I was trying to do on ‘The Egg’” (from his 1964 Blue Note masterpiece Empyrean Isles), “and it worked out fine. I was lucky; but it’s not luck anymore. Now I’ve found a way of structuring the material so that when there are no guidelines to follow, there’s enough of a catalyst in the writing to give you something to go on.”

    The new approach is quickly defined in “Ostinato (Suite For Angela),” dedicated to political activist Angela Davis. After Henderson’s trumpet and Maupin’s bass clarinet spin incantations over Hancock’s Fender Rhodes, Maupin and Williams state the lopsided vamp in 15/4 that provides the track’s melodic content. The second drum part, played by Ndugu Leon Chancler, and the guitar and percussion effects, provided by Ronnie Montrose and Jose “Cepito” Areas, respectively add further layers of complexity to the hypnotic pattern of eight beats plus seven beats.

    The full group simmers its way into Henderson’s trumpet solo-a journey of probing insistence that elicits attentive responses from Hancock and the percussionists. Like his predecessor, Henderson captured some of Miles Davis’s melancholy, though his attack and sense of structure were his own. Priester reinforces the bass line as Henderson concludes. Then Hancock enters for a typical display of how to employ voicings and odd meters for maximum drama. The drummers, who really open up under the electric piano solo, settle down for Benny Maupin, who plays a bass clarinet solo of agitated meandering that recalls his innovative and often neglected contribution to Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. Note that Maupin, originally a tenor saxophonist, is never heard on tenor sax on these recordings – one sign that Hancock was headed somewhere else with his music.

    “You’ll Know When You Get There” is a logical extension of Hancock’s impressionistic side, with Williams on bass violin and Henderson carrying the melodic lead while the others move in and out of focus. There is particularly keen interaction in the rhythm section throughout, although Henderson also blows passionately without accompaniment. After building to some gentle explosions, the theme is reprised and Maupin emerges on alto flute.

    Williams’s insistent bass often seems to be in the lead with Maupin the accompanist as the energy flows between alto flute and rhythm section. Hazy cadences from Hancock bring the theme back briefly. What follows sounds more like a trio collage than a piano solo per se and illustrates Hancock’s comments. For all of the atmospherics on this track, the melodic eloquence of Hancock the composer remains.

    One of the strongest signs of the collective spirit that powered this sextet is the written contribution of its members. Priester’s lengthy “Wandering Spirit Song” is another example of music as experience. It opens slowly, like a flower seeking the sun, with bowed bass and low bass clarinet tones implanting an ominous texture on Hancock’s more optimistic keyboard ruminations. Maupin and a muted Henderson slowly sob the theme, with Priester ultimately joining the bass’ supporting dirge before a more sprightly waltz feeling emerges.

    As the melody gains assertiveness, the horns separate and Priester emerges with a lyrical trombone solo that again leaves space for active support from Hancock and Williams. He is followed, after a reprise of the waltz, by more extended collective improvisation that ultimately yields to an abstract Maupin episode on bass clarinet. In our interview, Hancock remarked that he had come to view passages like this as more commercial than Fat Albert Rotunda because “the direction is a direction that people are ready to receive. It relates to things that are happening today, like vegetarianism, yoga, the Maharishi, organic foods, spirituality in general.”

    Maupin definitely takes the band through some visions worthy of Carlos Casteneda, before a return to the theme and an extended free concluding duet by Williams and Hancock. “Albums like Mwandishi fit into what I think might be considered the new mainstream of jazz,” Hancock said at the time. “The new avant-garde has finally found a direction, but it’s like a spectrum. It’s not one direction; there are many directions and they all have to do with giving people an experience rather than just giving them a bunch of notes.”

    The experiential approach was carried further on the 1972 recording Crossings, which introduced the group’s seventh member, Patrick Gleason on Moog synthesizer, plus conga drummer Victor Pontoja and a five-voice chorus.

    “Sleeping Giant,” a particularly ambitious Hancock composition, touches on several moods and textures as well as the added players and the expanded arsenals of the sextet regulars. Everyone except Gleason is playing percussion on the opening, which carries a strong African flavor that reinforced the album’s striking Robert Springett cover painting.

    Hancock and Williams toy with the meter before establishing a forceful 6/8 that the pair ride into a magnificent extended improvisation. As in “Ostinato,” the steady pattern frees Hancock for some striking rhythmic superimpositions, while also allowing a heady momentum to build. Hancock sounds a phrase to signal a change in mood, and the horns return with slowly congealing parts that make effective use of muted trumpet against a deep trombone bottom.

    Williams emerges with an odd, halting pattern on electric bass that supports Priester’s echo-laden meditations as Hancock and Hart grow more active, finally taking the music into a funky 13-beat vamp for the rhythm section. The quieter theme reappears just as suddenly, then gives way to a steadier, more symmetrical passage where Hancock again blows over charged backing from Williams and the others. His percussive approach prevails until he sounds the cue riff once again to bring the horns back for more thematic musings.

    Now Maupin takes over, with Williams and occasional percussion in support, until the other horns and the funk tempo returns. Linear development and pure sound are both used effectively in Maupin’s soprano sax solo, with sympathetic comping from Hancock that helps build the tension. Then the other horns are cued back in and the music seems headed for a peaceful conclusion; but the giant, far from exhausted, gives one final kick before the band closes with a passage where sound turns to pure air.

    Chords from an acoustic piano trigger “Quasar,” the first of two Maupin compositions that complete the Crossings session. Built around a simple unison theme and a 7/4 time signature, the piece takes on a fluid, other-worldly coloration with Gleason’s synthesizer washes and the composer’s peripatetic alto flute. Henderson follows with one of his active, probing episodes as a cowbell reinforces the beat. The ending is effectively ominous-lost sounds in uncharted space.

    Maupin’s other contribution, “Water Torture,” makes even greater use of Gleason’s presence. It begins with strange sonic drips and disembodied voices, the drum and percussion parts offering the anchors of stability in this strange new world until electric piano and bass clarinet state the slinking theme that could pass for one of Hancock’s own. What follows is not so much a solo as a collective impressionist sound-painting, with everyone applying dabs of color to the constantly reconfigured canvas. The melody reappears to signal new rounds of invention, with Henderson often hovering at the top of the sound mass and Gleason supplying ever more impetuous colors.

    Hancock sustained this approach briefly after signing with Columbia in 1973 and recording Sextant – but not for long. “One thing became apparent to me last year,” he explained in a 1974 interview that explained the change in perspective that led to his ultra-funky and enormously successful Head Hunters album. “I’d go to friends’ homes and see my albums on the shelves with lots of other people’s records, and they’d play all the others except mine. My intention at the time was to play music to be listened to with undivided attention; but how many people have the time to approach music that way? Before, I was so interested in spirituality that I didn’t recognize that a person puts on a record with his hands and not his spirit.” So the emphasis shifted from “heavy musical trips that try to expand people’s minds” to “making people feel like getting up in the morning and going to work.”

    “I’m not knocking the other thing,” Hancock insisted, “I’m just saying that there are several ways to look at music.”

    He has persisted, in the decades that followed, to continue looking at music from various perspectives. Many of which have roots in either the funk or the freedom of his Warner Brothers years. – Bob Blumenthal, 1994

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  • Video: Herbie and Wayne Shorter on National Geographic

    Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, discussing the art and science of jazz with Scott Adsit, Sean Ono Lennon and Stephen Tyson. Click here to watch the episode via National Geographic

    Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, discussing the art and science of jazz with Scott Adsit, Sean Ono Lennon and Stephen Tyson. Click here to watch the episode via National Geographic

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  • Essay: Chameleon – The Life and Music of Herbie Hancock

    Presented online for the first time as an exclusive at HerbieHancock.com is the following epic essay by Bob Belden, which originally appeared in the 2013 Sony Box Set ‘The Complete Columbia Album Collection, 1972-1988’. We invite you to press play on our jukebox and enjoy an annotated history of Herbie’s discography through the decades.

    Part …

    Presented online for the first time as an exclusive at HerbieHancock.com is the following epic essay by Bob Belden, which originally appeared in the 2013 Sony Box Set ‘The Complete Columbia Album Collection, 1972-1988’. We invite you to press play on our jukebox and enjoy an annotated history of Herbie’s discography through the decades.

    Part 1: INTRODUCTION

    Herbie Hancock is a Chameleon. Not in the literal sense of the word but in the sense of an evolving, inclusive entity that flows with the waters and rhythms of life, embracing each moment for what it is: an opportunity to interact, communicate, and produce sounds and textures unique to the circumstances but meant for the human race as a whole. The Complete Herbie Hancock Columbia Album Collection reflects this inclusive nature, seeded in his Buddhist philosophy of life and exemplified by his music artistry. This collection spans 16 years in the life of Herbie Hancock from 1972-1988, a period which yielded a staggering total of 31 albums whose scope is beyond clarification by simplification. On these discs are contributions by Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Kimiko Kasai, Carlos Santana, Jaco Pastorius, Wynton Marsalis, Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson, Harvey Mason, Mike Clark and Bill Summers, producers David Rubinson and Bill Laswell, and engineers Fred Catero, Dave Jerden, and Tomoo Suzuki. Represented in this collection are the hit songs, the rare Japan-only LPs, the special collaborations that were part artistic and part technological, the multifarious ever-changing soundscapes that illuminate the evolution of jazz music and popular music through a singular vision: that of Herbie Hancock.

    Producer David Rubinson and engineer Fred Catero both transcended the norms of the commercial music market by facilitating the creation of music that appealed to the jazz fans, the pop music fans, and the audiophiles of their day. The state-of-the-art sound that Rubinson achieved on his productions was often enabled by Fred Catero, the in-house engineer for Rubinson’s Automatt recording studios, in San Francisco. Rubinson’s vision and sense of perfectionism maintained the highest level of production and artistic participation, and facilitated Herbie’s engagement in many musical and technological developments that were unique, innovative, and organic in the energized music world of those times.

    Part 2: HISTORY

    Herbert Jeffrey Hancock – named after Herb Jeffries, the Duke Ellington vocalist of the early 1940s – was born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois. Considered to be a child prodigy, Herbie began an intense study of classical music, culminating in a performance with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11, performing Mozart’s D Minor Piano Concerto. Herbie’s basic introduction to jazz came from an Art Blakey LP (Hard Bop) and his musical interests began to move in that direction. While a student attending Grinnell College in Iowa as an engineering major, Herbie began to think in terms of jazz music as a life’s work and eventually, this brought him back to Chicago which was, in 1960, a bustling city with a deep and self-sufficient jazz scene. Though initially Herbie had to support himself by working in the post office, he soon became successful and his reputation grew to the point where he quickly became a top-call musician. During the winter of 1960, Donald Byrd was in need of a pianist for an engagement and Herbie was recommended. After a quick one-song audition (“French Spice” was the song), Herbie was hired on the spot and proved to have such an impact on Donald that he brought Herbie to New York City with him.

    The association with Donald Byrd led to Herbie being signed to Blue Note Records in 1962. His first LP, Takin’ Off(1962), gave him the chance to re-record “Watermelon Man” and this too proved successful for him and Blue Note (leading to many covers of the song that appeared soon after his jazz hit and Mongo Santamaria’s famous version.). Herbie’s association with Blue Note lasted eight years (1962-69), producing eight released LPs and generating many classic jazz compositions – “Watermelon Man,” “Cantaloupe Island,” “One Finger Snap,” “Maiden Voyage,” “The Eye Of The Hurricane,” “Dolphin Dance,” and “Speak Like A Child” among them. In 1963 Herbie’s talent caught the ear of Miles Davis, who hired him in May of 1963, beginning a fruitful collaboration for five years. During Herbie’s tenure with Miles, he made lifelong musical connections with his fellow band mates Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams (later to also be members of the V.S.O.P. group). It was with Miles Davis that Herbie first traveled outside the United States and learned the subtle art of leading a band. During Herbie’s years with Miles, his growth as a diversified artist was evident in his many appearances as a recording session musician on many classic Blue Note sessions with the likes of Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Bobby Hutcherson, and Jackie McLean, as well as performing in clubs with musicians as diverse as Sonny Rollins and Benny Goodman. In 1966 he was commissioned to compose his first film score for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up. During this time he was also composing for television and pursued a successful career composing advertising jingles. A number of Herbie’s famous compositions, such as “Maiden Voyage,” began as TV commercials.

    By the fall of 1968, Herbie left Miles to form The Herbie Hancock Sextet. This was the name used in live performances during the making of Herbie’s first Warner Brothers LP, Fat Albert Rotunda, a recording of music used for the Bill Cosby television show, Fat Albert. In a musical sense Herbie was realizing the coloristic opportunities to expand his own unique sense of orchestration and form. With a textural template exposed with the recording of Speak Like A Child (1968) of a three-horn frontline and the musical partnerships created from The Prisoner (1969) recording session (Johnny Coles, Garnett Brown, Joe Henderson, Buster Williams, and Albert “Tootie” Heath), the seeds for Mwandishi were being sown.

    Part 3: THE MWANDISHI BAND

    The new sextet that recorded both of Herbie’s next two Warner Brothers LPs, Mwandishi (Herbie’s Swahili name, meaning ‘Composer’) and Crossings, was formed in 1970, with Eddie Henderson, Julian Priester, Bennie Maupin, and Billy Hart (contextually replacing Coles, Brown, Henderson, and Heath) and Buster Williams (retained from the first sextet). Thus began Herbie’s odyssey of growth, change, exultation, and ultimate commercial disappointment leading to a re-invention and rebirth that had few, if any, precedents in jazz history.

    The Mwandishi Band developed into a unique group, which created a conceptual music that mixed contemporary classical music with African textures, group improvisation and simultaneous individuality based on the varied personalities within the band. Crossings (Warner Bros., 1971-72) was a dramatic statement as to how far form and conception had come within the world of jazz music. The Mwandishi Band was an orchestra inside of a jazz septet. Each musician played a variety of instruments, all of them doubled on exotic percussion instruments, and in live performances an entire set of music could be one continuous suite. Herbie expanded the group to include the synthesist Patrick Gleeson in 1972, allowing for colors that were unheard of in music at the time. On Crossings, an artistic peak for this band, these fresh and inventive textures and formats for improvisations cemented the group’s place in contemporary jazz history. The next album by The Mwandishi Band was Sextant, Herbie’s very first for the Columbia label.

    The group flowered during this current time of African-American self-awareness, and as this movement was defined as both a social and political movement, the musicians who embraced the moment (but not necessarily the movement) found themselves performing to small, enthusiastic but exclusive crowds, which made the sustaining of a seven-piece band with a lot of cargo more of a labor of love than a sound financial investment. In 1973, the tastes in jazz were changing rapidly. The jazz-fusion movement was moving in different directions, some purely populist and others hard-edged and rock-centric, while still other musicians were going into unique, individualist directions that could not be categorized. The audience for jazz music at the time wanted something that they could relate to in a direct way. Via fusion, jazz was gaining acceptance in the larger music public; for the first time a jazz musician could make a choice about the direction they wanted to take and find a way to make it viable either on a purely artistic level or on a mercantile level or, as in Herbie’s case, both. Herbie had that rare opportunity to make a choice, as his music was on the cutting edge of jazz and fusion jazz. After one fateful gig in Los Angeles, the direction options began to narrow.

    Part 4: HEAD HUNTERS

    Herbie and The Mwandishi Band were booked to headline a week of 16 shows in Los Angeles at the famed Troubadour club as part of their newly designed and expanded touring regime: rock clubs and college campuses. The nominal opening act was a newly signed group from San Francisco, the Pointer Sisters. David Rubinson managed and produced both the Pointers and Herbie, so it was only natural for one hand to help the other. From the opening notes of the Pointers’ set, there was an immediate ecstatic reaction from the crowd, and by the end of their short set the audience was standing on its feet wanting more. As The Mwandishi Band played its set, some of the audience was baffled and a few people began to leave the club (well documented in a review that appeared in Down Beat magazine in the summer of 1973). Herbie was struck by the energy and connection the Pointers had with the people, and resolved to find a way to reach a wider and more enthusiastic audience. Coupled with the financial strain that the septet was causing, plus Herbie’s growing spirituality and awareness of cause and effect, Herbie made a conscious decision to take his music in a new direction. He and Rubinson created a new band, retaining Bennie Maupin from The Mwandishi Band, and hiring jazz/funk electric bassist (and former jazz organist) Paul Jackson from Oakland, Afro-centric multi-cultural percussionist Bill Summers from New Orleans, and Harvey Mason on drums, a star of the Los Angeles studio scene. This newly formed quintet played low profile performances around Los Angeles and the Bay Area during the summer of 1973 and then went into the studio soon afterward to record the now-classic Head Hunters.

    The impact of the recording started on Black College radio and campuses (particularly at Howard University in Washington DC), and exploded all over the U.S., Japan, and Europe. The LP went Gold in the U.S. within months and the edited single, “Chameleon,” ultimately became a hit at commercial radio and in the dance clubs, and was adopted by jazz-funk bands everywhere as an instrumental feature. On Head Hunters, Herbie returned to his roots as a composer of melodies and phrases that could take hold of the listener’s mind and wrapped them in a groove that went to the roots of public ritual music. With Mason and Summers, Herbie re-worked his first hit, “Watermelon Man,” to fit into the new sound of this group, and this new arrangement became a highlight on his concert tours. Live, Harvey Mason, whose studio commitments precluded touring with the band, was replaced by Paul Jackson’s old friend, Oakland-based drummer Mike Clark, completing the formation of the first touring edition of The Head Hunters Band, which was together from 1973-76, and their development into a cohesive and creative group was made evident on the release of the next LP Thrust (1974). Thrust was an extension of Head Hunters, and one of the songs originally recorded for the Head Hunters LP (“Actual Proof,” which had been recorded in 1973 with Mason), was re-recorded to allow for Mike Clark to appear on the entire LP.

    In 1974 and 1975 Herbie’s Chameleonesque talents were vividly on display, as he created and recorded two extremely diverse projects: Death Wish and Man-Child. (Herbie’s score and soundtrack LP Death Wish will be discussed later). His last LP utilizing the full Head Hunters Band, and his first to feature Wah Wah Watson (Melvin Ragin), Man-Child was an expression of Herbie’s unique and personal concept of orchestration and texture; a primer on how to blend and synergize synthesized and acoustic instruments. The LP was recorded by Fred Catero in such a way as to allow the listener to hear in the most vivid detail the different tonal shadings and details of the widely varied sound of the instruments. Overlooked since its first release, Man-Child charted a different direction in the language of jazz for ensemble writing in the progressive musical environment. During the summer of 1975, Herbie toured Japan, where he and The Head Hunters Band were captured live in concert for CBS/Sony (Flood).

    As the band began to settle into a more focused groove, more dance-funk than jazz funk, he worked ever more closely with Wah Wah Watson, and replaced Mike Clark with James Levi. The result of this change was Secrets (1976), which retained some of the original sound of The Head Hunters Band, but foreshadowed the changes coming in the next stage of Herbie’s creative direction.

    The impact of Herbie’s recordings with The Head Hunters Band changed the world of jazz by opening up the mindset of both jazz musicians and the listening public to the fact that music could have the power of communicating to a larger set of minds and voices yet retain its musical complexity, quality, and integrity. The band had a string of hits that have become part of the global vocabulary of musicians (“Chameleon,” “Actual Proof,” “Hang Up Your Hang Ups”) and raised the bar for production standards.

    This period was also marked by the vastly increased range of expression that the expansion of his keyboard arsenal afforded Herbie by the rapid development of the synthesizer. From simple monophonic keyboards (one note at a time) and sound effects commonly used merely to mimic brass and strings, synthesizers developed into acutely sensitive and expressive sound sources of their own, uniquely electronic but profoundly musical instruments. In Herbie’s hands, they are fully explored to their sonic and musical potential. On these recordings Herbie and his team continued their collaborative production practices that began with Mwandishi, and expanded thereafter. Herbie realized ever more fully that the studio itself is an instrument, and he became increasingly expert at recording techniques, post-production, mixing, and editing. Thus he would compose using the usual components of rhythm and melody and harmony, but with studio techniques part of the musical foundation, not just an afterthought.

    Part 5: VSOP

    In the spring of 1976, Hancock manager Rubinson asked impresario George Wein to produce a live retrospective of Herbie’s career at his Newport Jazz Festival that summer in New York City, to feature a reunion of the legendary Miles Davis Quintet of 1964-68, featuring Miles, Herbie, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. With Davis unavailable, Hancock and Rubinson decided instead to facilitate a concert called V.S.O.P. (a Very Special One-Time Performance), with programming centered around Herbie, and with Freddie Hubbard on trumpet in place of Miles. The flow of the concert was a mix of retrospective, reunion, and rejuvenation, apportioned equally as The Quintet, The Mwandishi Band, and The New Herbie Hancock Group (the band from Secrets, with Wah Wah Watson). Recorded by Rubinson and Catero for Columbia Records and released in the spring of 1977, V.S.O.P. in many ways was the springboard for the rebirth of acoustic jazz as a viable commercial entity. Newsweek even had V.S.O.P. on its cover declaring “Jazz Is Back.”

    V.S.O.P. (The Quintet) began touring the summer of 1977 with Hubbard, Shorter, Hancock, Carter, and Williams, recording a follow-up live 2-LP set in 1977 for the U.S. market (V.S.O.P.: The Quintet) and the Japan-only live 2-LP set V.S.O.P.: Tempest In The Colosseum. The group clearly began to demonstrate in their recorded performances the characteristics of a real working band, with new music being composed exclusively for each musician within the ensemble. Rather than being an imitation of a historical association, V.S.O.P. had a unique sound that was a logical extension of a historical association. It was only after applying individual learned experiences cumulatively to this situation that V.S.O.P. could be called a band and not an artifact. After taking a year off, V.S.O.P. re-assembled for a tour of Japan, recording a live 2-LP set (V.S.O.P.: Live Under The Sky) (1979) and their only studio LP, Five Stars (1979) during their stay. At the time that V.S.O.P. was created, the U.S. market for jazz was in a complete state of flux as styles changed at a moment’s notice and the pressures for jazz musicians to keep both flames (acoustic and electric) alive started to take its toll on the audience. V.S.O.P. lit a fire in the jazz market, culminating in the eventual rejuvenation of acoustic jazz during the early eighties. This group proved that there was a need and an avid audience for acoustic jazz and they maintained a touring schedule well into the eighties, but without a recording contract. Alumni of V.S.O.P. include Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Tony Williams, and Al Foster. It is within this collection that the world will hear the complete body of work created by the group V.S.O.P. (1976-79) for the first time in its entirety. Long overdue.

    Part 6: POST HEAD HUNTERS: SECRETS AND BEYOND

    At the very same time that Herbie was re-discovering his past with V.S.O.P., he was creating a new future – beginning with the recording of Secrets (1976). The core band was similar to the personnel that had recorded Manchild (Bennie Maupin, Wah Wah Watson, Paul Jackson, but now with James Levi on drums), but the direction that Herbie was going with his music required a break from the past. With the arrival of dance and funk music as the lingua franca of the American and international audience, Herbie transitioned his band from a free-wheeling jazz/funk fusion band to a more tight-knit funk band, yet still in a primarily instrumental setting.

    On Secrets (1976), Herbie included background vocals on the dance track “Doin’ It,” but this was an adjunct to the instrumental melody and rhythm track. Then came even more conceptual changes with the release of Sunlight (1977) where Herbie began to fully realize the vocal possibilities enabled by the advance of synthesizer technology. Herbie’s creative use of the newly invented Sennheiser Vocoder allowed him to sing his songs in his own voice, and even harmonize them according to his own language, expanding his composing opportunities to include popular vocal music concepts. By increasingly developing his skills as a songwriter/collaborator, Herbie was able more fully to access and express the freedom of form that vocal music encouraged.

    The method Herbie used for creating Sunlight and the next three “vocal” LPs – Feets Don’t Fail Me Now (1979), Monster (1980), and Magic Windows (1981) – was innovative and productive, and synergized and enabled as usual by further technological advances. Well before MIDI (Musical Instrumental Digital Interface) became a recognized standard for controlling and interfacing various digital devices, Herbie and his brilliant technical collaborator Bryan Bell were devising their own unique and increasingly efficient systems for controlling his growing collection of electronic instruments, and storing the data for recall and re-use. This meant that Herbie could assemble his entire sound array and create, edit and then recall and instantly re-assemble entire rhythm tracks and melodic concepts, essentially by himself. He developed a three-tiered compositional technique, first creating the rhythm track and basic harmonic/tonal structure, then the core melodies, and finally collaborating on the final song structures, melodies, and lyrics to create unique songs. The lyricists included his sister Jean, and the Grammy Award-winning writers Jeffrey Cohen and Allee Willis.

    Feets Don’t Fail Me Now was focused on dance/vocal music. Monster, while a mix of dance music, pop, and hard rock, most fully realized Herbie’s development as a songwriter and creator of pop vocal music. Recorded largely in L.A., the core recording band included Wah Wah, Ray Parker Jr. (later to become widely successful as a solo artist [Raydio] and the composer of the theme from Ghostbusters), Alphonse Mouzon on drums, and Sheila Escovedo (later known as Sheila E.) on percussion, plus Gavin Christopher and The Waters Family on vocals. Monster also featured Carlos Santana on the dance single “Saturday Night,” which crossed over from the dance charts to pop music formats.

    As Sunlight was defining a new sound and direction for Herbie while still maintaining an intricate balance between acoustic and synthesized textures, by contrast, Mr. Hands (1980) was an LP that was, in a way, a collection of outtakes and musings, as exemplified by Herbie’s then recent pairings with Ron Carter and Tony Williams from V.S.O.P., and on bassist Jaco Pastorius’ debut LP. Included on Mr. Hands is a remixing of a track recorded on the original Head Hunters session, “Shiftless Shuffle.”

    From 1977 until 1981, the sound of most of the Hancock recordings was dominated by synthesizers. Polyphonic instruments were being designed and manufactured at an alarming rate until musicians were overwhelmed by the choices. Herbie found that some synthesizers had unique tonal qualities, and polyphonality, such as the Prophet models and Yamaha CS-80. In this period, Herbie’s and sound technician Bryan Bell’s programming yielded soundscapes that recalled “real” acoustic instruments – but synthesized, created, and controlled by Herbie alone. Bennie Maupin developed skills on the Lyricon, a wind synthesizer, first used in touches on Man-Child. The instrument became an integral part of the sound of the band, opening up new textures and enabling a wind musician’s technical facility to have influence on presenting electronic sounds.

    Magic Windows (1981) and Lite Me Up (1982) found Herbie in the studio environment favored by L.A. singer/songwriters. Lite Me Up was the first time that Herbie was basically the sole producer of his own album (except for two tracks which were produced by Narada Michael Walden and Jay Graydon). On Lite Me Up Herbie emulated his long-time friend, Quincy Jones, collaborating with songwriter and Jones collaborator Rod Temperton, while using Earth, Wind & Fire engineer George Massenburg and their studios, and a variety of L.A. session singers for the vocals. But, one more time, the Chameleon Herbie was poised to make another monumental, paradigm shift, a conceptually re-organizing and re-defining move that paralleled his shift in 1973 when Head Hunters was first constructed.

    Part 7: THE ROCKIT BAND

    The music industry was suffering financial and esthetic woes as the seventies turned to the eighties. The Chicago Disco Riot in 1979 was a signal that things were changing in the public’s perception of what kind of music they wanted; a demand to segregate (or categorize by specific genres) music according to specific tastes, thereby limiting music and musicians intellectually from the ability to develop a broad, general audience for their music. Punk rock became new wave, tamed and commercialized. R&B and soul music slowly became hip-hop and then rap music. Music Television (MTV), a new video jukebox channel, began using promotional videos to create a successful cable broadcast company that had a profound effect on the music industry, replacing radio as the prime driver for a successful single or new artist. And MTV was dominated by pop music and had no R&B or jazz artists in their performance rotation. As for the state of jazz, the harder edges of fusion morphed into funk and then disco and then into an emerging concept that eventually became known as smooth jazz. With the success of V.S.O.P. and the recent trend of former fusion artists returning to acoustic jazz, many younger musicians began to look back to the past as inspiration for the future.

    Nature abhors a vacuum, so kids in New York’s South Bronx in the late seventies, following closely the revolution in sound and music that had exploded in Jamaica, largely in Kingston, and lacking funds for fancy instruments and sound systems, turned to indigenous devices close at hand to create new songs, forms, and textures. As with the DJs in Kingston, the turntable became an essential instrument. The cheap microphone being broadcast over a boom box. Mouth percussion. Dancing. No-holds-barred words and rhymes. The U.S. version of this music was at first called breakbeat (and eventually hip-hop), but one thing was clear: this music was developing in an urban setting and one in particular – the South Bronx. To capture the energy and excitement of this new sound and direction, you had best be a musician and producer living in New York City in 1981-1982 and have your ear to the street. One such person was producer/musician Bill Laswell.

    Herbie met Laswell at a time when conjunction meant something. Herbie had been involved in every major development in modern jazz and pop music since 1962 and he was at a crossroads by the end of 1982. With Herbie’s immense intellectual curiosity and quick-to-comprehend sensibility when encountering new music concepts, the collaboration of Herbie Hancock and Bill Laswell flourished. Credit is also due to the mutual respect of musicianship shared between Herbie and Laswell and his band Material, which was the springboard for this collaborative project. The musicians created a positive environment to move a conjunctive idea into a complete summation of an emerging art form. What Herbie was looking to find in Monster, a mix of funk and rock, he found with the LP Future Shock (1983), and the globally mold-shattering single “Rockit.”

    As with his life philosophy of inclusive participation, “Rockit” desegregated and de-ghettoized pop music, if only for a brief moment. The composition reflected the emerging breakbeat sound with the use of actual rhythm breaks (spaces left open in the performance for improvisation, usually in between choruses and verses), the turntable, heavy metal crunch guitars, a Fairlight Synthesizer sequence, the Linn Drum, and a techno-driven groove. The composition reflected the mixing of an inclusive and collaborative urban culture but was produced with such elegance that the sound of urbanism was embraced worldwide. The music video for “Rockit” also broke vast new ground. MTV played the “Rockit” video in heavy rotation, and Herbie was seen picture-in-picture, among the very first African-Americans to actually be seen and featured on the historically all-white MTV.

    Following Future Shock were two more Laswell produced projects, Sound-System (1984) and Perfect Machine (1988). Each LP/CD (as Columbia moved into full time CD production) was shaped around the basic sound of the “Rockit” band – turntable, samplers, drum machines, sequencers – but with subtle differences. Sound-System was more Afro-Centric and Perfect Machine tends towards real techno-metal and is intently computer driven.

    Future Shock re-aligned the balance between electronic and acoustic music, street music and pop music, in favor of the electronic. Herbie’s “vocal” LPs and Future Shock opened doors for composing music that was created electronically first, using sequencers. In 1973 Head Hunters and the single “Chameleon” caused a revolution in which jazz and funk merged perfectly. Future Shock and “Rockit” from 1983 caused a similar revolution. While the effects were not felt as strongly in the jazz community at the time, they were embraced wholeheartedly in the global electronica and digital arts communities and on the streets and dance clubs of the world.

    Part 8: SPECIAL PROJECTS

    Herbie’s contract with Columbia was structured specifically to allow him artistic and creative freedom. He could deliver various projects which were ostensibly not “commercial,” and thus was afforded wide artistic freedom for an artist with an exclusive obligation to a single company. In Japan, Columbia/CBS Records partnered with Sony to form CBS/Sony. The people at Sony Japan had been long-time jazz fans and Herbie aficionados, and they proposed various recording projects, conceived strictly for the Japanese market.

    His first project with Sony Japan was Dedication (1974). Taking advantage of Sony’s interest in audio technology, Herbie was able to utilize the advances that Sony engineers were developing at the time, often years ahead of the commercial application of the concept. Dedication was a live to PCM digital recording. This was one of the first recordings to use this new technology. One side was acoustic piano and the other side was all synthesized, both recorded live in real time, without any overdubbing.

    Herbie continued to record for CBS/Sony until 1981 and his output included The Piano and Directstep, early examples of direct-to-disc recordings. Direct-to-disc meant recording live to the actual master disc, which was then used to make stampers to press multiple copies, eliminating the middle elements which affected audio quality.

    Directstep was also one of the first analog recording projects to be converted into a digital format for release as one of the earliest compact discs. The audio quality of these recordings is a tribute to Fred Catero and Tomoo Suzuki, with whom Rubinson and Hancock worked intensively.

    Herbie recorded two trio LPs, both direct to digital, that featured Ron Carter and Tony Williams (The Herbie Hancock Trio (1977) and The Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams (1981). Both LPs – the only piano trio albums Hancock ever recorded under his own name – demonstrated the synergy that these musicians possessed, a deep level of communication that was only obtained by years of conscious effort.

    Herbie rekindled the friendship and the musical spirituality he shared with Chick Corea by partnering for a series of duo concerts, which resulted in a collection of performances released as An Evening With Herbie Hancock And Chick Corea In Concert (1978). The following year, Herbie traveled to Japan for a series of concerts with his current group and recorded an all-vocal LP featuring the Japanese singer Kimiko Kasai (Butterfly, 1979). This LP featured many songs with lyrics by Jean Hancock, Herbie’s sister.

    Before Wynton Marsalis became the jazz icon of today, and fresh from working with Art Blakey, his first major tour was with Herbie, Ron, and Tony. Quartet (1982) represents this collaborative juncture for both of these musicians. After the tour, Herbie went to New York and produced and performed on Wynton’s first Columbia LP.

    A Herbie Hancock project produced by Bill Laswell and Herbie that was not part of the Future Shock, Sound-System, Perfect Machine trilogy was the collaborative album with Foday Musa Suso, Village Life (1985), a one-of-a-kind recording mating Herbie’s synthesizers with the kora and talking drum of Suso.

    In 1974, Herbie did the score for the motion picture Death Wish (1974). Within that project were musicians from The Head Hunters Band mixed with strings, woodwinds, and brass. At times the music goes beyond the limitations of a film score into a singular conception of a composition not dependent on a visual narrative.

    Ten years later, Herbie was asked to be involved in the motion picture Round Midnight (1986). His role was that of a music supervisor, composer, arranger, and actor. It led to Herbie’s first Oscar, an Academy Award for Original Music Score in 1986. Round Midnight is a rare film soundtrack that works on and off the screen as a complete musical statement.

    Herbie left CBS (Columbia) Records in 1988 to embark on a continuing, multifarious recording career, culminating in his ground-breaking The New Standard (Verve, 1995), the elegant celebration of Gershwin’s World (Verve, 1998), the Album Of The Year Grammy Award-winning The River (Verve, 2007), and his grand opus, The Imagine Project (Hancock Records, 2010), which is the summation of all of his experiences in creating music, and expands this to embrace the extant inclusionary principles that make the music of Herbie Hancock so special.

    Part 9: SUMMARY

    Behind every successful artist lies a philosophy of life, whether it is spiritual, mercantile, or technological. It makes no specific limitation, and inside these elements of a life structure come evocations; in the case of musicians, these evocations are manifested in the form of a song, arrangement, recording, concert, and lasting personal connections. Taken in its entirety, The Complete Herbie Hancock Columbia Album Collection gives the listener and reader a glimpse into the internal philosophy of life of Herbie Hancock. Rarely does a collection of sound contain so much of a human being’s revelatory process. In this collection, you can listen to a musician reinvent himself time and time again, all on his own terms. You can understand one aspect of Buddhism, that of inclusion, as Herbie fought against the trends of exclusion by letting his music reach out beyond the restrictions of the status quo. The scope of his music, his person, his outlook on life and the human existence, can be taken as a whole when appreciating the legacy presented in this treasure chest of sound and human soul.

    – Bob Belden

    Very special thanks to Richard Seidel, Seth Rothstein, Hal Miller, Max Schlueter, and Melinda Murphy.

    Sidebar: JEAN HANCOCK

    This box set allows, for the first time, a chance for the listener to fathom the lyrics created for Herbie Hancock’s music by his sister, Jean Hancock. Jean created lyrics that reflected her vision of a world filled with love, hope, beauty, and, above all, optimism. Her words were aspirational, in that she wanted the listener to dream of the environment she would describe in a phrase or rhyme (not in the contemporary sense of rhyming as in hip-hop, but in the more classical poetic sense). In Jean’s vision, “Maiden Voyage” was transformed into an epic journey of self-discovery. Using the premise that love, in and of itself, is a profound human experience, “Satisfied With Love” promises that the only way to true love is to fill the cup of life to capacity. Jean reaches into heartache and the redemption of the soul with her words for “Harvest Time.” “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” is an elegant narrative that recalls the universal desire of children to enter the world of dreams, awaiting all of the fantastical rewards those dreams create.

    Her words reflected a gentleness that was poetic and sensitive, soulful and graceful, the meaning and impact of the poetry flowering with Herbie’s melodies and harmonies. The music that she and her brother created was in temperamental contrast to much of Herbie’s other songwriting collaborations, making these songs unique, artistic gems worthy of consideration.

    Sidebar: DAVID RUBINSON

    David Rubinson, while less known to the wider public, was a revolutionary innovator in the world of production and recording. When studying Herbie Hancock’s work, it quickly becomes apparent that his long-time collaborator, Rubinson, had a strong influence on most of Hancock’s musical explorations. As producer of 25 of Hancock’s albums on CBS/Columbia, Rubinson’s role and importance in the development of Hancock’s career cannot be understated.

    Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rubinson began his career in 1963 at the age of 21 with a short stint as Associate Producer at Capitol Records, and in 1964 produced the Obie-Award winning off-Broadway production of The Cradle Will Rock, which led to his joining Columbia Records. He worked as a staff producer at Columbia from 1964-69, signing and producing important West Coast acts such as The Chambers Brothers, Taj Mahal, Moby Grape, and Santana. Growing increasingly disenchanted with restrictive union rules as well as Columbia’s corporate environment and the label’s initial unwillingness to set up a studio facility in San Francisco, Rubinson relocated to the Bay Area in 1969 as a partner with Bill Graham in The Fillmore Corporation, bringing with him his longtime colleague, the legendary Columbia staff engineer Fred Catero.

    Partnered with Graham and attorney Brian Rohan, The Fillmore Corporation was designed to produce, record, engineer, promote, manage, publish and book artists all under one roof, but quickly dissolved in November 1971 after mounting discord among the partners. In January 1972, Rubinson formed his own production and management company, David Rubinson & Friends Inc./Adamsdad Management. By this time, Hancock and Rubinson were already busy working together.

    The collaboration between Hancock and Rubinson had started in 1970, when Warner Brothers Records and Hancock’s then manager, Lee Weisel, were seeking ways to develop Hancock into a more commercially viable artist and assigned Rubinson to this task following his success with Warners’ group Malo. But instead of pushing Hancock to pursue the soul- and funk-infused direction of Fat Albert Rotunda and catering to a larger audience, Rubinson advocated the increasingly avant-garde route that Hancock’s sextet was beginning to travel. In fact, Rubinson had earlier developed a keen interest in experimental electronic music back in New York City, employing it extensively while producing the band, The United States of America, whose 1967 LP includes many early examples of the use of the Moog and custom built synthesizers, sampling and ring modulators in a textual and largely non-melodic manner. A more widely known and earlier example of Rubinson’s pioneering use of technology was The Chambers Brothers’ 1967 genre-shattering “Time Has Come Today,” which makes unique and extensive use of echo reinsertion and tape feedback effects. Warner Brothers, however, was not at all happy with Hancock’s and Rubinson’s first collaboration, Mwandishi nor with their brilliant second effort, Crossings, and dropped Hancock from their roster at the same time they dropped Labelle and Earth, Wind & Fire. Shortly thereafter, Hancock and Rubinson (now Hancock’s manager as well) clinched a deal with Columbia via Herbie’s long-time fan and Rubinson’s old friend Bruce Lundvall, paving the way for a remarkable string of productions for this label.

    With masterful mixing skills at their disposal, David Rubinson and Fred Catero spearheaded the nascence of a new level of production in jazz. But the most profound impact the two had on Hancock’s music, and indeed on most of their jazz and fusion productions beginning with Mwandishi, was their COLLABORATION – working together with exceptional creativity and vision in experimenting with studio post-production. After tracking extensive live takes to capture the group’s intimacy and cohesiveness, the duo, with full participation by Hancock, set about sculpting the music by treating the studio, and mixing and post-production as fully realized creative tools, that is, as another instrument. The degree to which Hancock was involved in this process was unprecedented in jazz. While having always taken a keen interest in new technologies, it was only then that he delved deep into production techniques for the first time and conceived these as forms of composition, expression and art. This marked a radical shift from the old style when artists would record their albums quickly, often in one day, and with little involvement or voice in the post-production process.

    With an ever-growing artist portfolio and the seminal successes of Hancock’s Head Hunters and the Pointer Sisters’ hits, including “Yes We Can Can,” among others, Rubinson was quickly expanding his business and his art in the mid-seventies. When CBS, who had opened a studio in San Francisco, decided to divest itself of this property, Rubinson took over the lease, and in 1978, established The Automatt. The best-equipped and the only automated studio in the Bay Area at the time, it was Rubinson’s creative base for many of Hancock’s albums, as well as albums by Patti LaBelle, Santana and numerous other artists (Rubinson produced the music and soundtrack LP for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now there as well).

    The music production part of the relationship between Herbie Hancock and David Rubinson, which spanned the entire 1970s, was disrupted suddenly when Rubinson, who was usually working 12 to 16 hour days, suffered a heart attack in February 1982 and had to undergo bypass surgery later that year. His illness precluded continuing his career in the studio, mandating that he turn full time to artist management, including Herbie. Two years later, Rubinson reluctantly closed The Automatt after the owner quadrupled his rent. Gratefully, we are left with his extraordinary legacy of working with great and innovative artists – none more notable than Herbie Hancock.

    Sidebar: HERBIE HANCOCK – COMPOSER

    As much as Herbie Hancock is known for both his piano virtuosity and highly influential style, his wider public influence has been realized in his compositions. Since 1962, when Mongo Santamaria recorded “Watermelon Man,” Herbie has nurtured, developed, and matured as a composer of music that is beyond genre or limitations of style. At once immediately recognizable and possessed with a flow, rhythmic and harmonic, and topped with a melody that can be remembered from the moment of discovery, the compositions of Herbie Hancock will take the listener on a journey into his life and experiences.

    In simple terms, a musical composition can be qualified as having an organized melody with harmony and rhythm. Individuality, experience, curiosity, and virtuosity are what set apart the great composers.

    Herbie can create music that is from his mind alone, such as “Watermelon Man” (on Head Hunters and Flood), “Maiden Voyage” (on Dedication, Flood, V.S.O.P., Tempest In The Colosseum, An Evening With Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea In Concert, Butterfly w/ Kimiko Kasai, and Perfect Machine), and “Actual Proof” (on Thrust and Flood), and he can collaborate with other composers as demonstrated by “Chameleon” (on Head Hunters and Flood), “Come Running To Me” (on Sunlight), “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” (on Flood, Man-Child, and V.S.O.P), and “Paradise” (on Feets Don’t Fail Me Now). This is a rare flexibility for a musician so closely associated with jazz. The range of imagination held in the compositions in this box is staggering. From the very abstract “Hidden Shadows” (from Sextant) to the impressionistic “Sun Touch” (from Man-Child) to electronica (Sound-System) to classic jazz such as “Domo” (from V.S.O.P.: Live Under The Sky), there is no path that is discarded in the process of complete self-discovery as a composer.

    There are the popular songs from Herbie’s catalog of music that are constantly being transformed by the various musical situations in which Herbie presents himself. “Maiden Voyage,” for example, has evolved not only as a form of improvisation, but also as varied musical coloration on his numerous tours. On this box set “Maiden Voyage” morphs from solo piano (Dedication) to duo (An Evening With Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea In Concert) to acoustic jazz quintet (the V.S.O.P. recordings, to electric funk (Flood) to techno (Perfect Machine) in ways that demonstrate the dual flexibility of performer and composer, with both disciplines evolving in parallel.

    An undervalued aspect of Herbie’s compositions is the variety of orchestration that he employs. A true pioneer in the mixing of acoustic and electronic instruments, this merging of aesthetics gave his music a very personal sound, so unique that it was instantly recognizable. From the three-horn front line of the Mwandishi band, he still managed to incorporate that sound in his later music, most noticeably on Man-Child and Death Wish, both recorded in a similar time frame. With “Sun Touch” (Man-Child), Herbie added a small brass ensemble, employed alto and bass flutes (overdubbed), used the natural textural differences to give electronic jazz a warmth that could not be achieved solely by synthesizers, and brought the bass clarinet into the forefront. Death Wish is another overlooked recording, owing in large part to its chronic un-availability since its release in 1974. “Joanna’s Theme” is the singular track from the album that mixes the intense emotional drama required for film scoring with the signature Hancock harmonic twists and turns. Both of these recordings – Man-Child and Death Wish – are ultimate extensions of a singular train of thought.

    As the 1970s moved towards broader formats for composers to incorporate into their creative potential, Herbie was able to explore the effects of common socialization on popular music. As he approached funk and dance music with the same ideas that he applied to jazz and film music, one can hear exploration and experimentation with the goal of being able to imprint your DNA onto everything you touched. That is why this continuity can be heard in songs such as “I Thought It Was You” (on Sunlight, Directstep, and Butterfly) which combines the newly explored multi-part dance music form with hard core jazz fusion. When Herbie collaborated with contemporary pop songwriters, the music took on a different direction, but the sound of the presentation remained totally in the world of Herbie, as exemplified by Lite Me Up.

    In his work with Bill Laswell, Herbie did not focus on composition in the classic sense. In an abstract way, Laswell brought Herbie back to his Headhunters roots, with music created collectively by musicians on the spot and in tune with society. This return to his instinctive roots laid the groundwork for Herbie’s creative output from the ’90s onwards. He composed less music but rearranged his own music, spontaneously customizing it for the occasion. By the mid-nineties, he started to explore other music through the eyes of an arranger. It was a natural and logical evolution for such an accomplished musician yearning to reflect contemporary society.

    Sidebar: THE PIANIST

    Herbie Hancock’s acoustic piano style is a reflection of his early influences, not only jazz, but classical. His love of Mozart, Chopin, Lizst, and Beethoven taught his hands to phrase fluidly (while educating his ear) and this translated well to jazz. Gravitating to the styles and ideas of Horace Silver, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly, it soon became apparent that he could take elements from each and create his own unique harmonic and rhythmic approach to the piano.

    One of the hallmarks of Herbie’s piano performances is his touch and sensitivity to the colors and overtones that a piano is able to offer. With Miles Davis, he used the overtones to his advantage and literally invented ‘accompaniment as orchestration.’ As he began to lead groups of his own, it was only natural for his style to become more assertive.

    With the advent of the Fender Rhodes electric piano in the mid-sixties, the concept of keyboard touch began to evolve. More and more, the performer had to adjust to the various levels of resistance that electric keyboards provided when pressing a key. The increase of volume also changed the way pianists adjusted to electric keyboards, and in general, they became more aware of the percussive nature of the instruments.

    Herbie was one of the first pianists to develop a distinctive touch on both the acoustic piano and the Fender Rhodes. Being a mechanical engineer by nature, Herbie began to customize his instruments, giving him his signature Rhodes sound – that of a soft, silky sheen. If you listen to the sound of the Rhodes from Head Hunters to Man-Child to Sunlight, you will find the texture and color of the instrument remain consistent and very personal.

    With the development of the Yamaha Electric Grand Piano, Herbie was able to translate the percussive approach that came from his performances on the Rhodes and Hohner Clavinet in such a way that he transformed his approach to acoustic jazz. On acoustic piano, the dialogue that Herbie and Tony Williams maintained on the V.S.O.P. recordings demonstrates this new approach, in that the role of the piano became equal in strength to the drums. Yet during his sojourn with V.S.O.P., where his playing leaned towards the aggressive, Herbie returned to a softer-edged approach with the acoustic solo piano recording, The Piano. And on his duo recording with Chick Corea, you can hear him combine and fully exploit both the lyrical and the percussive signatures of his technique.

    For examples of this evolutionary process listen to the following examples:

    Fender Rhodes:
    Head Hunters – “Chameleon”
    Thrust – “Butterfly”
    Man-Child – “Sun-Touch”
    Sunlight – “Come Running To Me”

    Acoustic Piano:
    The Piano – “My Funny Valentine”
    An Evening With Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea In Concert – “Someday My Prince Will Come”
    Herbie Hancock Trio – “Speak Like A Child”
    Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter + Tony Williams – “That Old Black Magic”

    Sidebar: THE SYNTHESIST

    As the electric guitar defined the sixties as the ‘it’ instrument, by the end of the seventies, the synthesizer was honored with this distinction. No other group of instruments changed the way music was conceptualized, created, and perceived more than the various synthesizers that developed during the 16 years covered in this collection. From the simple, monophonic (one note at a time) ARP synthesizers that lent an exotic nature to Sextant (1973), to the multi-voice (many notes at one time), computer-based instruments such as the Fairlight used on Sound-System (1984), Herbie Hancock was involved artistically, scientifically, and musically in the advancement of the challenging and ever-changing world of synthesis.

    Early synthesizers were created without keyboards and their sounds were imitative of nature or things totally beyond description. Moog created the Minimoog in the late sixties, and ARP followed with the 2600, which gave the performer more options to alter the sound and included a primitive sequencer used most effectively on “Rain Dance” from Sextant. Most importantly, the ARP laid out the basic design for polyphonic synthesizers. Herbie settled on the ARP and the Moog, and on Head Hunters (1974), one can hear both instruments used to their fullest possibilities. The bass line on “Chameleon” is performed on a polyphonic Minimoog (giving the bass two voices to fatten up the sound) and the strings and otherworldly colors are performed on the ARP 2600 and the ARP String Ensemble.

    Using Head Hunters as a starting point, one can take a journey through the history of the synthesizer as used in popular music. The subtle mixing of synthetic instruments and acoustic instruments was never exemplified better than by “Sun Touch” from Man-Child (1976). By the time Sunlight was recorded (1977), the synthesizer could become the voice (as with the use of the Vocoder). Other instruments expanded the multi-purpose uses, in essence replacing winds, brass, and strings with names like Prophet Brass or Oberheim strings. The best examples of the Prophet and Oberheim are on Magic Windows (1981) and Lite Me Up (1982).

    On the ground-breaking Future Shock (1983), the production took advantage of the recent developments in computer-based analog synthesizers such as the Fairlight. The Fairlight, as well as the Synclavier, were forerunners of the modern Keyboard Workstation. It was during this period that the drum machine (the Linn Drum) began to have prominence in production methodology and a large impact on the way music was created. Ultimately, digital synthesis was developed using a computer program to imitate what an analog synthesizer could do. PCM, developed by Sony, was the concept used to make Herbie’s early digital recordings such as the Japan-only V.S.O.P. live albums from the seventies. In 1983, MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) allowed for different instruments to be synchronized. With digital synthesis and MIDI, you could reduce the amount of keyboards and increase the amount of sounds (with the sound module coming soon after). You can hear this sound module effect on Sound-System (1984) and Perfect Machine (1988).

    Herbie was able to absorb all of the technical (and sometimes problematic) movements in commercial synthesis and construct a personal approach, unique sound, and sense of color. He could find the right sound from a particular instrument for the perfect moment, creating demand in the marketplace for that instrument. The logical reason he used the synthesizer was to expand his orchestration potential on recordings with larger acoustic ensembles (Death Wish and Man Child). Herbie, as well, has always had a love of mechanical engineering and all things technical. If you put those two sides of the thought process together, you could end up with one word—curiosity.

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  • Videos: Herbie Hancock Harvard Lectures – The Ethics of Jazz

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to offer fans an incredible educational resource: all 8.5 hours of his legendary Harvard lectures in one place.

    “The Ethics Of Jazz” examines topics including “The Wisdom Of Miles Davis,” “Breaking The Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation And New Technologies.”

    Click a title below to watch each …

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to offer fans an incredible educational resource: all 8.5 hours of his legendary Harvard lectures in one place.

    “The Ethics Of Jazz” examines topics including “The Wisdom Of Miles Davis,” “Breaking The Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation And New Technologies.”

    Click a title below to watch each lecture.

    Click here to watch Lecture 1: ‘The Wisdom Of Miles Davis’

    Click here to watch Lecture 2: ‘Breaking The Rules’

    Click here to watch Lecture 3: ‘Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom’

    Click here to watch Lecture 4: ‘Innovation and New Technologies’

    Click here to watch Lecture 5: ‘Buddhism And Creativity’

    Click here to watch Lecture 6: ‘Once Upon A Time’

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  • An Open Letter To The Next Generation Of Artists – by Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

    To the Next Generation of Artists,

    We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.

    From the horror at the Bataclan to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not …

    To the Next Generation of Artists,

    We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.

    From the horror at the Bataclan to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.

    While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.

    We’d like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession.

    FIRST, AWAKEN TO YOUR HUMANITY

    We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life.

    EMBRACE AND CONQUER THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

    The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through the exploration of new sounds, rhythms, and harmonies or unexpected collaborations, processes and experiences, we encourage you to dispel repetition in all of its negative forms and consequences. Strive to create new actions both musically and with the pathway of your life. Never conform.

    WELCOME THE UNKNOWN

    The unknown necessitates a moment-to-moment improvisation or creative process that is unparalleled in potential and fulfillment. There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.

    UNDERSTAND THE TRUE NATURE OF OBSTACLES

    We have this idea of failure, but it’s not real; it’s an illusion. There is no such thing as failure. What you perceive as failure is really a new opportunity, a new hand of cards, or a new canvas to create upon. In life there are unlimited opportunities. The words, “success” and “failure”, themselves, are nothing more than labels. Every moment is an opportunity. You, as a human being, have no limits; therefore infinite possibilities exist in any circumstance.

    DON’T BE AFRAID TO INTERACT WITH THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU

    The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.

    STRIVE TO CREATE AGENDA-FREE DIALOGUE

    Art in any form is a medium for dialogue, which is a powerful tool. It is time for the music world to produce sound stories that ignite dialogue about the mystery of us. When we say the mystery of us, we’re talking about reflecting and challenging the fears, which prevent us from discovering our unlimited access to the courage inherent in us all. Yes, you are enough. Yes, you matter. Yes, you should keep going.

    BE WARY OF EGO

    Arrogance can develop within artists, either from artists who believe that their status makes them more important, or those whose association with a creative field entitles them to some sort of superiority. Beware of ego; creativity cannot flow when only the ego is served.

    WORK TOWARDS A BUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS

    The medical field has an organization called Doctors Without Borders. This lofty effort can serve as a model for transcending the limitations and strategies of old business formulas which are designed to perpetuate old systems in the guise of new ones. We’re speaking directly to a system that’s in place, a system that conditions consumers to purchase only the products that are dictated to be deemed marketable, a system where money is only the means to an end. The music business is a fraction of the business of life. Living with creative integrity can bring forth benefits never imagined.

    APPRECIATE THE GENERATION THAT WALKED BEFORE YOU

    Your elders can help you. They are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and catapult you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.

    LASTLY, WE HOPE THAT YOU LIVE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT WONDER

    As we accumulate years, parts of our imagination tend to dull. Whether from sadness, prolonged struggle, or social conditioning, somewhere along the way people forget how to tap into the inherent magic that exists within our minds. Don’t let that part of your imagination fade away. Look up at the stars and imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a pilot. Imagine exploring the pyramids or Machu Picchu. Imagine flying like a bird or crashing through a wall like Superman. Imagine running with dinosaurs or swimming like mer-creatures. All that exists is a product of someone’s imagination; treasure and nurture yours and you’ll always find yourself on the precipice of discovery.

    How does any of this lend to the creation of a peaceful society you ask? It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you. Be the leaders in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate as you dance through the voyage that is this lifetime.

    – Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock

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  • “The Infinite Imagination of Herbie Hancock”

    Jazz legend Chick Corea lauds Hancock’s powerful sense of musical exploration

    “Herbie Hancock was on the New York City jazz scene making some young musical noise a few years before I arrived in 1959, fresh out of high school in Chelsea, Mass. I remember seeing him live for the first time when I went to the …

    Jazz legend Chick Corea lauds Hancock’s powerful sense of musical exploration

    “Herbie Hancock was on the New York City jazz scene making some young musical noise a few years before I arrived in 1959, fresh out of high school in Chelsea, Mass. I remember seeing him live for the first time when I went to the old Birdland at 52nd St. and Broadway. It was a Monday night. Mondays were the jam session nights at this venerable old club, and there was Herbie onstage with Joe Chambers and some horn players sitting in. I distinctly remember being amazed by the free and creative approach he and the band were taking with the standards they were playing. They were changing the rules and not asking for a license to do it. Right away, I connected with Herbie’s sense of adventure and musical exploration, which I myself had just begun realizing.

    The amazing thing about this adventure of his is that for a whole lifetime the adventure hasn’t stopped. Miles set a powerful example for all of us — and Herbie was an integral part of that groundbreaking quintet that changed the face of jazz and music in general. But he has taken it several steps further by making full use of every new keyboard and sonic possibility, bridging new musical forms to combine the richness of our music’s past with the unknown of the new creative ideas from his seemingly infinite imagination. With his ongoing creativeness and successes in movie scores and both pop and classical music, he’s certainly never been afraid to explore and to change — and does so frequently and unabashedly.
     
    From his first solo albums Takin’ Off, Empyrean Isles, and Maiden Voyage, to his reach-out-to-the-world collaborations such as Possibilities, River: The Joni Letters and The Imagine Project, his ever-evolving musical creativeness continues to inspire and soothe souls the world over.
     
    Ever since I’ve known Herbie, he has always inspired me and the music world to be free and reach for greater heights of accomplishment. His validation of the artist’s imagination and his demonstration of its ultimate purpose through the amazing music he has created — and continues to create are a touchstone for every future culture to aspire to.
     
    The world without Herbie Hancock is unimaginable. His contributions to music and to humanity on this planet are immeasurable. Congratulations, Herbie. You are simply the best!” – Chick Corea

    Herbie Hancock, who received a 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy, was among the artists saluted at the “GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends — a special all-star concert honoring The Recording Academy’s 2016 Special Merit Awards recipients.

    Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea is a jazz and fusion pianist, keyboardist, and composer who has been nominated for 63 GRAMMY Awards — and has won 22. As a member of Miles Davis’s band in the late 1960s, he participated in the birth of the electric jazz fusion movement.

    Click here to read the original source article via CuePoint

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  • Essay: “The Life And Times – Reflections On A Jazz Legend” by Bob Belden

    From The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions Box Set Liner Notes (1998)

    I am a big fan of Herbie Hancock. I have always liked his music and his sound. Unlike most writers on jazz, I will tell you about my experiences with the sound and music of Herbie Hancock. It was 1978, and I was …

    From The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions Box Set Liner Notes (1998)

    I am a big fan of Herbie Hancock. I have always liked his music and his sound. Unlike most writers on jazz, I will tell you about my experiences with the sound and music of Herbie Hancock. It was 1978, and I was a freshman in college at a big music school. There were hundreds of musicians polishing their skills at this school, mostly jazz-oriented, and as one became a part of the scene, the rituals of all aspiring jazz musicians came to be earned. One ritual is that of discovery; where you find something in a recording or at a performance that takes you to another level of understanding. Another is learning tunes and defining your direction by studying the music that interests you.

    My first “discovery” was when Pat Coil (who lived down the hall in the dorm) had Sextant on his stereo. The sound was amazing. Pat’s only attempt to define this music to me (as a courtesy) was to say “Herbie”. That night, hanging out at San Riney’s house, the turntable exploded With Miles Davis’s “My Funny Valentine”. When the title track came up, Sam listened to the first few notes of the piano intro, closed his eyes and just said “Herbie….” The very next day, my best friend at that time (Mike Lotz, a talented pianist), played something on his stereo, looked at me with a smug hipness and asked the question “Who’s that?” All I knew was one word that would make me or break me in the world of college hipness, and I quietly said “Herbie.” Mike was shocked. I was now “in”. Clearly, I had to find out more about this Herbie guy.

    I had also learned another tried and true jazz ritual; the “blindfold test.” It became a true test of knowledge if one could identify a jazz artist based on aural evidence only. To get better at this art of identification, I soon learned how to discern various stylistic traits of my growing stable of favorite artists. Pretty soon, my peers and I were rushing to the record stores, buying up LPs that had that magic name, the cat you dug and wanted to know more about. This leads us to Ritual Number Four – the intense study of one particular jazz artist via recordings. I knew cats who went on Coltrane fetishes, Miles binges, Billy Cobham drum fests and, (if you were really in), Sonny Clark songbook rehearsals. Then you started a ‘band’ that copied exactly the sound of your recent fetish, and now you were really in.

    I played the tenor saxophone as a major instrument in school. But I have played piano since the age of three. So I would moonlight as a pianist (my nickname was “Hammerhands”). I love the piano. It is a perfect instrument; a primary instrument at the core of musical creation, the sounding board for ideas. My taste in music was shaped by my freshman year of high school, and I sought the sound that satisfied my curiosity and gave my soul something too. So when I started hearing the word “Herbie…” over and over from musicians that I respected, I sought out all of Mr. Hancock’s recordings; at first to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for his sound, and then, as my library grew (of Herbie performances both as a leader and sideman), I began to appreciate Herbie’s art on another level. I found something totally enjoyable in his music; as a soloist, an accompanist, a composer and arranger.

    When do people come to the music of Herbie Hancock? For most of my generation, it was the 1974 hit “Chameleon”, which made Herbie a household name to the general music public, and hundreds of covers (disco, big band, Celtic, you name it) followed. Herbie was on top. His output during the seventies and eighties was staggering. After his band Headhunters reached a peak, Herbie created V.S.O.P., an all-acoustic quintet that helped spur the renewed interest in mainstream jazz during the heyday of fusion. “Rockit” was a huge hit on the dance scene and crossed over into the top ten in 1983. In 1986, the soundtrack to the movie Round Midnight earned Herbie an Oscar! But behind this wave of popularity is the story of an artist whose success hid the hard work, unending curiosity and pure genius.

    Herbert Jeffery Hancock was born in Chicago on April 12, 1940. He told Leonard Feather (included in the liner notes to his first album), “My parents are not professional musicians but my father is a bathtub singer and my mother tinkers around on piano. I was always interested in music as a very young child, and began music lessons at seven. Four years later I performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.” He attended Hyde Park High School, and formed his first jazz group which gigged around Chicago. After graduation, he decided to attend Grinnell College in the heartland of Iowa. At first, he was an engineering student, but the musician in him took over, and soon he changed his major to music and graduated in June 196O with a degree in music composition. With his sheepskin in hand, Herbie headed back to Chicago.

    Chicago in 1960 was the second largest city in America. A robust mid-western city with a touch of the frontier, Chicago was a mecca to many people looking to improve their lives. People of all races and cultures would migrate to the Windy City for work in factories and mills, stockyards and businesses. Large, segregated neighborhoods evolved into completely independent communities. The South Side of Chicago was Black America, it was Urban America: clubs and bars on every corner, a reflection of the people who lived there and the conditions they lived in. The North Side was the opposite, largely white, and no corner bars. In between was the “Loop,” the Tenderloin district. The jazz scene in Chicago was small but steady. Jam sessions, some club gigs and the occasional recording session.

    Upon returning from school, Herbie got a job as a mailman but soon he quit the job and began to make the rounds as a young jazz pianist for hire. He told Feather, “My first gig with a name group was a two week engagement in Chicago with Coleman Hawkins.” (This was at the Bird House in September 1960). His reputation was spreading fast. Donald Byrd was booked into the Bird House over the Christmas holidays and suddenly was confronted by a homesick Duke Pearson. Duke split to Atlanta, and Donald was without his pianist. So John Coat, the club owner, was quizzed as to who would be available and who could “cut” the gig. Mr. Coat suggested two pianists Denny Zeitlin, who at the time was a student at Northwestern University, and Herbie Hancock, who had just moved back to town and had been impressive backing up Coleman Hawkins. The club owner briefly outlined each musicians style, and for reasons only known to God, Donald said, “Herbie…”

    This angelic figure of a club owner also had a state-of-the-art two track tape recorder and two microphones installed on the bandstand. The rehearsal was taped, and it reveals (on “French Spice”, which I have heard) an immediate rapport with the music, sight reading prowess and complete confidence beyond his 21 years. For some reason, this was a magic moment caught on tape; when Herbie’s playing impressed Donald Byrd so much that he ‘fired’ Duke Pearson and hired Herbie on the spot to join Pepper Adams, Laymon Jackson and Lex Humphries. Down Beat magazine was at the Birdhouse in the person of Don DeMichael, who in his prophetic review stated, “Byrd has come up with what may be a major piano find in 21-year-old Herbie Hancock, he showed brilliance in both technique and conception.” Herbie was headed for New York.

    As soon as Herbie arrived in the Bronx (where he lived with Donald Byrd), he was in the studio making his first professional recording session. Ironically, the label was Warwick, an odd, unorganized (well… not the owners) record company. Teddy Charles, a talented vibraphonist. was hired as an A&R man, and Teddy offered Pepper Adams a deal. Pepper accepted and hired Donald, Herbie and Laymon to accompany him. Jimmy Cobb was on drums. Out of This World (Pepper Adams, Warwick LP-2041) was released to no great acclaim, but it was an auspicious debut for Herbie. Recorded was “Curro’s” (later recorded as French Spice”), “Mr. Lucky” and “I’m An Old Cowhand, three staples of the Byrd bandbook. (“Curro’s” and “I’m An Old Cowhand” would be re-recorded by Byrd with Herbie for Blue Note).

    Working with Donald Byrd gave Herbie quick entry into the jazz Scene in New York. “Herbie worked with Phil and Quill at the Half Note right after he came to town,” remembers Phil Woods. He took care of business. He was the first young cat who had it all together; he was fully equipped musically to do everything, and the last of his generation not to be confined to wholly academic standards.” He enrolled-at Byrd’s suggestion-at the Manhattan School Of Music and studied briefly with Vittorio Giannini. On April 17, 1961 Herbie entered the studio for Blue Note Records for the first time as pianist on a Donald Byrd session. For some reason, this session was not released until 1979 (as Donald Byrd’s Chant, Blue Note LT-991). On the date was Pepper Adams, Herbie, Doug Watkins on bass and Teddy Robinson on drums, and this group recorded “I’m An Old Cowhand” (the same arrangement as on the Pepper Adams Warwick album) and “Cute’ (which had been recorded by Byrd on his album The Cat Walk)

    Soon the Donald Byrd group was out on the road, with Pepper Adams, Herbie, Teddy Robinson and Cleveland Eaton on bass. The band was recorded verite style at Jorgie’s Jazz Club in St. Louis, on the night of June 24, 1961. In the late seventies, an album was released from this evening, and the group was performing music that would eventually end up on Donald Byrd’s next Blue Note recording session (“Jorgie’s”, “Hush, and “6 Ms”). Also included on this LP is a trio track, with Herbie, Cleveland and Teddy performing Herbie’s arrangement of “Like Someone In Love”. (Introducing the trio, Donald reveals Herbie’s nickname at the time: “Oatmeal.”) Herbie is confident and swinging.

    On September 21, 1961, The Donald Byrd Quintet entered Rudy Van Gelder’s New Jersey studio to record the album Royal Flush (BN-4101). This was Herbie’s first appearance on a Blue Note recording released (in late 1962) to the public. In the studio were Pepper, Herbie, Butch Warren on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Herbie’s first original composition to be recorded was “Requiem” from this session. This was Donald’s working band into 1962.

    Less than three months later, on December 11, 1961, Byrd again entered the Van Gelder studio to record for Blue Note. Wayne Shorter-then the tenor soloist with Art Blakey-and Herbie recorded together for the first time on this session. Butch Warren and Billy Higgins returned. The recording was released as Free Form (BN-4118), and it clearly shows that Herbie had found his own sound and voice. The interaction between Herbie and Donald Byrd is uncanny. Byrd states in the liner notes that he’s “sure Herbie’s going to be very important.” Herbie’s “Three Wishes” was recorded on that session, but was mot released until 1979.

    Herbie had absorbed and amended many of his early influences into a unique and brilliant style. His head was turned around by Art Blakey’s Hard Bop album (Columbia CL-104O) and soon he was under the spell of Horace Silver, Wynton Kelly and the school of Bud Powell. He found inspiration in Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal, (Byrd had even commented in the liner notes to Royal Flush that Herbie, “sounds almost like a combination of Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal and Hank Jones”) and his touch became more refined and sensitive. When he first played with Byrd – Donald must have heard this connection – it was immediate and effective. The drive of Bud Powell, the buoyancy of Wynton Kelly, the romanticism of Bill Evans and the funkiness of Horace Silver. No wonder everyone likes him.

    Donald and Herbie joined up with the Al Grey-Billy Mitchell group for a live recording at the jazz club Birdland on the night of January 31, 1962. Trombonist Grey and tenor saxophonist Mitchell had a popular group at the time which included Herman Wright on bass, Eddie Williams on drums and a young vibist from California who was moving to New York with this gig. His name was Bobby Hutcherson, and Bobby and Herbie would become musical soulmates from that day forward. Snap Your Fingers (Argo/Cadet 700) as released does not reveal much in the way of memorable Hancock solos (or even Hutcherson solos), but it is Herbie’s first session as a freelance sideman. – Bob Belden, 1998

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  • Audio: BBC ‘Godfathers Of Jazz’ Program

    “Julian Joseph profiles one of the great pioneers of jazz: pianist/composer Herbie Hancock, famous for Grammy-award winning instrumental single “Rockit” and his collaborations with trumpeter Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Joni Mitchell and the Headhunters.”

    Click here to listen to the feature via BBC

    “Julian Joseph profiles one of the great pioneers of jazz: pianist/composer Herbie Hancock, famous for Grammy-award winning instrumental single “Rockit” and his collaborations with trumpeter Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Joni Mitchell and the Headhunters.”

    Click here to listen to the feature via BBC

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  • Video: Herbie performs live in Brooklyn

    “Herbie Hancock always seems to be on some kind of voyage. Whether he’s improvising in a spaceship surrounded by 11 keyboards or forming new iterations of bands, you can always count on him to push the possibilities and the boundaries of jazz.

    This concert presentation includes the most recent member of the group: Terrace Martin, …

    “Herbie Hancock always seems to be on some kind of voyage. Whether he’s improvising in a spaceship surrounded by 11 keyboards or forming new iterations of bands, you can always count on him to push the possibilities and the boundaries of jazz.

    This concert presentation includes the most recent member of the group: Terrace Martin, who’s collaborated with Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, on keyboards and alto saxophone. It also features Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, James Genus on bass and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.

    On this radio episode, Jazz Night in America host Christian McBride sits down with Hancock to discuss his technological journey over the years. We’ll also hear stories from Herbie’s longtime keyboard tech, Bryan Bell, and a testimonial from Paris Strother, keyboard player for the R&B trio KING.” – via NPR

    Performers: Herbie Hancock (piano, keytar, vocals), James Genus (bass), Trevor Lawrence, Jr. (drums), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Terrace Martin (keyboards, vocals, alto saxophone)

    Click here to watch the video via NPR

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  • Billboard: The 30 Best Funk Songs Ever

    Billboard Dance ranks Herbie’s “Chameleon” as one of the best funk songs ever. Click here to read the original source article.

    Billboard Dance ranks Herbie’s “Chameleon” as one of the best funk songs ever. Click here to read the original source article.

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  • “The Photographer Behind Blue Note Records That Defined A Label”

    In the iconic portrait of John Coltrane for the cover of his seminal 1957 album “Blue Train,” Coltrane stands silhouetted in deep cerulean blue against a dark background and appears to be sucking on a reed for his saxophone. But flipping through the original, unfiltered photograph it’s revealed that Coltrane was actually sucking on a lollipop. That iconic image …

    In the iconic portrait of John Coltrane for the cover of his seminal 1957 album “Blue Train,” Coltrane stands silhouetted in deep cerulean blue against a dark background and appears to be sucking on a reed for his saxophone. But flipping through the original, unfiltered photograph it’s revealed that Coltrane was actually sucking on a lollipop. That iconic image — along with the more than 30,000 he would take in the 1950s and 60s — was photographed by the legendary Blue Note records photographer Francis Wolff.

    This year Blue Note Records celebrates its 75th anniversary, and along with it the celebrated career of  jazz photographer Francis Wolff who almost single-handedly defined the aesthetic and cool of a record label and its generation of jazz greats in their heyday. Musicians like John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and dozens of others, all illuminated in Wolff’s signature style of one source of light that fell across their profiles so sharply that everything else — save for their instruments and the sweat on their cheeks — fell into shadow.

    Born in Berlin in 1907, Wolff’s teenage years were spent honing his two great loves: jazz and photography. He would later escape Nazi-occupied Germany, set sail for New York and reunite with his longtime friend and Blue Note Records co-founder Alfred Lion. Though the early years of the business were not without struggle, the two formed a creative collaboration that would steward jazz and the record label through several decades of ups and downs. In his 1995 biography, “Blue Note Jazz Photography Of Francis Wolff,” bibliographer Michael Cuscuna, along with authors Charlie Lourie and Oscar Schnider, noted that Wolff’s intense desire to capture a specific shot often got in the way of musicians during the recording sessions. His intense love for jazz music was matched only by his consistent input over the presentation of the music itself: from the photographs to the packaging of the album.

    In 2009, the publisher Jazzprezzo published “A History of Blue Note Records In Photographs” to celebrate the then 70th anniversary of Blue Note, and documented the journey of the label through the photographs of Wolff and fellow jazz photographer Jimmy Katz.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Washington Post

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  • Herbie Hancock’s Electronic Instrument Glossary

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to provide fans, musicians, and students around the world with an excellent resource: the complete Electronic Instrument Glossary which appeared in the liner notes of the Complete Columbia Albums Box Set (2013). In this extensively resourced feature, you can discover the exact models of the instruments which Herbie played on many of …

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to provide fans, musicians, and students around the world with an excellent resource: the complete Electronic Instrument Glossary which appeared in the liner notes of the Complete Columbia Albums Box Set (2013). In this extensively resourced feature, you can discover the exact models of the instruments which Herbie played on many of his iconic, classic albums.

    Keywords

    Synthesizers are electronic instruments used to both replicate and affect acoustic sounds, and create an audio landscape which does not exist outside the realm of electronics. Generally in the shape of a keyboard, the synthesizer is the easiest electronic instrument to transition to from a piano; it became the cornerstone of Herbie’s electronic experimentation and expansion.

    Synthesis – A combination of two or more entities that together form something new.

    Analog Synthesizer – A synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically. Analog technology translates audio information into electronic pulses and sends the pulses to another device which translates them back into the original sound. The only drawback to this technology is that an analog signal has a limit to how much data it can transfer at one time.

    Digital Synthesizer – A synthesizer that uses digital signal processing techniques to make musical sounds. Digital technology translates audio information into binary code, a series of “1”s and “0”s, and sends this information to the other end where a device translates that code back into the original sound. Digital technology allows for the ability to send much more information in the same space when compared to analog.

    Monophonic – One note or single musical line occurring at a time. On a monophonic synthesizer only one key on the instrument may be played at a time.

    Polyphonic – Musical texture is formed by the interweaving of several musical lines at once. On a polyphonic synthesizer several keys may be played at the same time.

    Sampler – A sampler is an electronic musical instrument which is similar to a synthesizer but instead of generating sounds it uses sounds that are loaded or recorded by the user. Once a sample is stored, the user can play back that sound using a keyboard, sequencer, or some other form of trigger. Being able to combine a sampled sound with the features offered by a synthesizer offers the musician full creative control.

    Sequencer – An application or a device designed to play back musical notation. Early sequencers were known as “step sequencers” and would play back a pattern of notes in a rigid way without capturing the rhythms and expressiveness of the player. The modern sequencer is able to play back music exactly the way the musician plays it and capture the actual performance as is. A modern sequencer could also be used as a controller for multiple synthesizers so the musician does not need a separate keyboard controller for each one. Another term for a modern sequencer is “digital audio workstation.”

    MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) – A protocol that enables electronic musical instruments to communicate, control, and synchronize with each other. MIDI does not transmit audio signals but rather the event messages such as pitch, intensity, volume, and tempo. This system allows instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines, computers, and samplers to exchange system data.

    ROM (Read Only Memory) – A type of storage media used in computers and other electronic devices. The data in ROM cannot be modified easily and is used to hold information that does not need to be changed or updated. Some synthesizers did not have great memory capabilities built into them early on, and a ROM cartridge was a great way to include more sounds and could be inserted into the synthesizer just like a game cartridge would be inserted into the early video game systems.

    alphaSyntauri – A digital, polyphonic synthesizer released in 1980. It was the first electronic instrument to be based off a home computer and also resembled one. Herbie used this instrument on the 1983 album Future Shock for the tune “Rough.”

    ARP 2600 – This analog, monophonic, patch-cable synthesizer was first released in the early 1970s and had the look of an old telephone patch board. This instrument was used on the 1973 album Sextant for the tune “Rain Dance.”

    ARP Keyboard Model 3604 – Just as you would use your keyboard to operate your home computer, the ARP keyboard serves as the controller for the ARP 2600.

    ARP Odyssey – ARP released this analog, duo-phonic, compact studio version of the 2600 which featured the synthesizer and keyboard together as one piece of equipment. Herbie played this instrument on his album Head Hunters in 1973.

    ARP PE-IV String Ensemble – A polyphonic synthesizer designed as a multi-orchestral machine to reproduce the experience of listening to a full string orchestra. Hancock played this on his album Dedication in 1974.

    ARP Soloist – ARP’s monophonic analog synthesizer featuring 30 preset sounds and designed to sit on top and accompany an organ. This instrument can be heard on several of Herbie’s albums including Head Hunters and Thrust.

    E-MU 4060 Digital Keyboard – Released in 1976, this polyphonic keyboard controller included the ability to sample sounds and also featured a built-in sequencer. It could serve as a controller because of its ability to act as a trigger for other synthesizers if connected to them. Herbie used this instrument on his 1984 album Sound-System.

    E-MU Polyphonic Keyboard – A digital polyphonic synthesizer with built-in sequencer and sampling capabilities first developed by E-MU Systems in the early 1970s. This instrument was used by Herbie on his 1978 album Sunlight, among many others.

    Fairlight CMI – This digital sampling synthesizer, released in 1979, was the first digital sampler of its kind and offered complete synthesis and editing of sampled sounds. Herbie used this on the tune “Rockit” for the album Future Shock in 1983.

    Fairlight Series II – Fairlight’s second version of the CMI included MIDI and other new technology as it was developed in the early 1980s.

    Fairlight Series III – Fairlight’s third and final version of the CMI featured increased memory and double the polyphony of its earlier versions.

    Kurzweil K-250 – First released in 1984, this sampler synthesizer was able to produce sound derived from sampled sounds without the need of a disk drive. It featured both acoustic and ROM sounds built in with twelve-voice polyphony. Herbie used this instrument on his album Perfect Machine in 1988.

    Maestro Universal Synthesizer System – This analog synthesizer was made for use with the guitar. It serves the instrument as an effects pedal would. It also works with the Maestro Sample and Hold Unit which then can sustain the desired effect until the next sound is triggered. Wah Wah Watson used these instruments on the 1975 album Man-Child.

    Memorymoog – This polyphonic synthesizer was first made in 1982 and offered greater preset storage capacity and better sound than its competitors. This instrument was used by Herbie on the tune “Future Shock” for the album of the same name.

    Micromoog – A monophonic analog synthesizer first made in the mid-1970s offered musicians a smaller more affordable synthesizer than what was otherwise available. It can be heard on the 1978 album Directstep.

    Minimoog – First released in 1970, this monophonic analog synthesizer offered musicians a synthesizer they could easily take on tour for live performance because of its size and durability. This instrument was also known for its ability to produce rich bass sounds and was often used as the ‘Minimoog Bass.’ You can hear it in the famous bass line that opens “Chameleon” (Head Hunters).

    Moog Source – A monophonic analog synthesizer that was the first synthesizer to offer patch memory storage. Herbie used this instrument on his 1982 album Lite Me Up.

    Multimoog – A monophonic analog synthesizer first made in 1978 and designed to be an updated version of the Micromoog and cheaper than the Minimoog. This instrument was used by Webster Lewis on the album Directstep.

    Oberheim Eight Voice – This analog polyphonic synthesizer was first released in the late 1970s and featured eight monophonic synthesizers wired together into one unit. Herbie used this instrument on his 1980 album Monster.

    Oberheim Matrix 12 – Released in 1984, this polyphonic analog synthesizer is known for producing one of the best sounds available. It has an ability to produce an almost limitless variety of sounds. This was used on Herbie’s 1988 album Perfect Machine.

    Polymoog – This fully polyphonic analog synthesizer was released in 1975 and featured eight preset sounds, and had the ability to edit those sounds in a variety of ways. Herbie used this instrument on his 1978 album Sunlight.

    Prophet 5 – First made in 1978, this was one of the first fully programmable polyphonic analog synthesizers. It featured patch memory storage, which allowed it to save every knob setting for storing and recalling preferred sounds. Herbie used this on his 1981 album Magic Windows, among many others.

    Prophet Pro-One – Produced in the early 1980s, this monophonic analog synthesizer was a more compact and cheaper version of the Prohpet 5. Michael Beinhorn used this instrument on the album Future Shock in 1983.

    Rhodes Chroma – A rare polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1982 which featured the ability to connect to a personal computer before MIDI had been invented. This was first used by Herbie on the album Future Shock in 1983 and several more albums after it.

    Roland Jupiter 8 – Roland’s first professional analog polyphonic synthesizer made in the early 1980s. It featured eight-voice polyphony and easy programming. Herbie used this on his 1982 album Lite Me Up.

    Roland MKS-80 Super Jupiter – Made in 1984, this synthesizer is a refined Jupiter 8 in a standalone module. It had no keyboard connected to it, and any instrument run through this synthesizer was done so using external cables. It was used by Herbie on his 1988 album Perfect Machine.

    Sennheiser Vocoder VSM201 – This synthesizer was designed specifically to be used with the voice via a microphone. It has the look of a standard PA unit with the ability to use controls normally found on a keyboard synthesizer with the human voice to alter the sound. Herbie first used the Vocoder for his vocals on his 1978 Sunlight album.

    Synclavier Digital – First made in 1979, this digital polyphonic sampling synthesizer was known as the top of the line and could cost as much as $200,000. It featured a full-size weighted keyboard with sixty-four note polyphony. Herbie first used this instrument on his 1982 album Lite Me Up.

    Yamaha CE-20 – A digital synthesizer released in 1982 that featured fourteen preset monophonic sounds and six preset polyphonic sounds. This was used by Herbie on the tune “Earth Beat” for his 1983 album Future Shock.

    Yamaha CP-30 – This electronic piano/synthesizer offers a 76-key keyboard and offers over 250 preset sounds to work with. You can hear this instrument being used on Hancock’s 1978 album Sunlight.

    Yamaha CS-40 – Released in the late 1970s, this analog synthesizer could be played as a two-note duo-phonic instrument or be used in ‘unison’ mode which allowed for monophonic use. Webster Lewis used this instrument on the 1979 album Kimiko Kasai With Herbie Hancock: Butterfly.

    Yamaha CS-80 – A polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1977 that featured eight-voice polyphony and a basic memory system to remember the musician’s settings for each sound. Herbie used this instrument on his 1978 album Directstep.

    Yamaha DX-7 – First made in 1983, this was the first commercially successful polyphonic digital synthesizer and was known for having greater clarity and quality of sound than the analog versions that came before it. This instrument was first used by Herbie on his 1984 album Sound-System.

    Yamaha DZ7llFD – This updated version of the DX-7 held 64 voices in internal memory and another 64 voices in a RAM/ROM cartridge that could be accessed. In dual mode, one could layer these voices in different combinations and create a variety of sounds not available on the standard DX-7. This was used by Herbie on his 1988 album Perfect Machine.

    Yamaha DX-1 Digital – This polyphonic digital synthesizer was the equivalent of two DX-7s put together and was the biggest and most expensive synthesizer in the DX line. Herbie used this on his 1984 album Herbie Hancock And Foday Musa Suso: Village Life.

    Yamaha GS-1 – Yamaha’s first digital polyphonic synthesizer, released in 1981, included features such as velocity sensitivity and three band equalizer. This was used by Herbie on the tune “Earth Beat” for his 1983 album Future Shock.

    Yamaha TX-816 – A digital synthesizer that takes its form as a rack unit simulates having eight DX-7s in one. This allows a musician to store and carry as many sounds as they like without needing several instruments to create them. It also features eight audio outputs and is compatible with all other DX synthesizers. Herbie used this on his 1988 album Perfect Machine.

    Electric Pianos

    An electric piano produces sound mechanically, which is then turned into electronic signals using a pickup. Due to the mechanical aspect, the electric piano is an electro-mechanical instrument, unlike a synthesizer which is an electric instrument. The original sound is produced by pressing a key, which activates a hammer and then strikes a string, metal reed, or tuning fork, depending on the model. That sound is then amplified. The Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos are the most popular examples. Herbie was first introduced to the instrument by Miles Davis and continued to use it on many of his own albums, often as his primary soloing instrument. He used it on some 17 albums in this boxed set during the years 1973-1981.

    Yamaha Electric Grand Piano – First produced in the 1970s, the sound of these pianos is produced using hammer and strings in much the same manner as a piano with the addition of pickups under the strings (like the technology used to amplify a guitar). Herbie used this instrument on his 1976 album V.S.O.P.

    Fender Rhodes Electric Piano – This electro-mechanical piano uses a hammer striking a tuning fork to create its unique sound. Fender released several models of the Rhodes piano, which ranged from having 61-73 keys. This instrument was used by Herbie on the 1973 album Sextant.

    Rhodes 88 Suitcase Piano – An 88-key Fender Rhodes Electric Piano with updates, including plastic hammers to reduce its weight, built-in 100W stereo amplifier and ¼” outputs, allowing this instrument to be plugged directly into a mixing console. Herbie played the Suitcase Piano on his 1980 album Monster.

    Hohner D6 Clavinet – Released in the 1970s, this amplified clavichord produced its sound using hammer striking strings. The clavichord is a stringed keyboard instrument used as early in history as the Middle Ages. Herbie used this instrument on his 1973 album Sextant.

    Drum Machines/Drum Pads

    An electronic musical instrument designed to imitate the sound of drums and other percussion instruments. Most drum machines are sequencers that combine some features of a synthesizer to fully control the desired percussion sounds. A drum machine can look like anything from an electronic drum set used with sticks to a small square unit with pads or knobs to be controlled by hand. Herbie and his band mates used this instrument on various albums to create more rhythmic texture in the music without another drummer.

    Linn LM-1 – This was the first drum machine to use digital samples of real drums and also had the ability to be programmed. This was used by Herbie on his 1980 album Monster.

    Linn Drum – This drum machine released in the early 1980s featured 15 drum sounds sampled from real drums and a sequencer. It was the successor to the LM-1. Herbie used this instrument on his 1981 album Magic Windows.

    Oberheim DMX – A programmable, digital drum machine released in 1981 that featured 24 individual drum sounds and eight-sound polyphony. Michael Beinhorn used this instrument on the 1983 album Future Shock.

    Roland CR-78 – A drum machine released in 1978 featuring analog sounds with digital controls and 34 preset rhythms. This instrument was used by Herbie on his 1980 album Monster.

    Synare Drum – The name Synare stands for synthetic snare. This drum pad allowed the user to drum rhythms onto it and then adjust the sound and tempo of those rhythms using knobs. Michael Beinhorn plays this instrument on the tune “Rockit” for the 1983 album Future Shock.

    Yamaha RX11 Digital Drum Machine – Released in the early 1980s, this programmable drum machine featured 29 real drum samples and 12 audio outputs. Herbie used this instrument on his 1984 album Herbie Hancock And Foday Musa Suso: Village Life.

    Miscellaneous

    The following are instruments and electronic devices that do not fit into the other categories and were used by Herbie and his band mates.

    Clavitar – Released in 1978, this keytar combines the keyboard and guitar into one unique instrument. The instrument is played like a keyboard but shaped like a guitar and straps around the neck allowing the keyboard player to roam freely on stage. Herbie plays the Clavitar on his 1980 album Monster.

    Phase Shifter – This is an effects unit that can alter sound using certain techniques to change the sound waves. While these effects units were originally large boxes with knobs and buttons, today they are most often small pedals used by guitar players. Herbie used the Country Man Phase Shifter on his 1976 album V.S.O.P.

    Lyricon – This is an electronic wind instrument resembling the look of a soprano saxophone or an alto clarinet. The instrument has sensors on the mouth piece which are able to recognize lip pressure and wind pressure, as well as buttons to transpose the instrument to a different key and control the octave range. Bennie Maupin plays the Lyricon on the 1976 album Secrets.

    Maestro Echoplex – A tape delay effect first released in the early 1960s. This device allows a guitar or keyboard player to record themselves and play back that recording in real time, and then play another line on top of the recorded line. This allows one player to create layers of music and ideas. Herbie used this device on his 1973 album Sextant.

    Mellotron – This electro-mechanical polyphonic keyboard, released in the 1960s, is in a class all its own. This instrument uses the technology of a sampler and a piano and looks like an organ. A key pressed causes this instrument to read a piece of magnetic audio tape and play back a preset sample lasting eight seconds. This instrument is played by Herbie on the tune “Hidden Shadows” for the 1973 album Sextant.

    Shure Reverberation Mixer – This is a mixer you would see with any standard PA system. It allows for multiple instruments or microphones to be plugged into the unit, and the ability to control reverb, volume and more in the sound produced. Herbie used this mixer on his 1974 album Dedication.

    Steiner EVI – An electronic valve trumpet using a similar concept to the Lyricon in that the mouth piece could measure the amount of air pressure being used, and a button near the thumb controlled the octave. This instrument was played by Herbie on his 1980 album Monster.

    Voice Bag – The voice bag or talk box is a device that makes a synthesizer talk. The musician sends a note from their instrument into the voice bag. The voice bag then sends that same note through a plastic tube into the musician’s mouth. Using their mouth, throat, and larynx, the musician shapes that sound to make the sound talk. This instrument was used by Wah Wah Watson on the 1975 album Man-Child.

    WLM Organ – These electric organs were first produced in the early 1970s in Finland. The sound produced by these organs is similar to a Hammond, but is cleaner. Herbie plays this organ on his 1980 album Monster.

    – 2013 Sony Box Set Liner Notes

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  • “How Rudy Van Gelder Shaped the Sound of Jazz as We Know It”

    When a musical hero of towering influence dies, the urge is to go straight to the tape: recordings, footage, a captured moment that stands in for the unwieldy fullness of a life.

    This commemorative twitch — wearily familiar in our year of losses, from David Bowie to Prince to, just last week, the vibraphonist Bobby …

    When a musical hero of towering influence dies, the urge is to go straight to the tape: recordings, footage, a captured moment that stands in for the unwieldy fullness of a life.

    This commemorative twitch — wearily familiar in our year of losses, from David Bowie to Prince to, just last week, the vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson — is especially well suited to the memory of Rudy Van Gelder, whose legend was shaped within the confines of his recording studio. Mr. Van Gelder, who died on Thursday at 91, was the most revered recording engineer in jazz — the man behind the curtain on thousands of albums and the chief architect of the storied “Blue Note sound.” He shaped the way we hear the music and the way we want it to be heard.

    So it’s natural, now, to look for some trace of Mr. Van Gelder in the brilliant recordings he made, either at his first home studio in Hackensack, N.J., or at his second, in nearby Englewood Cliffs. It’s natural, and it’s also maddening, because so much of what he did was intangible. You hear it, you feel it, but his signature was etched in invisible ink. What is it, exactly, that you’re listening for? Naturalism? Warmth? The sound of a room?

    “Some musicians sounded more real on your recordings than they would in a club,” the pianist and writer Ben Sidran ventured in 1985 in a rare interview with Mr. Van Gelder, who seemed to agree. He replied, “A great photographer will really create his image, and not just capture a particular situation.”

    In that light, here’s a small assortment of images — just a few personal favorites from Mr. Van Gelder’s oceanic body of work.

    The first comes from Blue Train, the 1958 album by the saxophonist John Coltrane. Mr. Van Gelder’s more celebrated work with Coltrane came later, with A Love Supreme, on the Impulse! label. But what you hear on “Moment’s Notice,” which was taped to two-track mono, shows how he could evoke a band’s sound in physical space. Notice the transition between solos, especially from Lee Morgan’s swashbuckling trumpet to Paul Chambers’s bowed bass.

    “Moment’s Notice,” by Coltrane:

    It so happens that Mr. Van Gelder died on Wayne Shorter’s 83rd birthday. That coincidence sent me immediately to my vinyl reissue of Speak No Evil, which Mr. Shorter recorded in 1964. (It was released on Blue Note in 1966.) One thing I’ve always loved about the sound of this track is the way that Herbie Hancock’s piano (silvery, crisp) plays against Elvin Jones’s drums and cymbals (earthy, dark), while perfectly supporting the horns.

    “Speak No Evil,” by Mr. Shorter:

    “Ready, Rudy?” was something jazz musicians routinely said from Mr. Van Gelder’s studio floor, and the phrase became a kind of an in-joke, the title of a tune by Duke Pearson. Here, on the first track of Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet, we hear a less standard but more famous bit of studio chatter, as Davis rasps, “I’ll play it and tell you what it is later.” That offhandedness provides much of the charm of these sessions, for Prestige; Coltrane even begins his tenor-saxophone solo away from the microphone, as if stepping up to the plate.

    “If I Were a Bell,” by the Miles Davis Quintet:

    Mr. Van Gelder was also the sonic mastermind behind CTI Records, Creed Taylor’s stylish crossover label. The sound of these albums was warm and luxurious, and while there are many tracks to choose from, my instinctual pick would be the title track of Red Clay, the hit 1970 album by the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. It has a jumping-out-of-your-speakers tenor saxophone solo by Joe Henderson, along with a neon-funky rhythm section: Mr. Hancock on electric piano, Ron Carter on electric bass, Lenny White on drums.

    “Red Clay,” by Mr. Hubbard:

    The vastness of Mr. Van Gelder’s midcentury output can make it easy to forget how active he remained in our own time. (One of his most recent credits is Chemistry, by the tenor saxophonist Houston Person and Mr. Carter — an album released this summer.) Christian Scott was a firebrand trumpeter still in his mid-20s when he recorded his second album, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, at Mr. Van Gelder’s studio in 2010. “Jenacide (the Inevitable Rise and Fall of the Bloodless Revolution)” is a politically charged track from the album, and its sound — that mix of electric guitar and tambourine — feels both raw and refined.

    “Jenacide (the Inevitable Rise and Fall of the Bloodless Revolution),” by Mr. Scott:

    Finally, another sentimental offering. Many of Mr. Hutcherson’s finest recordings were made with Mr. Van Gelder behind the controls. Out to Lunch, the 1964 album by the multireedist Eric Dolphy, is full of these moments. Listen to how well the recording captures Mr. Hutcherson’s muted clangs and chiming overtones — along with the bleats, harrumphs and gargles of Mr. Dolphy’s bass clarinet, and the deep gravitas of Richard Davis’s bass. There’s a quintet on this track, but on some level you’d have to credit Mr. Van Gelder as an essential member of the band.

    Click here to read the original source article via the New York Times

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  • Review: Mega Nova At The Hollywood Bowl

    On Aug. 24, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles hosted the first, and to date only, scheduled live performance by Mega Nova, a jazz-rock “supergroup” featuring pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Carlos Santana, bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, with support from percussionist Karl Perazzo. Whether this titanic gathering will appear …

    On Aug. 24, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles hosted the first, and to date only, scheduled live performance by Mega Nova, a jazz-rock “supergroup” featuring pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist Carlos Santana, bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, with support from percussionist Karl Perazzo. Whether this titanic gathering will appear together again remains to be seen, but if this was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime event, it’s fitting, if unsurprising given this talent, that the result was once-in-a-lifetime music.

    The evening kicked off with a set from Stax Revue, an old-school R&B outfit fronted by organist Booker T. Jones. The ensemble presented a crowd-pleasing array of tunes made famous by the stalwart Memphis soul label, including the zesty, island-flavored “Soul Limbo” and Booker T.’s own hit “Green Onions”; on the latter, the organist effortlessly brought mighty groove to one of popular music’s most famous instrumentals, while his son, guitarist Ted Jones, split the sky with phrases that tumbled wildly, then rescaled the heights with thunderous passion. Vocalist Anthony Jawan gave “Try a Little Tenderness” a melisma-driven fervor, with robust support from tenor saxophonist Wes Smith, and Denosh Bennett’s sassy brashness sparked a spunky take on “Mr. Big Stuff.” Booker T. brought the band’s set to a rousing close with his own rough-and-ready vocal lead on Stax’s label-defining empowerment anthem “Respect Yourself.”

    Mega Nova’s set took the form of an extended improvisation, the musicians occasionally alighting on recognizable themes before again setting course for uncharted waters. Throughout the mostly continuous performance, Hancock’s piano and keyboards were the unwavering anchor, one moment serving up dense minor-key clusters over which Shorter and Santana traded sonic splinters, the next providing a spectrally droning foundation for shimmering psychedelic explorations. He channeled his inner tavern pianist for a chugging blues interlude with Santana, then conjured mystical electronic filigrees while Shorter’s soprano melded with Miller, on bass clarinet, for a bittersweet evocation.

    Santana’s focus on rhythm and groove was prodigious to behold; he spent much of the performance with his back partially to the audience, the better to zero in on the emphatic paired attack of Blackman Santana and Perazzo. In addition to serving up plenty of the gritty shredding that has made his one of rock’s most distinctive guitar sounds, Santana injected slyly witty asides, with unexpected quotes of everything from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.” The guitarist seemed to take special delight in his offhandedly inspired exchanges with Shorter; on a freeform medley of the movements of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Santana and Shorter punctuated and completed one another’s ideas like mind-linked twins.

    Shorter was in powerful voice, whether squalling his soprano through a thicket of dirty-blues lines from Miller or sighing out delicate, breathy tones on the tenor horn, an elegant seasoning to the roiling sonic mix. His heartbreaking fairy-bird soprano trills on a poignant reading of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” were a highlight of the evening, and he threw in his own unanticipated-yet-apropos references, tacking broad-shouldered tenor quotes from “Manteca” and “My Favorite Things” onto a sizzling run through Mongo Santamaría’s “Afro Blue.”

    Miller’s versatility provided a rich component to the Mega Nova sound. He emphatically thumb-plucked the high tones of his bass to undergird molten slivers from Santana, laid down a poppy gutbucket bedrock over which Blackman Santana and Perazzo boomed forth, and went from trading funky licks with Hancock to backing Shorter’s tenor effusions with feather-light runs. Perazzo’s congas, shakers and timbales amplified Blackman Santana’s rock-oriented beats, and his well-placed chimes brought ethereal mysticism to the performance’s trippier passages. Blackman Santana gave a clinic in fusing elastic musicality with sheer concussive strength. She engaged Santana and Miller with intricate intuition, and took an unaccompanied solo that built from near-whispery strikes of the tom to back-breaking full-kit thrashing, drawing the evening’s wildest ovation without breaking a sweat.

    After this extended foray into occasionally off-the-map soundscapes, Mega Nova uncorked a few marquee hits for an encore. A buoyant rendering of Hancock’s celebrated composition “Watermelon Man” segued, with a roar of excitement from the crowd, into Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va,” transformed by Santana into a Latin-rock classic. The guitarist hopes this band can eventually travel together as “peace ambassadors,” telling Rolling Stone, “We are the frequency to do the opposite of Donald Trump.” Bearing that in mind, it should come as no shock that Mega Nova closed its first-ever live gig with a dynamic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” complete with guitar-and-drums freak-out climax. And even if this does turn out to be the band’s sole outing, here’s hoping their message of multicultural cooperation rings out through the Hollywood hills, and far and wide.

    Click here to read the original source article via Jazz Times

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  • Interview: Herbie Hancock and the importance of reinventing himself

    When he was in his early 20s, Herbie Hancock left college in Iowa and went home to Chicago. Soon, he was playing in Donald Byrd’s band, and that led to a move to New York, where he was invited to join Miles Davis’ quintet.

    Since then, Hancock’s career has spanned more than half-a-century, marked by …

    When he was in his early 20s, Herbie Hancock left college in Iowa and went home to Chicago. Soon, he was playing in Donald Byrd’s band, and that led to a move to New York, where he was invited to join Miles Davis’ quintet.

    Since then, Hancock’s career has spanned more than half-a-century, marked by his boundless sense of musical curiosity. He’s worked with many jazz greats, and pop artists including Sting and Joni Mitchell.

    Now Hancock is working with the producer Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus, whose Brainfeeder label is home to some of Los Angeles’ most acclaimed young jazz, hip-hop, and electronica musicians.

    The Frame’s Oscar Garza spoke with Herbie Hancock about his long career as a musician, working with Miles Davis and Flying Lotus, and how he’s constantly reinvented himself throughout his music career.

    INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

    What he learned during his years in the Miles Davis Quintet:

    The first thing that I learned was the importance of listening. When we were playing some engagements, I noticed that the way Miles played was very much influenced by what each of the rhythm section was playing. I could tell he was listening to the chords and the rhythms I was playing. I could tell he was listening to Tony Williams on the drums by the kinds of rhythms that Miles played.

    I’m sure that wasn’t anything that he was thinking about, but the fact that he was listening and trusting helped not only shape his improvisation, but it made the band feel like one unit, like it was one mind. So when I noticed that Miles was doing that and how great it made everything sound I [thought], That’s something that I want to keep. That’s something that I want to do.

    Performing with Miles Davis:

    I was pretty scared of playing with Miles. I was just terrified with trying to keep up. I was 23-years-old. Now I’m 76 and I think about more things that weren’t on my radar scope at the time.

    How Hancock went from engineering to jazz musician:

    Both my mother and father said that whatever their children wanted to be when we grew up, they would fully support it — not that they had financial means to support it economically, but they would be in our corner.

    It was a challenge specifically for my mother. When I joined Donald Byrd’s band to become a professional jazz musician, I [had been] an engineering major in college for my first two years, and my parents felt very comfortable in knowing that I could get a job as an engineer when I graduated.

    It became very obvious to me at the end of my second year of college that I had no choice, that [jazz] was what I was gonna do, come hell or high water.

    Working with Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus, on his album, “You’re Dead!”:

    I really wanted to be a fly on the wall. In other words, whatever we were doing — if it was going to be for my record or for [Flying Lotus’] record — I wasn’t going to impose ideas without first getting the lay of the land. Because I’m working with a younger musician and so many things have changed since I first started recording.

    I know that a lot of young artists are doing different things: the way they use social media; the way they leak parts of tracks out to the public that are unfinished. but it gets an excitement going. That was totally new to me, so I wanted to see how they do things.

    Collaborating with Flying Lotus for Hancock’s new album:

    I’m also working with Terrace Martin [who] was one of the primary producers for Kendrick Lamar’s album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” That record was very instrumental in crystalizing a direction for the record that I wanted to make. One thing that happened during the different times that I went over to Flying Lotus’ house, he asked me what I had in mind and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for my own record.

    By the way, Thundercat — Stephen Bruner, the wonderful bass player — he also was over at Flying Lotus’ house almost all of the days that I went over there. He also had some material and I didn’t know if his material was for his record or for it was something that he was bringing over to possibly submit to me. I just went with the flow [laughs], so consequently some of the stuff I did with him and with Flying Lotus wound up being on Flying Lotus’ record, “You’re Dead!,” on the song called “Tesla.”

    You know why he called it “Tesla”? Because that’s the car I drive, that’s my car [laughs], and I showed up at his house with a Tesla and I gave him a ride in it and he loved it.

    How he keeps reinventing himself and his music:

    One of the great stimulations, for me, is hanging out with young people and paying attention to what they’re doing. There’s a tendency as we get older to feel like we know more than younger people and [that] our job is to teach them what we know. But that is not something that I adhere to. We all have something to bring to the table no matter what our age, and youth today has a lot to bring to the table.

    Performing with his long time creative partner Wayne Shorter:

    Wayne teaches me new tricks every day. He lives about 10 minutes from my house, which is great that we live in close proximity. We are very much are in sync with the way we generally look at the world and look at jazz.

    I may not agree with every aspect of all the assessments that Wayne makes, but to me, Wayne is like Yoda [laughs]. If he opens his mouth, I want everybody else to be quiet and listen. Most people that know Wayne feel the same way because he’s brilliant.

    Click here to listen to the full interview via Southern California’s 89.3 KPCC FM.

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  • Inside Mega Nova with Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock

    No matter who you are or what skills you bring to the table, starting a new band with keyboardist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, two of the jazz world’s most iconic luminaries, is serious business. Not so serious, though, that Carlos Santana, a legend in his own right, hesitates to crack wise about the …

    No matter who you are or what skills you bring to the table, starting a new band with keyboardist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, two of the jazz world’s most iconic luminaries, is serious business. Not so serious, though, that Carlos Santana, a legend in his own right, hesitates to crack wise about the origin of Mega Nova, the jazz-rock supergroup he’s formed with Hancock, Shorter and two more heavyweight players: bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, the guitarist’s wife.

    “I asked them if it was OK for me to start a rumor that we were going to do something together, and they said, ‘Of course,'” Santana tells Rolling Stone, laughing. “So I started a rumor, and here we are. And I feel so excited, because with these musicians, anything and everything can be transmitted.”

    The new band, Mega Nova – named in tribute to Shorter’s 1969 solo album Super Nova – will make its debut in a one-off concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 24th. It’s not the first time these players have met onstage; most of the band members have played together on various occasions, and Santana and Shorter toured together in 1988. Shorter and Hancock collaborated with Santana in a program called “Hymns for Peace” at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004, and Miller and Blackman Santana were among the supporting musicians that joined the core triumvirate for a Hancock-led event, “Celebrating Peace,” at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012.

    “Carlos is a big jazz fan, a big supporter of the music,” Hancock tells RS. “With his heart, he honors jazz. But it’s not just words; it’s also his deeds. This is the kind of action that he’s taken to include jazz, because he has so much respect for it, and he respects Wayne and me – as we respect him: as a musician, as a storyteller in music. Nobody can deliver a melody like Carlos.”

    The admiration is mutual, emphatically so. “For me, this is a real blessing,” Santana says, “to dream of something, and then to see it come to fruition.” To be in the company of Shorter and Hancock – whose work with trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis in the mid-1960s launched trailblazing careers in jazz, fusion and pop, individually and in collaboration – is a lesson in humility, as Santana describes it.

    How does Santana find common ground with his illustrious comrades? “It starts with surrender,” he says without hesitation. “I immediately defer to both of them, and I wait my turn to see when they invite me to come up with something. I’m very honored and grateful that they trust me. So for me, it’s about learning to defer – I learned that word from Magic Johnson, when he said he deferred to [Kareem] Abdul-Jabbar. It means you have the courtesy to honor those who came before you.”

    Respect also animates Blackman Santana’s approach to Mega Nova – specifically, her admiration for Tony Williams, the trailblazing drummer who worked in Davis’ band with Hancock and Shorter, and for Jack DeJohnette, the protean percussionist who played on Davis sessions as well as Shorter’s Super Nova.

    “Tony is to me unparalleled in his sound concept, the amount of things he innovated on and with,” she tells RS. “From tuning my drums to concepts of playing inside the music, taking drum solos, composition – he’s influenced me in every way.” DeJohnette, she notes, started as a pianist, “so he approaches [drumming] in a very musical way. He’s got a lot of good energy, a lot of good fire. And he puts together really good projects.”

    Blackman Santana, a noted bandleader and composer who has collaborated with such heavyweights as Lenny Kravitz, Cream’s Jack Bruce and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, holds Hancock and Shorter in special esteem. “Not only is it a pleasure and an honor to play with them, but it’s also a challenge to step up to them,” she says. “If I can somehow make those cats feel inspired, I’ll feel like I’ve reached the mountaintop.”

    But as Shorter sees it, Mega Nova has to provide optimal conditions for Blackman Santana, as well. “She needs to be free from any kind of rigid arrangements,” he tells RS. Shorter cites two performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that Santana and Blackman Santana played before NBA Finals games in 2015 and 2016. “They were respectful,” he says, “but Cindy had carte blanche. She was playing riffs and rises” – Shorter reels off rhythms and rolls vocally, illustrating Blackman Santana’s unbridled free playing.

    That boundless exuberance is consistent with what Shorter set out to express on Super Nova, the first album he recorded after leaving Miles Davis’ band. “When you’re going fishing, you want to throw the line out as far as you can,” he says. “I was throwing the music at a distance, where it would challenge me, and also sharing the challenge – like when you’re kids playing, maybe in a vacant lot, and you play all day and you’d discover stuff. It’s like, what are you going to do after you leave Miles Davis? So, Super Nova: You’re on your own, you’re an astronaut – let’s jump out into space.”

    “The whole concept of building something together: That’s what this is about.” –Herbie Hancock

    Even so, every astronaut knows careful planning and a safety tether are crucial to success and survival. “The best improvisation has a solid base,” says Miller, a celebrated bassist known for his work with Luther Vandross and with Miles Davis in the 1980s. He recounts something the great arranger and producer Quincy Jones once told him: “The biggest hindrance to creativity is a blank page.” Impose a few parameters, he recalls Jones saying, and creativity flowers instantly.

    “When you’re an improviser, it’s a really ethereal kind of thing, because you’re not really sure what you’re going to do when you go onstage,” Miller tells RS. “This is kind of a freaky feeling, to be standing there with 7,000 people waiting for us, and we don’t really know exactly what it is that’s going to happen out there. Imagine that feeling – it’s a huge leap of faith.”

    Both Santana and Hancock view that collaborative uncertainty as an accurate reflection of Mega Nova’s design and ideals. “We have hearts that are very compatible in the way we look at the world, the way we look at humanity, and our responsibility as human beings, as musicians, as storytellers from the cultural community,” Hancock says. The inevitability and necessity of globalization, he notes, is a key concern.

    “We have the capacity for creating a world that we can all believe in, one that we can look forward to for ourselves and our children,” Hancock says. “What we want to do is make a step toward bringing cultures and ethnicities and people in general together, and show the value of collaboration from the standpoint of respect. The whole concept of building something together: That’s what this is about.”

    Santana is even more pointed about the objective. “I want to be able to travel with this band eventually, and be the peace ambassadors, which is what Louis Armstrong used to be, and what I would say Bob Marley or John Lennon represented,” he says. “Let me say really clearly: Wayne and Herbie and I and Cindy and Marcus, we are the frequency to do the opposite of Donald Trump. We don’t see walls – we saw the Berlin Wall come down. We’ve been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we saw what that stuff is. We play music to bring, once and for all, inclusiveness and family. This is the band.”

    Click here to read the original source article via Rolling Stone

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  • Review: Richmond Jazz Fest Wraps Up, with Hancock a highlight for many

    The seventh Richmond Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday night, ending four days of food, fashion, art and more than three dozen eclectic performers, solidifying the event’s reputation as one of the genre’s best in the nation.

    “To us, it’s all about a very diverse and explicit lineup and bringing together jazz and music fans. Since …

    The seventh Richmond Jazz Festival wrapped up Sunday night, ending four days of food, fashion, art and more than three dozen eclectic performers, solidifying the event’s reputation as one of the genre’s best in the nation.

    “To us, it’s all about a very diverse and explicit lineup and bringing together jazz and music fans. Since attendees come from all over the country, we always want to offer the best experiences,” said Jasmine Roberts with Johnson Marketing, the event’s organizer.

    Total numbers were not available by Sunday afternoon, but Roberts said that thousands attended this year in spite of record temperatures that made it the hottest in the festival’s history.

    The headliners Sunday were rap and neo-soul group the Roots and Funk combo Morris Day and the Time.

    The Roots are no stranger to Richmond stages, but the combo around drummer and music historian Questlove has moved up a notch in national recognition after being tapped as the house band for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

    The Time were founded by pop music giant Prince, who died April 21. A former high school classmate, Morris Day, has vowed to keep the Minneapolis sound alive.

    But throughout the day Sunday, jazz fans were still raving about jazz icon Herbie Hancock’s performance Saturday night.

    A huge get for the festival, Hancock took to the stage late in the evening, after many fans had braved blistering heat and blazing sun for hours.

    Unfazed by humidity and high temperatures, Hancock even vowed to turn it up a notch.

    “Is it hot enough for you? We’re gonna try to make it hotter. You don’t mind, do you?” Hancock said, flashing a boyish grin as he basked in his audience’s adoration.

    Widely considered to be the last of the great progenitors of modern jazz, the 76-year-old is something of a musical chameleon — not by accident the title of one of his biggest fusion hits of the 1970s.

    On Saturday, Hancock and his three-piece group ventured deep into fusion jazz, taking the audience to sometimes far out places in distant, unmapped musical territories.

    Dressed in a white banded-collar Kurta tunic and comfortable black slacks, Hancock sat behind a Fazioli concert piano and a Korg Kronos music station — two instruments that represent the different musical worlds in which Hancock resides.

    Much of Hancock’s performance resembled the style and sound of his 1973 jazz-funk album “Headhunters” — a dramatic departure from hard bop.

    But at times, the medleys of his older hit songs appeared somewhat disorganized, even rushed, as if Hancock rather wanted to move on to new things, which he readily acknowledged.

    “It’s a little smattering of a bunch of things together that I wrote many, many years ago,” he said in what sounded like a disclaimer.

    The band concluded the night with “Chameleon,” one of the most widely recognized jazz standards. The funky bass line that opens the song, originally played by Hancock on an ARP Odyssey synthesizer, sent the audience into a frenzy.

    “I first saw Herbie back in the day when he played in Miles Davis’ group,” said Bernard Carson, who had traveled from Fayetteville, N.C., to see the jazz giant for a second time. “What he did here was an entirely different bag. It was more his funk stuff, but he sure brought some fire,” Carson said.

    For the purists, the Ramsey Lewis Quintet brought back the hard bop Sunday, and seven-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau was a soulful highlight in the late afternoon. In spite of ailing health, and walking on a cane, Jarreau assured the audience that things are gonna be all right.

    “I’ll sing from a wheelchair, I’ll sing laying down, I’ll do what it takes,” Jarreau said.

    A hidden gem was alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, who drew a fairly small crowd at the smallest stage, which was tucked away behind the main stage.

    Fortune, who catapulted to fame as a member of Elvin Jones’ group, the drummer for John Coltrane, is comfortable in both the bop and avant-garde and free jazz idioms.

    On Sunday, he alternated between the alto sax, flute and soprano sax, veering off into Coltrane land with a powerful adaptation of Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints.” For lovers of undiluted 1960s jazz, Fortune was the way to go.

    Roberts, the organizer, said that because of the heat, guests were allowed to bring their own snacks and bottled water to Maymont. Fanning out over the lawn between the three stages, Maymont looked like a giant outdoor picnic.

    Some spread out their blankets and made the festival a family affair, like James McCrae and his wife Denice from Newport News, who came with their three children.

    “This is our second time and we are determined to make it a family tradition,” McCrae said. “Where else do you have all this music, and you can just lay around and take it all in? I just wish we’d have a bit more of a breeze to cool it down.”

    But most people stayed hydrated, Roberts said.

    “We did have one or two people who were overheated, but they were taken care off by our EMTs,” she said.

    The next Richmond Jazz Festival is already planned for the second weekend of August 2017.

    Click here to read the original source article via Richmond.com

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  • Review: Herbie Hancock, Basking in a Boundless Legacy of Fusion

    Herbie Hancock’s current project can be understood as both a progression and a reclamation. On Thursday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell, in a marquee concert at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, he tucked some eagerly anticipated new music into a set list otherwise devoted to reframed hits. From behind his grand piano and a …

    Herbie Hancock’s current project can be understood as both a progression and a reclamation. On Thursday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell, in a marquee concert at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, he tucked some eagerly anticipated new music into a set list otherwise devoted to reframed hits. From behind his grand piano and a bank of synthesizers — or sometimes standing out front, with a keytar — he held magnanimous court, presiding over an evening that reaffirmed his legacy in the realm of vanguardist pop, jazz-funk and R&B.

    Mr. Hancock is 76, and has long been something like the Polaris of jazz modernism at the piano: an aspirational model, a navigational point, a fixture in the firmament. His pop career, officially starting with the 1973 album “Head Hunters,” used to be widely regarded as a separate thing.

    That’s changing, if it hasn’t already, because of the implicit permissions that so many artists are now taking from Mr. Hancock’s example. Choosing sides isn’t such a pressing obligation anymore. Survey the landscape, and you’ll find a robust bloc of youngish jazz musicians conversant in precisely the brand of fusion that Mr. Hancock helped establish, and secure in the knowledge that it isn’t in any way disqualifying.

    A handful of musicians fitting that description are members of Mr. Hancock’s hyper-articulate band: the saxophonist and keyboardist Terrace Martin; the guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke; the bassist James Genus; the drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr. Still others appeared in opening sets by the Robert Glasper Experiment and Jamie Lidell and the Royal Pharaohs, two groups pursuing an ultramodern strain of soul. It was hardly a surprise that the entire program felt of a piece, or that Mr. Hancock seemed to be the force holding it together.

    He has been working on a new album with collaborators like the intrepid electronic producer Flying Lotus and Mr. Martin, who’s also a producer and wingman for the rapper Kendrick Lamar. Precisely what the album will sound like is a matter of conjecture, but there were some early intimations in “Overture,” the roughly 15-minute taste of new material in the show.

    It began in near-abstraction, with futuristic whooshes and otherworldly synth-glow, before a beat materialized. Then Mr. Martin pivoted from keyboards to saxophone, delivering a solo in bright, imploring bursts against a thrashing loop of funk rhythm.

    The tune gradually segued into another section at a more relaxed tempo. Mr. Hancock started into a piano solo with his usual quicksilver poise, but just as he seemed ready to settle in, he swerved instead into a series of syncopated hits designed to showcase the drums. It was a clever head fake: As Mr. Lawrence smartly jackhammered at his cymbals, snare and toms, Mr. Hancock intensified his own output, answering a call. The tune ended like that, ratcheting up before dropping off, and it was just enough to meet ravenous expectations in the crowd.

    Unexpectedly, the greatest-hits component of the set felt similarly charged, as if perking up with an infusion of new blood. Mr. Hancock has overworked some of these tunes to the point of exhaustion in other shows, stamping them with a showman’s rote proficiency.

    But after the focused sprawl of “Overture,” he and the band seemed to accept an unspoken challenge. So “Watermelon Man” became something more than a slinky strut, segueing into a clavinet funk shuffle like the one on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” he fired off a keytar solo that highlighted the unusual skill set for that instrument: a different touch and sense of phrase than at the piano; a blinkered willingness to court ridicule in the service of play.

    But where the band really found peak enlightenment was on “Come Running to Me,” a track from the 1978 crossover album “Sunlight.” Featuring a melody sung by Mr. Hancock through a vocoder, it’s a not-quite-slow jam that presages the sound of a lot of recent pop music, including the work of Daft Punk. The band, with Mr. Loueke and Mr. Martin pitching in on background vocals, made it sound almost like a new proposition. It’s hard to imagine Mr. Hancock could ever have performed the song as persuasively in its original era.

    The Robert Glasper Experiment has something to do with the shift in perception around this sound: Vocoders are a regular feature of its shows, usually thanks to the saxophonist Casey Benjamin. The band’s set was abbreviated here by weather-related production delays, but there was time enough to play a feel-good version of “Reminisce,” by the elastically suave R&B singer Bilal. He sang it well and was then joined by the rapper Common, who reeled off a buoyant freestyle for the occasion (“I remember Herbie when he was doing ‘Rockit’”).

    Mr. Hancock’s album, which seems likely to land next year, is starting to feel less like a blank. Flying Lotus, Mr. Martin and their peers, like the bassist and singer Thundercat and the tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, all claim Mr. Hancock as a hero, not only because of what he’s done but also because of what he’s still doing. The boundless, irrepressible quality of his performance was a potent reminder of that, but if the current musical climate is any indicator, no reminders are really needed.

    Click here to read the original source article via The New York Times

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  • Review: Herbie Hancock and Robert Glasper Experiment Dazzle in Brooklyn

    Last night, legendary Jazz pianist/keyboardist/godfather Herbie Hancock brought a unique band and some incredible opening acts with him to the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series at the Prospect Park Bandshell. The show, which was organized by This Is Our Music and LPR Presents, featured a heavy-hitting opening lineup of soul musician Jamie Lidell and the electro-r&b …

    Last night, legendary Jazz pianist/keyboardist/godfather Herbie Hancock brought a unique band and some incredible opening acts with him to the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series at the Prospect Park Bandshell. The show, which was organized by This Is Our Music and LPR Presents, featured a heavy-hitting opening lineup of soul musician Jamie Lidell and the electro-r&b of the Robert Glasper Experiment, and found Hancock performing a headlining set in Brooklyn for the first time in 50 years.

    After a short but intense downpour delayed the opening of doors for a few minutes, the crowd was allowed inside the venue for a mini set by Jamie Lidell. The British crooner, who was playing his only U.S. tour date for the forseeable future, is supporting a new forthcoming album called Building a Beginning, which will be released on October 14th.

    The real fireworks started when the Robert Glasper Experiment took the stage. The band, made up of Glasper on piano and keys, Derrick Hodge on bass, Casey Benjamin on saxophone, keytar, and vocoder, and Mark Colenburg on drums, took the audience on a quick trip to space via their unique blend of jazz fusion, hip-hop, and r&b. This band is one of the best improv outfits on the planet, and their set weaves between original tracks, unique and unexpected covers, and a healthy dose of full-band improvisation. The band unfortunately had to cut a few minutes from their set due to the rain delay, but made up for it in kind with an epic set-closing tribute to J. Dilla, during which Glasper surprised the audience by bringing out Bilal and Common to sing and spit a few bars, respectively. The collaboration felt very “Brooklyn”, and was a perfect fit for the larger-than-usual audience the Experiment were afforded.

    Finally, Herbie Hancock, the master, took the stage with his impressive band. The players in his band were a who’s who of modern jazz greats: James Genus from the Saturday Night Live house band on bass, West African legend Lionel Loueke on guitar, famed session drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr., and To Pimp A Butterfly mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin on keyboards, vocoder, and saxophone.

    The band was hot right out of the gates, opening with the uptempo 1974 jazz fusion track “Actual Proof”. The crowd was entranced by the virtuosity of the band, as they whipped from one idea to the other as the band worked themselves through the tune. After Hancock took a few minutes to introduce the band members to the audience, they launched into a winding version of “Overture” that featured impressive playing from Lawrence, as he picked up the rhythm of the jam and built it up until the song’s epic climax.

    Hancock followed that up with his classic “Watermelon Man”, and the funky track was met with huge applause from the enraptured audience. Loueke then led the band through a Afrobeat-tinged version of “Come Running To Me”, which featured some impressive soloing on the keytar from Hancock. Finally, things came to a close with a danceable version of “Cantaloupe Island” that saw Hancock and his band trading licks with ease.

    After a short break, the band returned to the stage for a synthed-out performance of Hancock’s best known song, “Chameleon”. The crowd went absolutely crazy for the track, and Hancock picked up the keytar again for a wild solo that was the perfect exclamation mark to cap off an excellent evening in Prospect Park.

    In the end, it was a truly amazing night in Brooklyn. Usually relegated to small clubs and festival appearances, it was amazing to see a show of jazz legends with thousands of other people in one of New York City’s most reliable cultural centers. The Robert Glasper Experiment and Herbie Hancock both put on incredible shows filled with improv and experimentation, and the crowd absolutely ate it up. We hope it doesn’t take another 50 years for Herbie to return to Brooklyn!

    Set One: Actual Proof, Overture, Watermelon Man, Come Running To Me, Cantaloupe Island

    Encore: Chameleon

    Click here to read the original source article via LiveForLiveMusic.com

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  • 5 Musicians Pick Their Favorite Herbie Hancock Recordings

    When you talk to jazz aficionados, you often hear about a ground zero, a Eureka moment of musical awakening that opens up the bounty of the music. For some of us (myself included), that moment was hearing Herbie Hancock for the first time.

    Perhaps that’s because Hancock, more than most artists, is never afraid to …

    When you talk to jazz aficionados, you often hear about a ground zero, a Eureka moment of musical awakening that opens up the bounty of the music. For some of us (myself included), that moment was hearing Herbie Hancock for the first time.

    Perhaps that’s because Hancock, more than most artists, is never afraid to explore the musical zeitgeist — from hard bop to jazz-rock, funk, hip-hop and beyond. He’s recorded music over many decades (since 1962, to be exact) and has a deep repertoire to draw on, as he mentioned in a recent conversation. But that doesn’t deter him from constantly searching for something new. “Possibilities” is one of his mantras, and the name of his recent memoir.

    At age 76, Hancock is ready to pen the next chapter, this time inked with some of the innovators of today: Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Jacob Collier, Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper, among others. Some of those artists will join Hancock in an outdoor concert in Brooklyn this Thursday, Aug. 11. NPR Music, Jazz Night In America, and The Checkout from WBGO will be there to capture it for later broadcast.

    As we gear up for the concert, I asked some of Hancock’s newest musical allies, closest old friends and admirers from afar to share their favorite Herbie Hancock music from over the years.

    Ron Carter – “Dolphin Dance” from Third Plane. (Herbie Hancock, piano and composer)

    “This is 2016. I met him in 1962. He still sounds like Herbie to me. Got the same touch, the same harmonic ambitions, the same rhythmic curiosities. Doesn’t matter who he’s playing with or what he’s playing on, I hear Herbie, and that’s fantastic to me. In 1965, Herbie was starting to write on another level. And he’s making the guys who played with him play to the level of his writing. George Coleman played differently. Freddie Hubbard played differently. One of the things about “Dolphin Dance” is that it has a long life because it’s able to work in various-sized formats. Before, you have really high-powered horn players with Freddie and George. Ten years later, it’s pared down to just a rhythm section of me, Herbie and Tony Williams.”

    Leland Whitty of BADBADNOTGOOD – Miles Davis, “The Sorcerer” from Sorcerer. (Herbie Hancock, piano and composer)

    “It’s an amazing song. The first time I heard it was one of the weirdest melodies I ever heard, but it still had really catchy elements to it. I heard it in music school and I wanted to learn it, and instead of transcribing it, I just pulled up all of these lead sheets, and every one I found had completely different chords in it! And then, even listening to each recording of it, the bootlegs, the form of it is constantly changing – he’s changing the chord progressions as it’s happening! So I just ended up lifting the melody and not even worrying about it.”

    Terrace Martin – “Butterfly” from Thrust. (Herbie Hancock, piano and co-composer)

    “To the person that may not be familiar with the professor, the master and the beautiful person [who is] my homeboy Herbie Hancock, the song I would tell you to start with is “Butterfly.” It’s a very sensitive song that touches your heart and it’s a soothing, very sexy song. You can talk to your lover with it. You can touch somebody with it. It’s from the album Thrust — that sounds so porno! That’s so ’70s!”

    Lionel Loueke – “Maiden Voyage” from Flood. (Herbie Hancock, piano and composer)

    “I’ve been playing with Herbie for more than 10 years now. He never plays “Maiden Voyage” solo the same way twice. And every time he does it, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. It gets to the point where I go offstage when he plays it — solo. He finishes. And then we have to play another tune and I’m like, “Do I really have to go back onstage?” It’s just such a strong melody, and it’s so simple! All the melodies we love are simple. What makes the difference is how he plays the harmony underneath it to carry the simple melody.”

    Flying Lotus – “Tesla” from You’re Dead! (Herbie Hancock, keyboards and co-composer)

    “He’s so hip! He’s always in the know of anything new, technologically, sending music to different planets. Making “Tesla” with Herbie was done in the early days of the recording of You’re Dead! It was really good that I did that with him first because it gave me the confidence to pursue the ideas on the album once he told me he was really into it.”

    Click here to read the original source article via NPR

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  • Interview: Herbie on His Next Album, Flying Lotus, And Jupiter’s Satellite

    The pianist, composer and music ambassador Herbie Hancock is working on new music with a new band, and he’s about to present the first taste of it in live performance.

    Next Thursday, Aug. 11, Hancock brings a new lineup to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., for an outdoor concert. (He’s to be joined by Terrace …

    The pianist, composer and music ambassador Herbie Hancock is working on new music with a new band, and he’s about to present the first taste of it in live performance.

    Next Thursday, Aug. 11, Hancock brings a new lineup to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., for an outdoor concert. (He’s to be joined by Terrace Martin on saxophone and keyboards, Lionel Loueke on guitar, James Genus on bass and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.) Hancock says he expects to play some ideas that he’s been working on for a new record, which he’s hoping to release next year. NPR Music and WBGO will record and film the show for a later broadcast on Jazz Night In America.

    In advance of that concert, Simon Rentner, who hosts a program called The Checkout on WBGO, sat down to interview Hancock. Their conversation touched upon the connection between Flying Lotus and Miles Davis, some special guests on the forthcoming album and what he’s doing with NASA. Here’s an excerpted transcript of their conversation, which you can hear in full via WBGO. Rentner started by playing an excerpt of an interview with Flying Lotus.

    That brought me back to the opening passage of your memoir, Possibilities, Herbie, where you were in concert with the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-’60s, where you played the wrong notes. But Miles Davis gave you a nod of confidence nevertheless.

    That was an amazing event. I’ll never forget that. Because that was the hottest night of the whole European tour. The band was smokin’ and we had the audience in the palm of our hands. And at the peak of the evening, I played this chord that was really completely wrong, right? And Miles just took a breath and then he played some notes, and it made my chord right — it made it fit into the flow of things. And it took me many years to find that, what had actually happened.

    And the truth of the matter is I realized, finally, that Miles didn’t judge my chord. Like, no judgment whatsoever. He just heard it as something that happened, and dealt with it, and found these notes that worked. And that’s a very important lesson that I’ve learned and applied — not only to music, but I apply it to life.

    But it seems like you’re applying it even to this Flying Lotus session, where you guys are on the edge, right?

    I had no idea actually what we were doing at the time, and when I first went over to his house to record something, I didn’t have any preconceived idea. And I know that a lot of things have changed, of course, since the older days of recording, but the way I was used to recording, in a recording studio and preparing everything in advance — I knew, now, things have changed a lot with young people since then. And so, I wanted to find out how he records. And I learned a lot actually, working with Steve Ellison, Flying Lotus. And, I really enjoyed it, you know.

    Toward the latter part of those essentially five-and-a-half years with Miles [Davis], how Miles recorded began to change. And it relates very much to how young people often record today.

    It was funny because I heard this drum track that he had just — he didn’t say anything, he just started playing it from his computer. And, then he said, “You think you might be able to put something on [this track]?” I said, “Sure.” So I started looking for something to do that would relate to what would essentially sound like a drum solo. And I found some phrases that kind of worked. And he put the whole thing on a loop, but after a few minutes, I began to notice that something I played was on a loop. I just kept going, and coming up with some other ideas, and he was recording them, and then certain things he would kind of snatch. In that loop. And then later on he would slice and dice and put it all together and made it part of the track called “Tesla.”

    Really, the new ingredient [in your new band] — I just had him on my show — was Terrace Martin, the saxophonist, who’s a part of [Flying Lotus’] posse.

    Yeah, Terrace and I have been working together almost every day on different things, for the record. And he’s coming to Brooklyn for the concert.

    And when’s this record coming out?

    I don’t know [laughing]. I’m shooting for the spring, but I’m not putting a time limit on it. It’s going to come out when it’s ready.

    So Terrace Martin and I agreed in our interview together that every time you do drop a new project, it is kind of an event, at least in the jazz music community. Everybody perks up and wants to listen to it right away. So what kinds of things are you messing around with, technologically speaking? Flying Lotus also said that you’re incessantly curious about what’s going on today. So what are you doing new with this project?

    Well, I’m working with a lot of young people, many of them are friends of Flying Lotus and Terrace Martin. Like Thundercat, the bassist. And also Robert Glasper, who—

    Who’s on the bill with you at Prospect Park.

    Right, exactly, great, he’s an amazing musician. And … well, Terrace plays not only alto saxophone, he also plays keyboards and he also works with the vocoder. He also plays drums but I don’t know if he’s going to play drums on the record. Trevor Lawrence, is one of the drummers that I’ve been working with on this record, Vinnie Colaiuta is another one, Jamire Williams — he’s also been working on some of the tracks.

    And all of these guys are just a joy to be around.

    But I also have, from England, Jacob Collier. He came over.

    He was recently in our studio. He played the [Hammond] C-3 organ for the very first time.

    He did! What a great talent that guy is. Amazing.

    So he’s [helped to] invent this software at MIT where he’s able to make six- or 12-part harmony in real time. Are you messing with that as well?

    He brought it over and he was doing that when he was here, as well as playing keyboards. We haven’t finalized anything, but that’s a prototype that he’s still working on. And yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

    Also in this Flying Lotus interview, he told me that you were sending music ideas to different planets, and to space. Can you elaborate on that?

    [Laughing] He’s talking about the Juno project. It’s something I’m doing with NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab[oratory]. You know, JPL. I don’t know if you heard about, but I’m sure many of your listeners have heard about the spacecraft that was sent from here to the planet Jupiter, that is now orbiting Jupiter. It’s going to make 33 orbits and then it’s going to make a third of an orbit as it crashes into the planet, but meanwhile it’s sending information in the form of tones back to the earth, and a lot of what is involved has to do with overtones, and the overtone series, with a lot of their scientific data. So the reference of 33 and 1/3 orbits, you know, revolutions, like, 33 and 1/3 rpm vinyl records. And even the shape of the Juno spacecraft — it’s got the solar paneling and one of the panels almost looks like the arm of a record player.

    So, there are so many references to music with the tones and the overtones that they thought, in order to draw more attention to the fantastic work that’s being done, and the space technology, and there’s a lot of interest in, not just the planets, but in the galaxy and the universe — they realized that there’s a musical component that relates directly with all of these things. So they came to me with the idea of putting something together with various artists to kind of promote this and particularly for young people. You know, stimulate interest in science and space.

    And can we hear this? Is this out?

    No no no, it’s something that’s going to be ongoing, and they’re working with Apple on the majority of this project, so I don’t know all of the details because I’m just one of the people involved, but it’s pretty much under NASA’s and Apple’s wing. So I imagine that Apple Music is very much involved. And I was there for the actual event where the spacecraft finally went into orbit, where it had to slow down at exactly the right time, and when it had to do what it does to go into orbit around Jupiter, into the orbit they wanted. I mean, all those things were done to a T. They missed one thing, by .7 seconds. Everything else was absolutely on point. And that .7 seconds was negligible, so it was a complete success. They were even shocked that it would be so successful.

    I want one story about a new song that you’re premiering, and if there’s a story attached to it. Give us something.

    Let me say this. I wanted to tell you that, when I worked with Miles Davis, which was from 1963 to 1968: Toward the latter part of those essentially five-and-a-half years with Miles, how Miles recorded began to change. And it relates very much to how young people often record today — you know, the cutting-edge people, the people I’m working with. One of the major obvious differences is that technology is different. You record on hard drives now, which are very, very inexpensive compared to the cost of tape, which was expensive and very limited. And you can record now in your home studio, your house, or your hotel, and make a professional recording because the technology has changed so much.

    But what Miles used to do with tape and a limited number of 24 tracks is very much related to how they record today. We’d go into the studio, there might be some germ of an idea, a couple of bars of some chord symbols, with a little melody fragment. And Miles would start off asking me to play. He would say “Play that!” [impersonating Miles] and I’m thinking “What, what is it?” It’s only two or three bars of — I don’t even know what this is. So I would play it. Anyway, that would start a flow of ideas from Miles, a suggestion maybe from Tony Williams, or from Wayne [Shorter], or Ron Carter.

    So that very fragmented way of approaching and layering that Flying Lotus does on his record — that’s what Miles was doing, is what you’re saying, basically?

    We would, wound up, maybe not with a real melody, maybe just jamming over some chord changes and it would just sound like the extension or development of some fragments. I never knew what it was going to be, but when the record would come out, there would be a melody, there would be a basic kind of structure. But they would do it after we recorded it.

    Which, as you were saying, is very much like what’s done today. You actually start with recording and start with basically jamming. That’s what we’ve been doing with a lot of this, on my record. And we did with Flying Lotus on “Tesla.” … Since my record is not finished, what might be the germ of an idea on our performance is kind of based off of that approach to making music for recording and for performing live.

    And that’s what we’re going to hear in Prospect Park on Aug. 11 — a germination of a fragment?

    There will be different things. I’m going to be playing some of my — what would be considered my classic pieces. I have a lot to choose from. I’ve been recording since 1962 — that’s when I made my first record. So I haven’t decided what all the pieces I’m going to be playing. And we have a lot of writers on the stage. Lionel is an amazing writer. Terrace is an amazing composer and producer. James Genus is full of ideas. Trevor Lawrence is also full of ideas because he’s an amazing producer, too. So, much of what you’re going to be hearing will be heard for the first time, so those are going to be fresh moments.

    The elements I didn’t mention about this record: There are lot of people from different cultures, from different parts of the world, that will be involved with this record.

    Give me some names.

    Well, Lionel Loueke is one. We’re just not ready for what he has to offer yet. And there’s a guy named Dhafer Youssef that I’m reaching out to, who plays the oud and sings. Zakir Hussein, amazing tabla master from India — he agreed to be on the record. Oh, I should also say, Wayne Shorter agreed to be on the record. I’m reaching out to make this record have a sense of bringing the culture of the world together. Because those are the times we live in today. That really is the 21st century.

    Click here to read the original source article via NPR

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  • Interview: A Conversation with Herbie Hancock

    “The groundbreaking pianist and composer is on the verge of releasing a new album, some of that music to be showcased in concert at Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park Bandshell, Thursday, August 11th. Hancock gives a rare interview about his recent collaborations with Flying Lotus and Jacob Collier, and discusses the many inventive ways he’s exercising …

    “The groundbreaking pianist and composer is on the verge of releasing a new album, some of that music to be showcased in concert at Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park Bandshell, Thursday, August 11th. Hancock gives a rare interview about his recent collaborations with Flying Lotus and Jacob Collier, and discusses the many inventive ways he’s exercising his creativity today, from education to NASA.” Click here to listen to the interview via WBGO

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  • Interview: Herbie and His 1963 AC Shelby Cobra

    “Herbie Hancock is one of the world’s greatest musicians, and he happens to own one of the world’s greatest — and most valuable — cars.

    He bought the 1963 AC Shelby Cobra more than 40 years ago for $6,000. Today, he estimates it’s worth about $2 million. But he never would have bought it if …

    “Herbie Hancock is one of the world’s greatest musicians, and he happens to own one of the world’s greatest — and most valuable — cars.

    He bought the 1963 AC Shelby Cobra more than 40 years ago for $6,000. Today, he estimates it’s worth about $2 million.
    But he never would have bought it if a snooty salesman hadn’t made him angry.

    The musician says he should thank the dealer with a nasty attitude. The dealer pissed off Hancock so much that the musician decided to buy a car he didn’t really know anything about.

    On the latest episode of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the jazz legend recalls the “Pretty Woman”-esque shopping experience.
    In 1963, Hancock’s roommate Donald Byrd told him there was an American car that was beating the Ferraris.

    “I said, ‘OK, I’ll go down and look at it,'” Hancock remembers. “I just wanted to see what it looked like.”

    Dressed in jeans, Hancock walked into the Manhattan dealership and met an unwelcoming salesman. “I was 23. The salesman is there, with his white shirt on and a tie. He doesn’t even look up at me.”

    “I’m getting a little hot under the collar,” he says. “And I said, ‘I’d like to buy the Cobra.’ He finally looks up. He says, ‘Do you know how much that car costs?'”

    Hancock did, and the next day he returned to purchase it. This turned out to be a smart decision.

    The 1963 AC Shelby Cobra is considered one of a kind. Under the hood, Hancock’s Cobra has a 260 cubic-inch engine with a two-barrel carburetor. Only 75 Cobras with the 260 cubic-inch engine were made. And a 2007 Road & Track interview notes that Hancock’s is “the only known Cobra ever equipped” with a two-barrel carburetor.

    Hancock says he drove it as his daily car for years, before discovering how much it could be worth as a classic car. Looking back on his exchange with the salesman, he says: “He did me a great favor. He has no idea what a favor he did.”

    – CNBC, July 14th, 2015

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  • Video: Herbie on Jay Leno’s Garage

    Herbie recently filmed an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage which is now available online for streaming. Click here to watch the episode

    Herbie recently filmed an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage which is now available online for streaming. Click here to watch the episode

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  • BBC Interview: Herbie at The White House

    Listen to an interview with Herbie and BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum at The White House on International Jazz Day. Click here to listen to the interview via the BBC

    Listen to an interview with Herbie and BBC Radio 2’s Jamie Cullum at The White House on International Jazz Day. Click here to listen to the interview via the BBC

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  • Herbie to Perform at Celebrate Brooklyn Festival

    Herbie will be performing at the Prospect Park Bandshell on August 11th, 2016 with James Genus, Trevor Lawrence, Jr., Lionel Loueke, and Terrace Martin – plus special guests including The Robert Glasper Experiment. “I’m looking forward to playing some new music that I’m working on and a new approach on some of my older tunes. …

    Herbie will be performing at the Prospect Park Bandshell on August 11th, 2016 with James Genus, Trevor Lawrence, Jr., Lionel Loueke, and Terrace Martin – plus special guests including The Robert Glasper Experiment. “I’m looking forward to playing some new music that I’m working on and a new approach on some of my older tunes. I’m also excited about working with some young musicians touring with me for the first time.”

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  • Herbie Joins 50th Anniversary Lineup for Montreaux Jazz Festival

    Winner of 14 Grammy Awards and recognized for his immense talents in improvisation and his unique harmonic approach, Herbie Hancock will be at the 50th edition of the Festival for an amazing evening along with some special musical friends. Click here for tickets and more info

    Winner of 14 Grammy Awards and recognized for his immense talents in improvisation and his unique harmonic approach, Herbie Hancock will be at the 50th edition of the Festival for an amazing evening along with some special musical friends. Click here for tickets and more info

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  • Video: International Jazz Day Workshop with Herbie Hancock at The White House

    Click here to watch a video of the 2016 International Jazz Day Workshop with Herbie Hancock at The White House

    Click here to watch a video of the 2016 International Jazz Day Workshop with Herbie Hancock at The White House

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  • Video: President Obama on Jazz and Freedom

    “Jazz. It’s always been where people come together, across seemingly unbridgeable divides. Here at home, before schools and sports, it was jazz that desegregated – because for so many players, the only thing that mattered was the music.” – President Barack Obama

    Click here to watch a video of President Obama speaking at …

    “Jazz. It’s always been where people come together, across seemingly unbridgeable divides. Here at home, before schools and sports, it was jazz that desegregated – because for so many players, the only thing that mattered was the music.” – President Barack Obama

    Click here to watch a video of President Obama speaking at the International Jazz Day Concert 2016 held at The White House.

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  • Video: 2016 International Jazz Day All-Star Concert

    Click here to watch the full concert video recorded at The White House on April 30th, 2016 in commemoration of International Jazz Day

    Click here to watch the full concert video recorded at The White House on April 30th, 2016 in commemoration of International Jazz Day

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  • Billboard: International Jazz Day 2016

    “Not a bad venue, right?” asks UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, chairman of International Jazz Day, and living jazz legend Herbie Hancock jokingly, after mention of what’s sure to be the genre’s biggest event of the year: an all-star jazz concert, broadcast from the South Lawn of the White House in primetime on ABC (April 30, 8 …

    “Not a bad venue, right?” asks UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, chairman of International Jazz Day, and living jazz legend Herbie Hancock jokingly, after mention of what’s sure to be the genre’s biggest event of the year: an all-star jazz concert, broadcast from the South Lawn of the White House in primetime on ABC (April 30, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT).

    Jazz has been at the White House almost as long as it’s existed — though what Ray Miller and his band were playing for Calvin Coolidge in 1924 likely bears little resemblance to the music President and Mrs. Obama will be listening to as they celebrate International Jazz Day (also April 30), the impetus for the concert and broadcast. 2016’s concert will feature a wide range of artists including Wayne Shorter, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, Chick Corea, and Hancock himself, among dozens of others.

    “When it was presented to the President and Mrs. Obama, they immediately embraced the idea of doing this at the White House,” says Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute (the organization that runs International Jazz Day, now in its fifth year), adding, “Jazz has been a very important part of both of their lives.

    “The President will tell you about his teens, when he started listening to Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter and others, and how jazz has been an integral part of his life,” says Carter, “and the First Lady will tell you about her grandfather’s passion for jazz, and how he exposed her as a child to this music. They’ve both been surrounded by jazz for most of their lives, so they jumped at the opportunity to have their friends and the artists that they follow to the White House.”

    Hancock’s already been a part of Obama’s presidency, though, as well as almost every president since Carter, who famously had his own South Lawn jazz celebration in 1978, organized by Newport Jazz Festival impresario George Wein. In fact, he’s performed there so often, he’s lost count: a Valentine’s Day celebration during the second Bush administration, at the invitation of First Lady Laura, President Obama’s 50th birthday, a recent state dinner where he did a duet with classical virtuoso Lang Lang…”I’ve seen a range of presidents,” he concludes. The pianist has even been enlisted on the campaign trail. “When Clinton was running for president for the first time,” he says, “he asked me and Wayne Shorter — was Ron Carter there too? — to fly in to Little Rock [an ensemble that would have included all the living members of Miles Davis’s famous Second Great Quintet]. He actually flew us there on a private plane — he really wanted us there. It was really cool.”

    The reason he’s been called up so often is because jazz is, as he puts it, “America’s classical music these days.” With a primetime slot, though, the International Jazz Day organizers want to show that it’s anything but stodgy. “I think it’s an opportunity for those who know the word jazz, and have maybe some conception of what they believe jazz is, to watch it on this stage and to hear incredible jazz artists from around the world,” adds Carter. “A lot of people have thought of this as a music of the past, but it really is living.”

    Showing the vibrancy of jazz culture is one of the primary missions of International Jazz Day, which in its short life has already swelled into events in 190 countries (including “two stations down in Antarctica, McMurdo and Palmer,” he says, “and all 50 states”) annually on April 30th, with a special emphasis on each year’s host city. “What better place to have it than to come back to America,” says Carter of this year’s host, “and to have it at the White House” (full listings of International Jazz Day events are available on their site).

    “Jazz is about coming in with an open mind,” adds John Beasley, the all-star concert’s musical director, of what makes the international festival special. “Getting these people from all over the world to come and play together. It gives hope that someday we really can resolve our differences. It’s not just about soloing — it’s about the support underneath the soloists.”

    “Part of its character is that it borrows from any genre or culture that touches it, and it also lends itself to any genre or culture that touches it,” adds Hancock. “I think that’s what has kept it alive over the decades.” Showing that evolution at the White House, to those in charge at International Jazz Day, is just proof that it’s not going anywhere. “I think,” concludes Carter, “that it’s an evening people will be talking about for many years to come.”

    Click here to read the original source article via Billboard

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  • Announcing MathScienceMusic!

    “Proud to announce an amazing set of tools for students to learn math and science through their love of music with US Sec. of Edu John King & the NYU MusED Lab and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.” – Herbie Hancock

    “Proud to announce an amazing set of tools for students to learn math and science through their love of music with US Sec. of Edu John King & the NYU MusED Lab and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Herbie to Visit U.S. Department of Education to Discuss New Initiative

    On Tuesday, April 26, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will join jazz legend Herbie Hancock and professors from some of the nation’s top universities for a discussion on Math, Science & Music, a new initiative that uses music to teach math and science to students. This special event will take place at …

    On Tuesday, April 26, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will join jazz legend Herbie Hancock and professors from some of the nation’s top universities for a discussion on Math, Science & Music, a new initiative that uses music to teach math and science to students. This special event will take place at the Department’s National Library of Education in Washington, D.C., as part of the educational programs surrounding International Jazz Day 2016, which is celebrated on April 30.

    Hancock, chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, is a musician whose career spans more than five decades. He has won 14 GRAMMY Awards and an Academy Award, along with a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. Hancock serves as Goodwill Ambassador of Intercultural Dialogue for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and he was the 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. He is leading the Math, Science & Music initiative to engage students and help educators incorporate music into the teaching of math and science in kindergarten through college.

    The panel discussion is part of a series of school visits and events by King focused on the importance of a well-rounded education. With the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law by President Obama in December 2015, the country has the opportunity to ensure that all students not only can master math and English, but also have exposure to sciences, social studies, the arts, physical education and health, and the opportunity to learn a second language. The Department is taking action across a range of areas to support states and districts in ensuring that schools provide a rich selection of subject-matter offerings.

    Joining Hancock for the panel will be Harvard University’s Vijay Iyer and Rajna Swaminathan; New York University’s Alex Ruthmann; Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Eric Rosenbaum; University of California Berkeley and MIT Emeritus Professor Jeanne Bamberger; University of Massachusetts’ Gena Greher; Johns Hopkins University’s Dan Naiman; and San Francisco State University’s Susan Courey and Endre Balogh.

    The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Art Exhibit Program, now in its 13th year, which features visual, literary and performing art created by students in U.S. and international schools, from pre-K through professional art school. It is part of a series of events by the Department focused on providing a well-rounded education for all students. ESSA creates the opportunity to ensure an education that not only includes strong numeracy and literacy, but also provides all students with access to science, social studies, the arts, physical education and health, and the opportunity to learn a second language. The Department is taking action across a range of areas to support states and districts in ensuring schools provide a rich range of offerings. The Secretary recently visited Las Vegas, Nevada; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Springdale, Arkansas, to learn about efforts in those districts to provide students with a well-rounded education.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Department of Education

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  • Interview: Herbie on New Teaching Initiative

    As a child, before he started playing jazz, composer and musical icon Herbie Hancock was fond of taking things apart and putting them back together. He was perpetually inquisitive and analytical, a quality that carried from his days of tinkering with clocks and watches to his playing of music, where he threw himself into jazz …

    As a child, before he started playing jazz, composer and musical icon Herbie Hancock was fond of taking things apart and putting them back together. He was perpetually inquisitive and analytical, a quality that carried from his days of tinkering with clocks and watches to his playing of music, where he threw himself into jazz as a teen.

    “I would always try to figure out how things work,” Hancock said. “It was that same instinct that I have that made me learn jazz more quickly. . . . It wasn’t a talent for music. It was a talent for being able to analyze things and figure out the details.”

    Hancock later studied electrical engineering at Grinnell College before starting his jazz career full-time. He says there is an intrinsic link between playing music and building things, one that he thinks should be exploited in classrooms across the country, where there has been a renewed emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

    Hancock joined a group of educators and researchers Tuesday at the U.S. Education Department’s headquarters to discuss how music can be better integrated into lessons on math, engineering and even computer science, ahead of International Jazz Day this weekend.

    Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said that an emphasis on math and reading — along with standardized testing — has had the unfortunate side effect of squeezing arts education out of the nation’s classrooms, a trend he thinks is misguided.

    “English and math are necessary but not sufficient for students’ long-term success,” King said, noting that under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new federal education law, schools have new flexibility to use federal funding for arts education.

    Hancock is the chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which has developed MathScienceMusic.org, a website that offers teachers resources and apps to use music as a vehicle to teach other academic lessons.

    One app, Groove Pizza, allows users to draw lines and shapes onto a circle. The circle then rotates and each shape and line generates its own distinct sound. It’s a discreet way for children to learn about rhythm and proportions. With enough shapes and lines, children can create elaborate beats on the app, all in the context of a “pizza” — another way to make learning math and music palatable to kids.

    Another app — Scratch Jazz — allows children to use the basic coding platform Scratch to create their own music.

    “A lot of what we focus on is lowering the barriers to creative expression,” said Alex Ruthmann, a professor of music education at New York University who helped develop the Groove Pizza app.

    Other researchers discussed their experiments with music and rhythm to teach fractions and proportionality, a challenging concept for young students to grasp when it is taught in the abstract. Susan Courey, a professor of special education at San Francisco State University, developed a fractions lesson that has students tap out a beat.

    “It goes across language barriers, cultures and achievement barriers and offers the opportunity to engage a very diverse set of students,” Courey said. In a small study, students who received the music lesson scored 50 percent higher on a fraction test than those who learned with the standard curriculum. “They should be taught together.”

    “If a student can clap about a beat based on a time signature, well aren’t they adding and subtracting fractions based on music notation?” Courey said. “We have to think differently.”

    Hancock thinks that the arts may offer a better vehicle to teach math and science to some students. But he also sees value in touching students’ hearts through music — teaching them empathy, creative expression and the value of working together and keeping an open mind.

    “Learning about and adopting the ethics inherent in jazz can make positive changes in our world, a world that now more than ever needs more creativity and innovation and less anger and hostility to help solve the challenges that we have to help deal with every single day,” Hancock said.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Washington Post

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  • ‘Haunting, Spiritual Set at New Orleans Jazz Fest’

    NEW ORLEANS, LA – The crowd for Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter’s show Sunday (April 24) at New Orleans Jazz Fest took up every seat and spilled out beyond the Zatarains / WWOZ Jazz Tent. The MC warned everyone to stay out of the aisles, reminding them of tragic incidents at overcrowded concerts in the …

    NEW ORLEANS, LA – The crowd for Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter’s show Sunday (April 24) at New Orleans Jazz Fest took up every seat and spilled out beyond the Zatarains / WWOZ Jazz Tent. The MC warned everyone to stay out of the aisles, reminding them of tragic incidents at overcrowded concerts in the past. When was the last time someone was trampled at a jazz show?

    When Hancock sat down at the piano and Shorter picked up his soprano sax, the music they played sounded like the conversation of two old friends, sharing memories, telling jokes. Like friends who have a deep history, and can finish each others sentences.

    It was as if we’d all been allowed to eavesdrop on two geniuses.

    Hancock and Shorter’s past takes in a wide swath of jazz’s history. And the two of them had leading role much of that history. They were half of Miles Davis’ Second Great Quarter (the first featured John Coltrane, whose son Ravi played Jazz Fest on Saturday with Jack DeJohnette and Matt Garrison). The pair played on Davis’ first fusion album, “In a Silent Way,” and Shorter continued with Davis on “Bitches Brew.”

    As leaders, they produced some of the greatest jazz recorded. And Shorter co-founded the celebrated fusion group Weather Report. In 1997, the pair won a Grammy for a song on their duet album “1+1.”

    The first song Hancock and Shorter played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell stretched across most of the set.

    It began with as many rests as notes. The two, somewhat tentatively at first, tossed phrases back and forth. Soon they were responding to each other. And at times they would briefly lock into a groove, before stepping back, with Hancock, at first on a Steinway grand piano, often grounding the music and Shorter playing delicate, haunting runs above.

    In one quiet moment, the audience was fooled into standing and clapping, believing the song had ended. Hancock and Shorter continued undaunted. Hancock soon switched to his Kronos synthesizer, unleashing retro, outer-space noises and otherworldly, breathy chords that rang like bells.

    A drum machine began to beat out an insistent rhythm, and the reflective tone momentarily vanished. The music became urgent, at times angry, and Shorter made his sax sound like the moan of an animal. And then, the drums stopped, and the pair returned to a more meditative state.

    For those with the right inclination (and sufficient concentration to block out the thudding beat from the Acura stage), Hancock and Shorter offered an experience every bit as spiritual as what was promised down the track at the Gospel Tent. But this wasn’t about exaltation. Hancock and Shorter’s music was about looking inward.

    When they finally came to a rest more than half an hour after starting, Hancock almost immediately looked at his watch. They still had time left in their set. Hancock gestured to Shorter that they should play more. And they did.

    Click here to read the original source article via NOLA

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  • GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award

    “It was an honor to be presented with The GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award last night in Austin by my good friend Wayne Shorter.” – Herbie

    “It was an honor to be presented with The GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award last night in Austin by my good friend Wayne Shorter.” – Herbie

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  • Billboard: Terrace Martin & Herbie Hancock Collaboration

    Terrace Martin’s production credits are as impressive as they are eclectic — the jazz-reared saxophonist has been behind the boards on projects by everyone from Snoop Dogg to Lalah Hathaway to Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly. But 2016 is bringing Martin a totally new set of challenges: he’s working on albums for Compton …

    Terrace Martin’s production credits are as impressive as they are eclectic — the jazz-reared saxophonist has been behind the boards on projects by everyone from Snoop Dogg to Lalah Hathaway to Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly. But 2016 is bringing Martin a totally new set of challenges: he’s working on albums for Compton rapper YG and jazz icon Herbie Hancock…at the exact same time.

    Hancock has been a vocal supporter of Martin and his peers in L.A.’s resurgent jazz scene — many of who also worked on TPAB. “It’s something that’s fresh and new. Revolutionary,” he told Billboard before Clive Davis’s Grammy party. “It’s not something that’s locked into a box. These people have opened up this box — we called it hip-hop.”

    Martin elaborated on his many current projects in a recent conversation with Billboard, including his upcoming album Velvet Portraits. Read the second half of the interview below, and check out the first half here for more on what went on behind the scenes and in the studio on TPAB.

    You said you’re working with both Herbie Hancock and YG — how does that work day-to-day? It’s a lot to handle!

    I’ve been playing with him every day — which is very weird, that I play keyboard next to Herbie every day, a very weird thing. I try to be cool, since I’m “the producer” and everything, but then he throws these things at you harmonically, and you have to catch ’em! He is 75, and his ideas — they’re like he’s 12 years old. They keep coming every second of the day.

    I work with him five days a week. We usually start about 12 or 1 p.m. and I’m done about 5. That’s a five-hour session. When I work with a rapper, I can do 15, 20 hours and not be tired. When I leave Herbie’s, I’m exhausted. My brain is exhausted — he stretches my brain so much that I have to leave his house, take a three-hour nap, and then go to work with YG.

    They both stretch my brain — YG works on a whole different schedule, where he doesn’t work that long, but he works more intensely. They both are challenging, and I love a challenge — I don’t think you can grow without a challenge. YG has grown — he has his own things he wants to do now. He knows how he wants things to sound. Working with him is a challenge because he’s so into the funk element. Can’t be jazz funk — it’s gotta be funky for him. Herbie — first of all, he helped shape music 12 times. Talk about being around greatness. You’re looking at him like, “Do you really like me?” They’re at the opposite ends, but yet the same end, because they’re both challenging. I’m excited for the challenge because I want to be great, only so I can inspire other kids to be great. I don’t feel I’m great yet, but I’m trying to get there — and I think working with cats like that, I’m learning so much.

    What have you learned from working with them so far?

    Working with Herbie has actually taught me how to produce records better for YG, better for Kendrick — because one thing Herbie does, is he honors the mistake, and he expects the unexpected. Those are two rules that I haven’t lived by, that I’m now practicing. I’ve realized that I’ve missed out on so much by just being in the box. Now my eyes are open for new music — I want to just grow, and be better, and work with new people. And that’s all from Herbie! With Herbie, you realize that you have to have a million influences to catch what he’s throwing at you!

    The album I’m doing with him, it’s not what you think: Kendrick is on the album, Snoop is on the album. It’s not like it’s just Herbie Hancock over a hip-hop beat. It’s like, I’m really digging into his world, and he’s digging into the hip-hop, and we’re just trying to figure out a thing. In the process of us trying to figure it out, something is happening magically through the music. Something that I’ve never heard and he’s never heard. Kendrick came over the other day and he was like, “Yo, I hear so many ideas.” We’re just going in all different directions.

    When can we expect the album?

    With Herbie, I’ll know we’re done when he says, “Don’t come over to my house and record anymore.” Then I’ll know we’re done.

    Click here to read the original source article via Billboard

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  • ‘Two Turntables and a Keytar: The Night Herbie Hancock Rocked the Grammys’

    The androids turn out to be breakdancers.

    That’s the spoiler recap of Herbie Hancock’s performance at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, in 1984. He was there to play his crossover hit “Rockit,” an early hip-hop touchstone, ubiquitous in the clubs and on the street. (It won for Best R&B Instrumental that year.) What nobody could …

    The androids turn out to be breakdancers.

    That’s the spoiler recap of Herbie Hancock’s performance at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, in 1984. He was there to play his crossover hit “Rockit,” an early hip-hop touchstone, ubiquitous in the clubs and on the street. (It won for Best R&B Instrumental that year.) What nobody could have foreseen was that his performance would be a Grammy Moment, to use the Recording Academy parlance, of rare cultural impact — one of the most stealthily influential in the history of the awards.

    Mr. Hancock was 43 when he walked onstage at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles that evening, a veteran jazz pianist riding his latest popular resurgence. He had titled his most recent album “Future Shock,” and he looked the part, with a keytar slung over a black leather jacket and a reflective silver shirt.

    His band featured synth drums, a stacked keyboard rig and a D.J. behind a set of Technics 1200s — Grandmixer D.ST — whose scratching made him the track’s breakout hero. The stage design echoed the frenetic, posthuman surrealism of the song’s music video, which had been in heavy rotation on MTV. Hence those herky-jerky robots, including three pairs of disembodied legs kicking and flailing above the stage.

    Hip-hop was a thriving underground movement in 1984, just beginning to find traction in the mainstream. (The genre will be a larger focus of this year’s awards on Monday; the rapper Kendrick Lamar is the night’s most-nominated artist.) Mr. Hancock tapped into it fortuitously. His previous studio album, “Lite Me Up,” a pop-disco collaboration with Rod Temperton of Heatwave, had been a dud. His most recent hit had come a decade earlier, with his funk-fusion band the Headhunters. He needed to reconnect with a younger audience.

    Through his manager, Mr. Hancock met with Bill Laswell and Michael Beinhorn, whose vanguardist rock band Material was a fixture of New York’s downtown scene. Mr. Hancock decided to work with them on the basis of a demo tape — a prototype of “Rockit,” complete with scratching by D.ST. When a finished version of the track was played for executives at Mr. Hancock’s label, Columbia, it met with sputtering disbelief. He was refused a budget for a video.

    So Mr. Hancock pursued that route on his own, enlisting Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, the English rock duo who had directed videos by the Police and others. His instructions were minimal but canny. “I don’t want it to look like a ‘black guy’ video,” Mr. Hancock recalls telling them, in his autobiography, “Possibilities” (2014 ). Knowing MTV’s damning track record with videos by African-American artists, he put in an implicit request for strategic self-erasure.

    The result was those herky-jerky androids, created by the artist-inventor Jim Whiting, which took baths and read the newspaper in a warped parody of a middle-class domestic scene. Mr. Hancock appears only on a small television screen, playing his synthesizer. The video was a phenomenal success, but it didn’t reveal much about the artists who created the song.

    By contrast, Mr. Hancock was front and center at the Grammys, which like MTV in that era could fairly be described as an instrument of the monoculture — that elusive ideal of true pop consensus, as opposed to a messy realm of fiefs. That year, the Grammy telecast had 43.8 million viewers, its highest ratings ever, which are unlikely to be surpassed. (Last year’s tally was 25.3 million.)

    One reason for the strong numbers was Michael Jackson, whose epochal album “Thriller” won eight awards that year — a record. The success of “Rockit” on that stage validated Mr. Hancock as a player on the pop landscape, precisely at a moment when everyone was watching. And an important part of what they saw was Grandmixer D.ST, who sported a wireless headset and blocky sunglasses, looking like a figure out of a “Star Wars” movie. (One of Lando Calrissian’s hipper associates in Cloud City, perhaps.)

    Breakdancing was ascendant in pop culture in 1984 — the movie “Breakin’” would be released that spring — but the art of the D.J., though it had migrated from the Bronx to downtown clubs like the Roxy, was still something new on broadcast television. That made the D.J. an ambassador. For a generation of important younger D.J.s outside New York, like Cut Chemist, DJ QBert and DJ Babu, “Rockit” was a gateway, and the Grammys were a catalyst. In the 2002 documentary “Scratch,” Mix Master Mike recalls the performance as pivotal: “Oh, that’s where that zigga-zigga sound comes from,” he remembers thinking when he saw the D.J. moving the turntable back and forth. “And then I knew, that’s what I’m going to be one day.”

    There’s a well-known bias in the Recording Academy toward what one might inadvisably call “real music,” played by skilled musicians on conventional instruments. As recently as 2012, a performance by the electronic producers Deadmau5 and David Guetta had to be awkwardly grafted to appearances by Chris Brown and the Foo Fighters. A 2014 segment for Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was set in what looked like a 1970s recording studio, with Nile Rodgers reprising his part on guitar and a cameo by Stevie Wonder.

    In similar fashion, Mr. Hancock was his own legitimizing force behind “Rockit,” a bolt of reassurance that this music could, in fact, be seen as musical. The Grammy introduction made that point exactly: “Our next performer began with a rich classical background,” John Denver, the host, said, before noting his jazz credentials.

    Mr. Hancock would of course become a familiar face at the Grammys, a trusted performer and a repeat winner. (You could do worse, as a conspiracy theorist, than to cite the “real music” rule to explain how he beat Kanye West and Amy Winehouse for Album of the Year in 2008.) In a sense, everything about his success in the field is evident in that “Rockit” performance — his ear for a hook; his disciplined enthusiasm as a bandleader; his willingness to stand at the center of a spectacle without commanding the center of attention.

    His only solo occurs during the final eight bars of the tune, and by that point the android-turned-breakdancers have run away with the performance. Mr. Hancock shows no sign of misgivings about those circumstances, either in the moment or in hindsight. As he recalled in his book, “It was one of the greatest nights of my life.”

    Click here to read the original source article via The New York Times.

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  • Video: Herbie Jams with Quincy Jones, 1983

    Throwback to showing off the Fairlight CMI with Quincy Jones in the 1984 documentary, “I Love Quincy”

    Click here to watch the video

    Throwback to showing off the Fairlight CMI with Quincy Jones in the 1984 documentary, “I Love Quincy”

    Click here to watch the video

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  • Review: Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea in Chicago

    Chicago Tribune Review of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, April 17, 2015, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center:

    “Hancock and Corea don’t have a lot left to prove, but that didn’t stop them from throwing out all the rules and inventing new ones during a freewheeling duo show. “You probably thought we were here to …

    Chicago Tribune Review of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, April 17, 2015, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center:

    “Hancock and Corea don’t have a lot left to prove, but that didn’t stop them from throwing out all the rules and inventing new ones during a freewheeling duo show. “You probably thought we were here to deliver something we already figured out,” Hancock told the crowd. To which Corea added: “We’re on the same page. It’s an empty page, but it’s the same page.” For the next couple of hours, these musical inventors played original works and standards with a degree of musical abandon one does not often encounter.”

    Click here to read the original source article via The Chicago Tribune

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  • Herbie Joins Luc Besson’s ‘Valerian’

    Herbie Hancock has joined the cast of Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian.

    The French director announced the news on Instagram Saturday morning, informing followers that “Herbie Hancock is a legend. His music was my only friend at 14… I learn so much listening this genius… I’m proud to have him for a role in #Valerian.”

    Herbie Hancock has joined the cast of Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian.

    The French director announced the news on Instagram Saturday morning, informing followers that “Herbie Hancock is a legend. His music was my only friend at 14… I learn so much listening this genius… I’m proud to have him for a role in #Valerian.”

    Though the Grammy and Oscar-winning musician’s role is unknown for the graphic novel adaption, if it’s anything like Rihanna’s role, according to the director, it will be “big.”

    Hancock joins the “Diamond” singer, Ethan Hawke, Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in the film, who is set to play the titular character, a space and time-traveling agent from a futuristic Earth, with Delevingne starring as his red-haired companion, Laureline.

    Production is slated to begin at the end of 2015. Besson is writing and directing the film with Virginie Besson-Silla as producer on of EuropaCorp, which is financing, producing and distributing the sci-fi film.

    Valerian is due for release in theaters July 21, 2017.

    Read the original source article via Billboard here

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  • Herbie on Spotify

    Follow Herbie Hancock on Spotify, and stream many of his albums online

    Follow Herbie Hancock on Spotify, and stream many of his albums online

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  • Jaco Film Premiere

    Don’t miss the world-premiere of “JACO” (feat. Joni Mitchell, Flea, Jerry Jemmott, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Bootsy Collins, Wayne Shorter, Geddy Lee) and all-star tribute concert this Sunday night at the Ace Theatre in LA.

    The trailer, the line-up and your tickets are right here

    Don’t miss the world-premiere of “JACO” (feat. Joni Mitchell, Flea, Jerry Jemmott, Herbie Hancock, Sting, Bootsy Collins, Wayne Shorter, Geddy Lee) and all-star tribute concert this Sunday night at the Ace Theatre in LA.

    The trailer, the line-up and your tickets are right here

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  • Herbie on Instagram

    Herbie is now on Instagram at @herbiehancockofficial!

    Herbie is now on Instagram at @herbiehancockofficial!

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  • Los Angeles Jazz Competition & All-Star Gala Concert

    “On November 15 at the Dolby Theatre, Quincy Jones will be honored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as part of the Monk Institute’s Vocals Competition Finale and All-Star Gala..

    I have known Q for over 50 years and there is no one more deserving of this award. I am always in awe of …

    “On November 15 at the Dolby Theatre, Quincy Jones will be honored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as part of the Monk Institute’s Vocals Competition Finale and All-Star Gala..

    I have known Q for over 50 years and there is no one more deserving of this award. I am always in awe of his superior talent, taste, creativity, and contributions to cultural innovation and charitable causes. For many decades now, he has continued to support, encourage, and nurture the younger generation of musical artists, and, now at the age of 82, Quincy is just getting started. He’s got the energy, the drive and the intense desire to ensure that the global cultural contributions of our youth will be a major factor in uplifting the human spirit for many generations to come.

    Join me on November 15 for the Monk Institute Vocals Competition Finale and All-Star Gala and tribute to Quincy with Patti Austin, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Freddy Cole, Dave Grusin, Jimmy Heath, Al Jarreau, Hubert Laws, Ledisi, Gretchen Parlato, Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Shorter, Luciana Souza, and others. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s musical director and our hosts will include Andy Garcia, Seth MacFarlane and Jeff Goldblum.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Billboard: Herbie Hancock Working On New Album

    Herbie Hancock plans to go on “lockdown” after he receiving a National Arts Award from the Americans for the Arts on Monday (Oct. 19) — at least until he finishes his next album.

    The renowned keyboardist is planning a follow-up to 2010’s The Imagine Project, though what direction it will take is currently up in …

    Herbie Hancock plans to go on “lockdown” after he receiving a National Arts Award from the Americans for the Arts on Monday (Oct. 19) — at least until he finishes his next album.

    The renowned keyboardist is planning a follow-up to 2010’s The Imagine Project, though what direction it will take is currently up in the air. “I don’t have what one might normally define as a clear-cut architecture of the record,” Hancock tells Billboard. “There’s several ideas that are passing through my sights. But I’ve been trying to do a new album for four years, and there’s been little bits and nibbles but no time to do a record. It’s been going on way too long so I finally said, “OK, enough of this’ and I’m not gonna do anything else but (the album) for awhile.”

    Hancock has been speaking with Pharrell Williams about doing something together. He’s also started working with Flying Lotus and his regular bassist Thundercat, who Hancock finds to be a kindred spirit in musical adventure with plenty of common ground to explore between them. “There’s a scene that’s happening, kind of an underground movement that’s given partially to a connection to jazz or a new form of jazz,” Hancock explains. “It’s very difficult to definite because what’s involved is very often hip-hop and rap and electronics and jazz elements, classical elements. it’s pretty broad-based, very open. It touches on the experimental while at the same time touches on the street. So I’m very intrigued. I feel I have something that I might be able to kind of bring along and add a little bit to the sauce with a lot of these young voices, so let’s see what we come up with.”

    That’s not the only potential collaboration on Hancock’s plate. Carlos Santana has also identified Hancock as part of Supernova, an all-star project he’s planning that will also include saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman Santana on drums. “Carlos and Wayne and I have been talking about doing something for years, and we have done some one-off things,” Hancock says. “Those have been appetizers, I would say, from something we would like to embark on at some point. In what form, how it’s to take place, when it’s to take place — it’s still in the idea stage. But (Santana) wants it to happen. I want to make it happen, too. So does Wayne. We just haven’t gotten that far to where we can say anything concrete yet.”

    Meanwhile, Hancock says he’s be honored to receive the 2015 Outstanding Contributions to the Arts Award from Americans for the Arts during a ceremony in New York, part of National Arts and Humanities Month. He joined Lady Gaga (Young Artist Award), Sophia Loren (Carolyn Clark Powers Lifetime Achievement Award), Alice Walton (Arts Education Award), Joan and Irwin Jacobs (Philanthropy in the Arts Award) and Maria Bell (Legacy Award), who were feted with performances by The Voice finalist India Carey and YoungArts, among others.

    “It’s a very impressive organization. They do things to help insure there are avenues for people in various communities to be able to have access to the arts, which is so important,” Hancock says. “So I feel very encouraged getting an award from an organization that’s been around for years and years doing work like that. Another reason it’s special; fellow recipient Loren’s late husband Carlo Ponti produced the 1965 film Blow Up, which was Hancock’s first film scoring job.

    Click here to read the original source article via Billboard

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  • Herbie Receives ‘Outstanding Contributions To The Arts’ Award

    Herbie is grateful to be honored by Americans for the Arts with the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award this evening at the 2015 National Arts Awards, along with fellow honorees Sophia Loren, Lady Gaga, Maria Bell, Alice Walton, and Joan and Irwin Jacobs. Click here to read more.

    Herbie is grateful to be honored by Americans for the Arts with the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award this evening at the 2015 National Arts Awards, along with fellow honorees Sophia Loren, Lady Gaga, Maria Bell, Alice Walton, and Joan and Irwin Jacobs. Click here to read more.

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  • Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Semifinals

    Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has announced the semifinalists for the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute Intl’ Jazz Vocals Competition! These 11 young talents will compete the weekend of November 14-15 for over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group for the winner. Congratulations to all of the semi-finalists …

    Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has announced the semifinalists for the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute Intl’ Jazz Vocals Competition! These 11 young talents will compete the weekend of November 14-15 for over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group for the winner. Congratulations to all of the semi-finalists and thank you to all of the talented vocalists who submitted applications for this years competition.

    Click here to read the full article via The New York Times

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  • Video: The Story of “Watermelon Man”

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie explaining the story behind his song “Watermelon Man” via Elvis Costello’s Spectacle.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie explaining the story behind his song “Watermelon Man” via Elvis Costello’s Spectacle.

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  • 13th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days

    13th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days – October 1st – 31st, 2015

    Daniel Pearl World Music Days is an international network of concerts that use the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity. Since 2002, Daniel Pearl World Music Days has grown to include the participation of more than 11,000 …

    13th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days – October 1st – 31st, 2015

    Daniel Pearl World Music Days is an international network of concerts that use the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity. Since 2002, Daniel Pearl World Music Days has grown to include the participation of more than 11,000 performances in 129 countries. World Music Days is an awareness-raising program, not a fundraiser. There is no financial obligation to participate and all musicians are welcome.

    Daniel Pearl World Music Days was created in response to the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl at the hands of extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Danny’s family and friends came together to work towards a more humane world, forming the Daniel Pearl Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications.

    For more information, please visit DanielPearlMusicDays.org

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  • Video: Herbie Addresses the United Nations

    Watch a video of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock addressing the United Nations during the Global Student Observance for The International Day of Peace.

    Click here to watch the video.

    Watch a video of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock addressing the United Nations during the Global Student Observance for The International Day of Peace.

    Click here to watch the video.

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  • Herbie’s Statement on Bruce Lundvall’s Passing

    “Bruce Lundvall was one of the greatest music industry visionaries of the 20th century. He made the impossible possible with Blue Note Records. Because of Bruce so many artists that you never expected to be on a jazz label are appearing on there now starting with Nora Jones who he discovered several years ago.

    He …

    “Bruce Lundvall was one of the greatest music industry visionaries of the 20th century. He made the impossible possible with Blue Note Records. Because of Bruce so many artists that you never expected to be on a jazz label are appearing on there now starting with Nora Jones who he discovered several years ago.

    He was never just interested in money. He truly loved good music and loved jazz.

    Bruce was responsible for me getting signed in 1973 to Columbia Records, which later became Sony Records. Clive Davis was the President at that time and signed me because of Bruce’s recommendation. Bruce was also responsible for me getting hired to do compose the score for the film “Round Midnight”, directed by Bertrand Tavernier. My history and friendship with Bruce goes a long way back. He has left us in body but his legacy and extraordinary influence on the music industry will remain forever.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Herbie Receives Grand Vermeille Medal from City of Paris

    As part of the International Jazz Day celebrations, Herbie received the “Grand Vermeille” Medal from the city of Paris – the highest honor of distinction awarded to an individual.

    As part of the International Jazz Day celebrations, Herbie received the “Grand Vermeille” Medal from the city of Paris – the highest honor of distinction awarded to an individual.

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  • Video: 2014 International Jazz Day Panel Discussion

    Click here to watch an hourlong video featuring UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller.

    Organized by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program took place at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan.

    Click here to watch an hourlong video featuring UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller.

    Organized by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program took place at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan.

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  • Video: 2015 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert

    Click here to watch the full International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, broadcast on April 30th, 2015

    It was an incredible night of music at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on April 30 International Jazz Day. Watch the All-Star Global Concert with John Beasley (Music Director), A Bu, Eliane Elias, Antonio Faraò, Herbie Hancock, …

    Click here to watch the full International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, broadcast on April 30th, 2015

    It was an incredible night of music at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on April 30 International Jazz Day. Watch the All-Star Global Concert with John Beasley (Music Director), A Bu, Eliane Elias, Antonio Faraò, Herbie Hancock, Isfar Sarabski, trumpeters Till Brönner, Avishai Cohen, Hugh Masekela and Claudio Roditi; vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau, Annie Lennox, Rudy Pérez and Dianne Reeves; saxophonists Igor Butman, Femi Kuti, Guillaume Perret and Wayne Shorter; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller and Ben Williams; guitarist Lee Ritenour; drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, percussionist Mino Cinelu, harmonica player Grégoire Maret, and oud player Dhafer Youssef.

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  • 2015 International Jazz Day

    185 countries, more that 600 events all happening April 30 – ‪#‎JazzDay‬. How are you celebrating International Jazz Day? It’s going to be the greatest day in ‪#‎Jazz‬ history. Visit the Jazzday Website to learn more.

    185 countries, more that 600 events all happening April 30 – ‪#‎JazzDay‬. How are you celebrating International Jazz Day? It’s going to be the greatest day in ‪#‎Jazz‬ history. Visit the Jazzday Website to learn more.

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  • Feature: The Making of ‘Rockit’

    In February of 1984, most of the world had never seen anything like it. As the camera panned across a thundering standing ovation at the 26th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the thoroughly mind-blown expressions on the faces of Julio Iglesias, Latoya Jackson, and Brooke Shields said it all. Jazz heavyweight Herbie Hancock and his …

    In February of 1984, most of the world had never seen anything like it.
    As the camera panned across a thundering standing ovation at the 26th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the thoroughly mind-blown expressions on the faces of Julio Iglesias, Latoya Jackson, and Brooke Shields said it all. Jazz heavyweight Herbie Hancock and his band had just finished a show-stopping performance of their breakout hit “Rockit,” which went on to win the award for Best R&B Instrumental.

    In a Grammy performance for the ages, Herbie jammed on his clavitar as robotic figures in masks and suits performed physics-defying breakdancing moves. Front and center, in an elevated DJ booth, stood Grandmixer D.ST, behind the wheels of steel. He had just schooled the audience — not just those in L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, but the entire world watching at home — on the finer points of scratching a record, a fresh innovation from the burgeoning hip-hop scene in the Bronx, poised for world domination. D.ST treated the Technics 1200s as if they were an electric guitar and he was Eddie Van Halen.

    Fast forward to October of last year: Herbie is back in the studio but not making music. Instead, NPR host Diane Rehm peppers him with questions about his storied career in her motherly manner as they discuss his new biography, Possibilities (Viking, 2014). In it, the 74-year-old master musician traces his evolution from classically trained pianist to playing with Miles Davis, revisiting moments in a music career that earned him 14 Grammys and even an Oscar for his score of Round Midnight.

    When Rehm asks Herbie about his 1983 smash, “Rockit,” which represented a sharp departure from his work up until then, he says, “Well, it really comes from the hip-hop scene. But at that time, hip-hop was underground — primarily here in New York — and it hadn’t really bubbled to the surface yet. I had the good fortune of being at the right place at the right time, with the right people. And it was my record that really brought hip-hop forward to be the cutting edge music recognized internationally.”

    Herbie was not pulling a Kanye here, but telling it like it is. When “Rockit” was released in the summer of ’83, it sounded like the future. Boasting an infectious rhythm and an other-wordly melody, the record soared to the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts, lingering for almost a month. In addition to the Grammy, the song’s cutting-edge video also copped five Spacemen at the very first MTV Awards in 1984, topping Michael Jackson, who won only three.

    Only 17 when “Rockit” came out, Crazy Legs — iconic hip-hop dancer from the legendary Rock Steady Crew — says, “The fact that an artist of Herbie Hancock’s stature embraced and reached out to the hip-hop community and brought it into his world, I think that was a nice shot in the arm for hip-hop.” While the song undeniably helped pave the way for mainstream acceptance of hip-hop, the remarkable thing about it is the perfect storm behind its genesis.

    “We all have the natural human tendency to take the safe route — to do the thing we know will work rather than taking a chance. But that’s the antithesis of jazz, which is all about being in the present. Jazz is about being in the moment at every moment. It’s about trusting yourself to respond on the fly. If you can allow yourself to do that, you never stop exploring, you never stop learning, in music or in life.”
    ~from Possibilities by Herbie Hancock

    In 1982, Herbie’s career prospects were not looking good. His foray into disco/pop was a certified flop — Lite Me Up, produced by Heatwave’s Rod Temperton, responsible for writing some of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits like “Thriller” and “Off The Wall.” In fact, Herbie had not had a hit since his classic 1973 album, Headhunters, which had spawned standards like “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man.” With only one record left in his deal with Columbia, he was heavily in debt to the label.

    Luckily, he had a new kid managing him. Tony Meilandt, 25, had successfully promoted student concerts while at UC Berkeley, had a passion for music, and a nose for what was new and exciting. While sniffing around the avant-garde, no-wave scene that was happening in downtown New York, he was introduced to a band called Material, whose core included bassist Bill Laswell and Michael Beinhorn on synthesizer. Along with sound engineer Martin Bisi, this trio also constituted a production team, who at the time were making a lot of underground records for the French-owned label Celluloid.

    “Tony was like, ‘This is kinda like Herbie’s last shot, would you be interested?’” recalls Beinhorn, of this chance opportunity to work with a faded legend.

    “So he went back to L.A.,” says Laswell, picking up the story, “met with Herbie, and a very short time after that they came to New York, and that’s when the Roxy was blazing.” The converted roller disco at 515 W. 18th Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea district was where the Bronx came downtown, throwing the first hip-hop parties outside the borough.

    “He had Herbie in the VIP room, which had these glass windows so you could watch whoever’s DJing,” Laswell continues. “And that night it was Bambaataa, D.ST, Jazzy Jay, Afrika Islam, Red Alert — that was the line-up — and I said, ‘Well, this is what’s happenin’ now.’ Herbie was like, ‘It looks like there’s a riot goin’ on.’ He didn’t get it.”
    Regardless, Meilandt convinced Herbie to work with Laswell and Material, making a deal for them to deliver two tracks on spec. Before his death in 2004, Meilandt told me, “It did not take a whole lot of convincing because Herbie was very much ready to do something else.”

    Located in a former factory in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, BC Studios was a 900-square-foot, raw space — unlike typical studios in that the control room was not separated from the live room by soundproofing and glass. Laswell and Bisi, who also lived there, had started the studio with an inheritance Bisi received from his parents, as well as money Laswell secured from producer Brian Eno, who had worked there for two months. Here, they set about the task at hand.

    Beinhorn had recently purchased a brand new Oberheim DMX drum machine, which retailed for around $2,800 at the time. Only the second commercial drum machine on the market after the Linn Drum LM-1, rappers favored it for its big sounds. “I did the programming, but I didn’t know how to program a drum machine, so I had to teach myself,” Beinhorn recalls laughing.

    Laswell had worked frequently with a Cuban percussionist named Daniel Ponce, whom he describes as, “a genius, like Ginger Baker or Tony Williams,” and he wanted to use him for this project. “I also thought the Batá drums had a tone that I hadn’t heard in any electronic music,” he says.

    The Batá is a two-headed drum that comes in three sizes — large, medium, and small — and is usually played by three people. Ponce came alone to the studio that night, and, according to Bisi, he played all three drums. “Rather than it being an ensemble of three people playing Batá, he did three passes — one on each drum. Ponce essentially was a musician/priest, and all the rhythms he would play on those Batá drums were associated with a Yoruba deity. It was basically Santeria.”

    Beinhorn was also floored. “It was amazing because he knows these rhythms so well he was able to create the feel of three guys playing together.”

    The track was slowly coming together.

    Laswell wanted to use scratching as an element, so he called his friend Afrika Bambaataa and asked, “‘Who’s the guy I should use for the turntable?’ And Bam said, ‘Whiz Kid.’”

    Whiz Kid & MC Globe, of Soul Sonic Force, had a popular record at the time, “Play That Beat Mr. DJ,” (Tommy Boy, 1983), which was one of the first records with scratching. “So I called Whiz Kid and he had just joined the army or some shit like that — he wasn’t available — so he told me to call his protégé, DJ Cheese,” recalls Laswell. Laswell wasn’t sure he wanted to bring a guy named Cheese to L.A., so he decided to use someone he already knew, D. ST.

    D, who hailed from the Edenwald projects of the northeast Bronx, was one of the first hip-hop DJs to spin at the Roxy — even before the Zulus. “I was never a Zulu DJ,” he clarifies, “I was an associate of the Zulu Nation.”

    D showed up at BC studio one night with some buddies in tow — a Puerto Rican gypsy cab driver from the Bronx, Mr. C. (“not that Mr. C, the original Mr. C,” says D.), and Booski, one of the MCs from his group Infinity Rappers. Though he brought his own turntable and some records, Bisi says, “I think Bill imagined getting creative with the choice of vinyl to scratch.”

    There was a pile of Celluloid Records sitting on the floor, including a 12-inch called “Change The Beat” by Fab Five Freddy, which had been recorded by Material in that very same studio. At the very end of the record, there is a snippet of a guy saying, “Ahhh! This stuff is really fresh” through a vocoder. While one would naturally assume it was Freddy, who had been rapping all over the record in both English and French, according to Laswell, it was really the voice of one of his associates — a guy by the name of Roger Trilling, who happened to be in the studio during that session.

    “I took the ‘Change The Beat’ record and I took fresh, and I did that rhythm — if you see the end of Wild Style, that’s what I was doing, though I changed it a little — I did my ‘Good Times’ scratch with fresh,” says D, referring to the Chic hit “Good Times,” whose groove was also used as the basis for rap’s first-ever hit, “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979.

    “Everybody was like, ‘Yo! That’s it,’” recalls D, who recorded his contribution in just one take. Because there was little else on the track besides the rhythm, D, a former drummer, had plenty of room to let loose and show off his skills. “That’s the first record with a musical style of scratching,” he says. “That’s the first time a turntable was used as a soloist instrument in an ensemble, you know what I’m sayin’?” Due to his choice of scratching that one word, fresh, “Change The Beat” also went on to become the most sampled song in history according to the website WhoSampled.com.

    Before presenting the track to Herbie, they had to transfer it from 16-track to 24-track 2-inch tape, which was the industry standard for masters at the time. For this, they went to RPM studios, on E. 12th Street in the Village. According to Bisi, “We did some extras, like some little extra screwing around, and that’s where we did the Led Zeppelin stab. It’s essentially a sample, but we didn’t do it with a sampler.” Since samplers at the time were very new and expensive, and not your standard studio gear, he adds, “We did it with the repeat hold function of a Lexicon delay unit.”

    Laswell had originally planned to sample a snare off the Led Zeppelin album Coda. “I put the record on,” he says, “and there was a distraction like a phone call or something, but the record was still playing. [The Lexicon] can only sample something for like a second, but it caught a sound, and it wasn’t the snare, it was a guitar chord.” Accidents being a part of the creative process, they decided to go with it, but in order to add the guitar stab to the track they had to manually play it in with a fader since midi recording was still its infancy.

    Laswell and Beinhorn went to L.A. to deliver the track to Herbie at his home at 1260 North Wetherly Drive, just off Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood — a residence formerly owned by the renowned composer Igor Stravinsky. When they played it for him, in the converted guesthouse-turned-studio behind the main house, Beinhorn says, “He didn’t know what the fuck was going on.” He adds, “So no one has a melody, right, so what happens is me, Bill, and Herbie are standing outside of Herbie’s studio for about 15 minutes, humming, and we basically composed the melody that way.”

    Herbie actually used three different synthesizers for his parts, but he had to overdub each one of them — again because there was no midi on any of them. Then he wanted to add some scat phrasing through a vocoder, and Laswell and Beinhorn suggested some phrases culled directly from the lyrics to the 1982 monster hit, “Planet Rock,” such as “Rock it, don’t stop it.” The song finally had a melodic hook and title.

    On a second trip to L.A. to mix the song, they brought along D.ST and Grandmaster Caz of Cold Crush Brothers. That session, held at legendary El Dorado Studios on Hollywood and Vine with engineer Dave Jerden, who went on to produce such groups as Jane’s Addiction, Alice in Chains, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, took no longer than an hour and a half. According to Beinhorn, “Dave told me Herbie came up to him and was like, ‘This is cool, isn’t it?’ ‘Cause he just had no idea at all. To me, it felt like a case of when you got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.”

    As soon as the song was mixed, they left for the airport with a reference copy on cassette. “We had some time to kill,” Laswell recalls, “so I said let’s stop at this speaker store. And we went inside and wanted to hear some different speakers. The guy in the store was going to play some bullshit rock stuff, so I said, ‘Here, play this. I want to hear how this sounds.’ And it was ‘Rockit.’” Laswell cranked up the volume. “When we played it,” he says, “there were all these kids from the neighborhood, and they gathered around us, and they’re like, ‘What the fuck is this?!’ I looked at D, and I was like, ‘That’s a hit record.’”

    Sure enough, by the summer of 1983, “Rockit” was all over the radio on its way to becoming a Billboard #1 Dance hit. However, Laswell says, “I don’t think Sony/Columbia would have released it if not for the video. They totally didn’t get it.”

    The quirky video clip, directed by the British duo of Kevin Godley and Lol Crème, the creative minds behind the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” video, gained instant traction on a new cable network called MTV. It featured robot-like mannequins — designed by British artist and inventor Jim Whiting — dancing, spinning, and gyrating to the infectious beat. Herbie himself appears only briefly, displayed on a TV screen in the background. At a time when the only black artist MTV was playing was Michael Jackson, the video turned out to be a major coup for Herbie, garnering eight MTV Award nominations.

    In a music industry perpetually obsessed with the bottom line, “Rockit” represents the rare intersection of art and commerce. “It established that urban culture could be national,” Bisi says.

    “That’s what it did, which is just huge. It’s a mind boggling accomplishment.” Beinhorn adds, “There was something about the whole project that really had this strange sense of kismet about it, ya know. Like it felt fated in some way to be something.”

    Thanks to its success, Material was deluged with offers for bigger production work. D.ST, who was only 21 at the time, was asked to join Herbie’s band, with which he toured for the next three years. He says, “It was a bridge between young and old. It showed that new technology and new ideas can coexist with the old.” When asked how “Rockit” changed his life, D says, “Well, I’m in the Rock Walk of Fame, and there’s a whole bunch of people who will never do that shit. ‘Rockit’ was a path to that.”

    As for Herbie, his career was rescued from certain extinction and flourished. He went on to create several more forward-leaning electronic albums with Laswell, including 2001’s Future2Future with celebrated turntablist Rob Swift of the Executioners, who was inspired to become a deejay by D.ST. In 2013, Herbie received a Kennedy Center Honors Award for achievement in the performing arts.

    – by S.H. Fernando, Jr.

    Click here to read the original source article via Medium

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  • Video: Interview with UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock on International Jazz Day 2015

    UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Thelonious Monk Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock talks about the inspiration for International Jazz Day. Interview conducted by China Moses. Click here to watch the video

    UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Thelonious Monk Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock talks about the inspiration for International Jazz Day. Interview conducted by China Moses. Click here to watch the video

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  • ‘Maiden Voyage’ 50th Anniversary

    Maiden Voyage turns 50 today. Go ahead and take it for a spin. You can stream it here via Spotify.

    Maiden Voyage turns 50 today. Go ahead and take it for a spin. You can stream it here via Spotify.

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  • Video: Herbie Performs at the 55th Annual Grammys

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie’s performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards with Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, and Questlove.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie’s performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards with Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, and Questlove.

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  • ‘Jazz Greats Hancock, Corea Announce First Tour in 37 Years’

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jazz greats Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock share much in common, but the last time they toured together was 37 years ago when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Sony had just introduced the Walkman.

    The performers announced a world tour of duo piano concerts on Thursday. It kicks …

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jazz greats Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock share much in common, but the last time they toured together was 37 years ago when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Sony had just introduced the Walkman.

    The performers announced a world tour of duo piano concerts on Thursday. It kicks off March 14 in Seattle.

    “Chick and I have always had an open door toward the possibility of touring again,” Hancock said in an email. “We both felt that enough time has passed since our last major tour in 1978, and considering all of the experiences we have had in music and in life, that this was the perfect time to pass through that doorway again.”

    Corea and Hancock both were members of Miles Davis’ bands of the 1960s, even playing together on keyboards on the trumpeter’s groundbreaking jazz-fusion albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.

    “Herbie is a musical phenomenon and a rare human being,” Corea said in a statement. “To me he’s been a dear friend as well as a lifelong inspiration.”

    The North American leg of the tour wraps in Carmel, Indiana on April 18. After a break, the duo will perform in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

    Click here to read the original source article via CBS News

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  • Audio: Herbie Hancock Interview on NPR

    Jazz great Herbie Hancock has won 14 Grammy Awards and an Oscar for the score of “Round Midnight.” He speaks with Diane about music, marriage and how his long relationship with Buddhism has shaped his life and career.

    Click here to listen to the interview via NPR

    Jazz great Herbie Hancock has won 14 Grammy Awards and an Oscar for the score of “Round Midnight.” He speaks with Diane about music, marriage and how his long relationship with Buddhism has shaped his life and career.

    Click here to listen to the interview via NPR

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  • Video: The 2014 Kennedy Center Honors

    After receiving an honor last year, Herbie returns to the The Kennedy Center Honors to perform with Esperanza Spalding in honor of Sting tonight on CBS at 9pm/8pm central.

    Click here to watch a video of the performance

    After receiving an honor last year, Herbie returns to the The Kennedy Center Honors to perform with Esperanza Spalding in honor of Sting tonight on CBS at 9pm/8pm central.

    Click here to watch a video of the performance

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  • Audio: Herbie Hancock on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’

    ‘Three Books For The Jazz Lover On Your List’

    Click here to listen to the feature on NPR

    ‘Three Books For The Jazz Lover On Your List’

    Click here to listen to the feature on NPR

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Interview on PBS’ Tavis Smiley

    A modern music icon, Herbie Hancock played with the jazz greats and went on to become an Oscar- and multiple Grammy-winning musician-composer with enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop. The Chicago native took up piano at age 7 and, classically trained, was performing Mozart with symphony orchestras by age 11. …

    A modern music icon, Herbie Hancock played with the jazz greats and went on to become an Oscar- and multiple Grammy-winning musician-composer with enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop. The Chicago native took up piano at age 7 and, classically trained, was performing Mozart with symphony orchestras by age 11. He’s scored a number of films and is involved in several educational endeavors, including the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He’s also the L.A. Philharmonic’s creative chair for jazz and UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue. Hancock reveals his musical influences and shares behind-the-scenes stories in his memoir, Possibilities.

    Click here to watch the video via WNET, originally aired on November 7th, 2014

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock and The Roots on The Tonight Show

    Watch a video of Herbie performing “Actual Proof” with The Roots live on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

    Watch a video of Herbie performing “Actual Proof” with The Roots live on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock on MSNBC

    Legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock speaks about his nearly five decade marriage to his wife and the importance of being in the moment and how it contributes to his creativity.

    Click here to watch the video via MSNBC

    Legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock speaks about his nearly five decade marriage to his wife and the importance of being in the moment and how it contributes to his creativity.

    Click here to watch the video via MSNBC

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  • Audio: “On A Path To Find My Own Answer” – NPR Interview

    To listen to the music of Herbie Hancock is to witness an artist in constant evolution. Even looking at highlights alone — from 1962’s “Watermelon Man,” a tune he says he named after a fruit seller he’d seen in his hometown of Chicago, to playing in Miles Davis’ band, to his improbable hip-hop hybrid “Rockit” …

    To listen to the music of Herbie Hancock is to witness an artist in constant evolution. Even looking at highlights alone — from 1962’s “Watermelon Man,” a tune he says he named after a fruit seller he’d seen in his hometown of Chicago, to playing in Miles Davis’ band, to his improbable hip-hop hybrid “Rockit” in 1983, to his recent collaboration with fellow electronic tinkerer Flying Lotus — to refer to the pianist and composer as a jazz artist feels utterly inadequate.

    Click here to listen to the audio interview via NPR

    Now, at the age of 74, Hancock is looking back on his sweeping career in a memoir called Possibilities. He joined NPR’s Steve Inskeep to talk about some of his more profound turning points, be it Buddhist chants as a gateway to funk music or getting into hard drugs and bouncing back. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read an edited version of their conversation below.

    Steve Inskeep: There is this wonderful story in the book that touches at once on several strands of your life: You talk about getting into funk, and how you were chanting when it happened. What was going on in that moment?

    Herbie Hancock: The kind of music I had been playing before, with a band that we now call the Mwandishi band, was very far-out space music, untethered. And I got a little tired of it.

    You wanted to be tethered.

    I wanted to do something that was a little more earthy. And the funny thing was, I had been listening to people like Sly Stone and James Brown, but playing a music that was very far removed from that. So I actually had broken up that band, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do from that point on. And because I had been practicing Buddhism at that time for almost a year, I wanted some answers. So that was one of the things I was chanting for: to recognize a direction I wanted to go in.

    Will you describe chanting, for those who have never done it? What’s that experience?

    The chant itself is “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,” what we believe is the sound that actually connects everything in the universe. So I was chanting that and, all of sudden, I’m starting to hear that song “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” — Sly Stone. I had this picture in my head of me being in Sly Stone’s band, playing this funky music. All of sudden I started thinking of my band playing this funky music. So I made a change in my life at that point. And I decided that this is something I want to explore.

    You were criticized for that change.

    Oh, yeah. Fortunately, I had learned so much from Miles Davis prior to that about, you know, being able to stand up for what you believe in. That’s the only way you can really respect yourself, and I had to be true to my own convictions.

    Some people will know that you were in Miles Davis’ band as a younger man, in the years before this. You write about him as a bandleader, and the thing that stands out most, perhaps, is that he would give you instructions that no one understood.

    I wouldn’t state it exactly like that. [Laughs]

    That’s a little too bald? Okay.

    I would describe it as saying that Miles might say something, and you might not understand at the time that he said it. But you would immediately go on a quest to figure out what he meant by that, and in that quest, you would find your own answers. Great mentors do that: They’re able to help you to discover your own truth.

    What was something that he said to you that didn’t make sense to you at first and that you had to go work on?

    One time, I was kind of depressed because I felt that my playing had kind of gotten in a rut. And he leaned over to me, and I thought what he said was, “Put a B in the bass.” And so I put this note, the note B, I put that — and it didn’t really work. But I searched around and I found something that actually worked. And then I looked over at Miles, you know, expecting to get his approval. He looked at me and kind of shrugged his shoulders. And he said, “See?” Like he was taking credit for what I had done. I was like, “Why is he taking credit?”

    Well, he pushed you. He pushed you toward that solution.

    That’s exactly right. He deserves the credit because what he did was, he set me out on a path to find my own answer.

    And as you were changing from one musical style to another, were you consciously thinking that? “I’m getting a little stuck in this particular kind of jazz here, I need to go in a different direction.” Or after you’d played funk for a while: “I’m getting stuck a little in that, and I want to go in a more electronic direction.”

    I’m always looking for a way to continue evolving, reconstructing, deconstructing, and not doing the same thing over and over again. It’s part of my nature. I’m naturally very curious and I’ve been ever since I was a little kid.

    I want to ask about another subject, that’s difficult, but that you choose to address here — and that you say you’ve written about here for the first time. Some people will be surprised to learn that you were addicted to crack.

    Yep.

    And not as a young man. What happened?

    I wanted to see, what was it everybody was talking about that was supposed to be so dangerous? So I tried it. And the first time I inhaled it, I knew I had made a major mistake. And I said to myself, “Oh, I should have never done this.” I had no idea that I’d stepped over that line that I had drawn.

    I kept it to a kind of minimum, because I was so afraid and embarrassed about what I was doing. I spaced things apart. I had long breaks between when I would ever, when I would do that. But this went on for a few years.

    You describe disappearing on your way home from the airport one night, and your family having to track you down. That was what led to what you describe as an intervention, although I guess it was kind of an improvised intervention: Everybody came together and told you, this is it.

    What happened is, I came home from one of these “sessions.” And my wife said, you know, come into this room. And my daughter was there, and two other really, really close friends of mine. And I just broke down crying. Because I was high, and I knew I looked terrible, and I was embarrassed beyond belief. But a part of me was relieved, because I knew it was the end of the line for something that I wanted to end, but I wasn’t able to do it by myself. I needed to go to rehab. And that, in combination with chanting, was what did it. And I haven’t gone back to that since and I never will.

    And just stating the obvious here — I think I know the answer to this question, but I’ll ask it anyway — did drugs ever affect your music in any way? For better or for worse?

    I can answer that simply: No, it didn’t help. I tried to separate the two. I mean, I wasn’t high off of crack all time. You know, I would only do that when I was away from the family, when I was away from music. And I tried to keep those worlds completely apart.

    I want to ask about one other thing. You describe a moment on stage of playing with a group and everything’s falling together. And you describe yourself even looking down at your own fingers and they seem to be on their own, doing their own thing, and playing brilliantly. What’s it feel like when you’re in a moment like that?

    It’s kind of hard to describe in words. But it felt like I was watching myself play. I was sort of on automatic, in a sense. Everything that I touched seemed to work. But it wasn’t just me.

    It was the Mwandishi band, and we were performing in Chicago at a club called the London House. And it was just a moment where we were all so unified that the energy of the bass player and the drummer and the saxophonist — I felt like they were all, like, in me. “Many in body, one in mind”: That’s a phrase we use in Buddhism. And it was incredible.

    So if you were to step up on stage tomorrow night, would you be looking to re-create that moment of transcendence from years and years ago?

    No. Because I’m not looking to create anything that I did before. I’m looking to create the moment that I’m actually living in at that moment. And frankly, that’s what jazz really is about.

    via NPR

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  • Possiblities Memoir Released Today

    Today marks the release of “Possibilities,” and this quote from the book seemed appropriate in relation to the creation and release of this memoir published by Viking Books:

    “It was scary to go outside the lines of what I’d spent so much time developing, but it was exhilarating, too. And I learned something really important …

    Today marks the release of “Possibilities,” and this quote from the book seemed appropriate in relation to the creation and release of this memoir published by Viking Books:

    “It was scary to go outside the lines of what I’d spent so much time developing, but it was exhilarating, too. And I learned something really important from doing it: I learned to play from my guts.” – Herbie Hancock

    You can learn more about the book at http://bit.ly/2lSfJQT

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  • Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea Announce Spring 2015 tour

    Herbie and his longtime friend and fellow keyboard master Chick Corea have plotted a spring 2015 outing through North America.

    The storied collaboration of the two on stage together in the 1978 resulted in seminal live recordings that remain popular today.

    As in 1978, this tour will set the quartets and vocalists aside and present …

    Herbie and his longtime friend and fellow keyboard master Chick Corea have plotted a spring 2015 outing through North America.

    The storied collaboration of the two on stage together in the 1978 resulted in seminal live recordings that remain popular today.

    As in 1978, this tour will set the quartets and vocalists aside and present two virtuosos on stage together with just their keyboards.

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  • ‘Speak Like A Child’ Vinyl Reissue

    Blue Note Records has just released “Speak Like a Child” as part of their ‪#‎BlueNote75‬ Vinyl Re-issue Series. You can pick up your copy right here

    Blue Note Records has just released “Speak Like a Child” as part of their ‪#‎BlueNote75‬ Vinyl Re-issue Series. You can pick up your copy right here

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  • Herbie’s Memoir ‘Possibilities’ to be Released on October 23rd

    Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, the long-awaited memoir by one of the most influential and beloved musicians and composers of our time, is set to be released via Viking on October 23rd.

    Co-written with critically-acclaimed author Lisa Dickey, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities reflects on a thriving career that has spanned more than seven decades as a musician, composer, …

    Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, the long-awaited memoir by one of the most influential and beloved musicians and composers of our time, is set to be released via Viking on October 23rd.

    Co-written with critically-acclaimed author Lisa Dickey, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities reflects on a thriving career that has spanned more than seven decades as a musician, composer, professor, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, father, husband and innovator.

    Now in the fifth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960’s. An enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, his ongoing exploration of different musical genres has garnered him fourteen Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award.

    From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock: Possibilities reveals the method behind Hancock’s undeniable musical genius. Hancock shares his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally.

    Hancock received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and 14 Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for “River: The Joni Letters,” and two 2011 Grammy Awards for the recently released globally collaborative CD, “The Imagine Project.” Many of his compositions, including “Canteloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage,” “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon,” are modern standards.

    Hancock currently serves as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He is a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP), and in 2011 was given the “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. During that same year, Hancock was also named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and in December of 2013, received a Kennedy Center Honor. In 2014 Hancock was named the 2014 Norton Professor Of Poetry at Harvard University, and recently completed his lectures series, “The Ethics Of Jazz,” as part of the Charles Eliot Norton Lecture Series in February for a period of six weeks.

    Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock: Possibilites promises to be an invaluable contribution to literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.

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  • Videos: Herbie Hancock Harvard Lectures – The Ethics Of Jazz

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to offer fans an incredible educational resource: all 8.5 hours of his legendary Harvard lectures in one place.

    “The Ethics Of Jazz” examines topics including “The Wisdom Of Miles Davis,” “Breaking The Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation And New Technologies.”

    Click a title below to watch each …

    HerbieHancock.com is pleased to offer fans an incredible educational resource: all 8.5 hours of his legendary Harvard lectures in one place.

    “The Ethics Of Jazz” examines topics including “The Wisdom Of Miles Davis,” “Breaking The Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation And New Technologies.”

    Click a title below to watch each lecture.

    Click here to watch Lecture 1: ‘The Wisdom Of Miles Davis’

    Click here to watch Lecture 2: ‘Breaking The Rules’

    Click here to watch Lecture 3: ‘Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom’

    Click here to watch Lecture 4: ‘Innovation and New Technologies’

    Click here to watch Lecture 5: ‘Buddhism And Creativity’

    Click here to watch Lecture 6: ‘Once Upon A Time’

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  • Video: What Is Jazz, And Why Is It Important To The World

    Click here to watch a video from the 2014 International Jazz Day, in which Dr. J.B. Dyas, VP for Education & Curriculum Development at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, delivers an introduction to the mechanics and positive values of jazz as part of the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program.

    Click here to watch a video from the 2014 International Jazz Day, in which Dr. J.B. Dyas, VP for Education & Curriculum Development at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, delivers an introduction to the mechanics and positive values of jazz as part of the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program.

    Filmed at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan.

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  • Video: Wayne Shorter – International Jazz Day 2014

    Click here to watch the video ‘Wayne Shorter – Philosophy Of Life Through Jazz’

    This discussion features legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. Organized by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program took place at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan.

    Click here to watch the video ‘Wayne Shorter – Philosophy Of Life Through Jazz’

    This discussion features legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. Organized by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the 2014 International Jazz Day Daytime Educational Program took place at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan.

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  • Video: 2014 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert

    Click here to watch a 2-hour video of the 2014 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert held in Osaka, Japan

    Click here to watch a 2-hour video of the 2014 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert held in Osaka, Japan

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  • ‘Maiden Voyage’ Vinyl Reissue

    Blue Note Records has just released a 75th Anniversary vinyl re-issue series that includes “Maiden Voyage.” You can pick up a copy here.

    Blue Note Records has just released a 75th Anniversary vinyl re-issue series that includes “Maiden Voyage.” You can pick up a copy here.

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  • Herbie Hancock to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at SF Jazz

    Things will kick off May 16th, with Herbie receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SFJazz Gala, which will also feature performances by Herbie, the critically acclaimed SFJAZZ Collective, SFJazz’s award-winning SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, and surprise musical guests. Herbie and band will perform May 17th and 18th at Miner Auditorium as part of the …

    Things will kick off May 16th, with Herbie receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SFJazz Gala, which will also feature performances by Herbie, the critically acclaimed SFJAZZ Collective, SFJazz’s award-winning SFJAZZ High School All-Stars, and surprise musical guests. Herbie and band will perform May 17th and 18th at Miner Auditorium as part of the formal SFJazz series.

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  • ‘In Harvard Lecture, Hancock Discusses Buddhism, Sources Of Creativity’

    Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock, the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, discussed how his Buddhist beliefs have fueled his musical creativity in a lecture at Sanders Theatre Monday afternoon.

    At the lecture, entitled “Buddhism and Creativity,” Hancock first shared his story of adopting Buddhism and then discussed the relationship between religious worldviews and artistic …

    Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock, the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, discussed how his Buddhist beliefs have fueled his musical creativity in a lecture at Sanders Theatre Monday afternoon.

    At the lecture, entitled “Buddhism and Creativity,” Hancock first shared his story of adopting Buddhism and then discussed the relationship between religious worldviews and artistic innovation. The lecture was the penultimate installment of the semester-long, six-part Norton lecture series entitled “The Ethics of Jazz” and presented by the Mahindra Humanities Center.

    Hancock said that he was first introduced to Buddhism by Buster Williams, a member of his band, at a gig in Seattle in 1972. Since then, he has been practicing Buddhism, which he says “has affected how I look at everything.” He said he believes that practicing Buddhism has “profoundly transformed and enhanced [his] life, both as a human and as a musician.”

    Hancock described the practice of Buddhist principles as a condition of being awakened, and said that the exercise of these beliefs “reveals a major shift in the relationship between yourself and your external environment.”

    He added that this new way of life and the Buddhist chants that he has since embraced unleashed a great inspiration for his creativity.

    Hancock outlined what he believes are the fundamental characteristics of cultural artistic creativity: inspiration, hard work, challenge, courage, originality and innovation, ability or skill, and imagination. Yet he said that the true definition of creativity transcends words, and for this reason, creativity is like magic.

    Hancock then asked the question, “So, well, what motivates creativity?” He continued to list the several main motivators, including fear, pain and suffering, joy, the time clock, stress, anger, desire, humor, and observation.

    He argued that everyone has the capability to be a creative artistic individual, especially since everyone is involved in “the art of living.”

    He specifically discussed the power of Buddhism to influence creativity, saying that the belief system “modifies our state of being, and expands our creativity.”

    Hancock wrapped up the lecture by declaring that even amid difficult circumstances, “a person that lives with imagination, hard work, innovation, along with integrity, wisdom and compassion…can be a profound contributor toward the creation of a harmonious orchestra of life,” even though the “art of living is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most difficult to master.”

    Audience members, many of whom had attended Hancock’s previous lectures, said that they enjoyed learning about what has inspired the jazz musician.

    Cambridge resident and painter Eve Perkins said that she appreciates that Hancock’s teachings can be translated into other disciplines.

    Bradford G. Rose ’14, a drummer and manager for Harvard Jazz Bands, said he attended the lecture because he believes it is “important to learn an artist’s source of inspiration–it adds some color.”

    Click here to read the original source article via The Harvard Crimson

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  • Herbie Hancock’s Harvard Lectures On Innovations In Jazz

    Jazz musician Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock explored the topic of innovation and new technologies by blending his passion for music and science in a lecture at Sanders Theatre Monday afternoon.

    The lecture was the fourth installment of a six-part series entitled “The Ethics of Jazz,” which Hancock has delivered as the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton …

    Jazz musician Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock explored the topic of innovation and new technologies by blending his passion for music and science in a lecture at Sanders Theatre Monday afternoon.

    The lecture was the fourth installment of a six-part series entitled “The Ethics of Jazz,” which Hancock has delivered as the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry and as part of a larger program presented by the Mahindra Humanities Center.

    Hancock spent the afternoon discussing how he has pushed for the advancement of technology in order to create revolutionary jazz music.

    “I love working with fearless people, the rule breakers [and] developing a cutting edge way of making art,” he said.

    In the 1970s, Hancock said that he worked with the music industry to use the keyboard to channel multiple instruments.

    “We didn’t stop there,” he said.

    Hancock also was one of the first jazz musicians to use a vocoder, an instrument that creates a synthesized vocal sound very similar to today’s auto-tuned voices, as a complete replacement for the human voice. In addition, Hancock said that “scratching records and turntable techniques” fueled the creation of his album, “Future Shock,” which included the Grammy Award-winning song “Rockit.”

    This experimentation and the incorporation of new musical techniques brought further success to his musical career. Hancock won an Academy Award for best original score for the film “Round Midnight” in 1986. Still, Hancock warned of the risks of technology in music.

    “There’s always a danger that technology will take the spotlight at the expense of musical expression,” Hancock said. He added that while he had initially agreed with critics of the use of the synthesizer as a replacement for traditional instruments, he developed a fascination for the instrument that opened up interesting musical possibilities.

    Terri L. Carrington, a Grammy-winning jazz musician who attended the event, praised Hancock’s ability to integrate innovative new techniques into his art.

    “I worked for Herbie for so long,” she said after the event. “Mixing technology with music in a very organic way is something very few people can do.”

    Sitting in front of a complex arrangement of synthesizers, vocorders, and keyboards, Hancock ended his talk by playing a work in progress entitled “Sonrisa.” As he stroked the keys, he improvised an orchestra.

    “We were watching on stage not a finished product but a creative process,” said Ingrid T. Monson, a professor of African American music. “[That kind of performance] takes a person with confidence in their musical creativity and willingness to explore.”

    Other audience members included cellist Yo-Yo Ma ’76, and New York City Ballet retirees Damian Woetzel and Heather Watts.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Harvard Crimson

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  • ‘Miles Davis, Buddhism, and Jazz Featured In Hancock’s First Harvard Lecture’

    Although Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock is a world-renowned Jazz pianist and composer, he once struggled with his future as a student at Grinnell College. Stuck between his passion for music and the practical skills of a degree in electrical engineering, Hancock ultimately chose music and has not looked back since.

    Hancock delved into these personal …

    Although Herbert “Herbie” J. Hancock is a world-renowned Jazz pianist and composer, he once struggled with his future as a student at Grinnell College. Stuck between his passion for music and the practical skills of a degree in electrical engineering, Hancock ultimately chose music and has not looked back since.

    Hancock delved into these personal experiences, as well as the core values of jazz music during a lecture in Sanders Theatre on Monday.

    Hancock, the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, the first African-American to hold the prestigious position, gave the first in a series of six lectures entitled “The Ethics of Jazz,” presented by the Mahindra Humanities Center.

    The first lecture, entitled, “The Wisdom of Miles Davis” tied Hancock’s personal memories of the legendary trumpet player and bandleader to broader lessons about racism, ethics, and Buddhism.

    During the lecture, which included some piano playing, Hancock touched on both the serious and lighter aspects of Davis’s life.

    “He loved fast cars, boxing, fast women, and, oh yeah, music,” Hancock said of Davis. “He was a man of few words, but he knew how to listen.”

    During one memorable concert while Hancock was playing with the legendary Miles Davis Quintet, the group was on a roll, Hancock remembered. However, right in the middle of Davis’s solo, Hancock played a wrong chord.

    The chord sounded off, but Davis’s next notes made the mistake sound like part of the flow of the song, Hancock recalled.

    “This experience became groundbreaking for me and opened the door to the future of my performances,” Hancock said.

    Not only did Hancock draw values of courage and trust from the moment, but he also took away the Buddhist lesson that notes are neither right nor wrong.

    Hancock enumerated other similarities he has found between Buddhism and jazz throughout the event.

    “In jazz we don’t hide our discoveries from others,” Hancock said.

    In one instance, Hancock was called to a practice session at Davis’ New York home, when Davis left the practice room and went upstairs for a while.

    “Miles actually listened to us through the intercom in the bedroom…he wanted to hear us play unencumbered,” Hancock recounted.

    However, the night was also filled with lighter stories, as Hancock mixed life lessons with anecdotes.

    From the time that Hancock beat Miles Davis in a car race on the streets of New York at 4 a.m., to when a manager yelled, “You’re gonna regret this,” after Hancock quit his job at a post office so that he could play a local jazz gig.

    “One thing I’ve learned is to always be a student,” Hancock said. “Don’t be too quick to say no.”

    Ingrid T. Monson, a music professor currently teaching a class entitled “Herbie Hancock’s Musical Worlds,” invited her students to attend the lecture.

    “It’s absolutely historic that Herbie Hancock is doing these lectures,” Monson said. “I couldn’t be happier, I think it’s really nice to be able to do a course and do it in conjunction with the many wonderful guests we have on campus.”

    Bjorn Kuhnicke, a student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences who attended the lecture, said he enjoyed Hancock’s style.

    “It was an interesting way of preaching, I liked it.”

    Click here to read the original source article via The Harvard Crimson

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  • Herbie Hancock Appointed 2014 Harvard Norton Professor of Poetry

    Always at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music, legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry. Hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center, Hancock will give six Norton Lectures in a series titled “The Ethics Of Jazz” in February and March. The series follows …

    Always at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music, legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry. Hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center, Hancock will give six Norton Lectures in a series titled “The Ethics Of Jazz” in February and March. The series follows Hancock’s receipt of a Kennedy Center Honor in December 2013.

    “The Ethics Of Jazz” will examine topics including “The Wisdom Of Miles Davis,” “Breaking The Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy And The Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation And New Technologies.” Hancock will draw upon his five decades of experiences as a musician, composer, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, tireless innovator, and father.

    “It is a great privilege to welcome Herbie Hancock as the Norton Professor,” said Homi Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. “His unsurpassed contribution to the history of music has revolutionized our understanding of the ways in which the arts transform our civic consciousness and our spiritual aspirations. It would be no exaggeration to say that he has defined cultural innovation in each decade of the last half century.”

    Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet that pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz, he also developed new approaches on his own recordings, followed by his work in the ’70s – with record-breaking albums such as “Headhunters” – that combined electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music.

    Hancock received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and 14 Grammy Awards. He currently serves as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

    Established in 1925, the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry has been awarded to important figures from across the arts. Past Norton Professors have included T.S. Eliot, Igor Stravinsky, Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Eames, Leonard Bernstein, John Cage, Nadine Gordimer, Orhan Pamuk, and William Kentridge.

    The 2014 Norton Lectures will take place at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University on Feb. 3, Feb. 12, Feb. 27, March 10, March 24, and March 31. Lectures begin at 4 p.m. and are open to the public, but will be ticketed. Tickets will be available at the Sanders Theatre box office starting at noon the day of each lecture, or through the Harvard Box Office site.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Harvard Gazette

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  • Video: The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors

    Click here to watch a video of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors

    And click here to watch Snoop Dogg introduce Herbie and thank him “for creating hip-hop”.

    Click here to watch a video of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors

    And click here to watch Snoop Dogg introduce Herbie and thank him “for creating hip-hop”.

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  • Herbie Hancock to Join International Artists in Abu Dhabi

    Herbie Hancock joins Renee Fleming, Bill Fontana and the American Ballet Theatre in late March at the Abu Dhabi Festival.

    The annual event runs from March 21 through March 31, with Herbie performing at the start of the festival.

    Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel will host a pre-event performance by the Simón Bolivar Symphony …

    Herbie Hancock joins Renee Fleming, Bill Fontana and the American Ballet Theatre in late March at the Abu Dhabi Festival.

    The annual event runs from March 21 through March 31, with Herbie performing at the start of the festival.

    Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel will host a pre-event performance by the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in advance of the festival on January 27th.

    Mrs Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival says of the lineup, ““Culture is the key that unlocks a nation’s creativity, and sparking innovation in the hearts and minds of young people is crucial for the future wellbeing of society. Through participation with, and presentation of some of the most exceptional artists today, the people of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE will have the opportunity to savour world-class experiences that will inspire, inform and ignite the imagination for many years to come.”

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  • Washington Post Review of Kennedy Center Honors

    This spectacle had to have the white-hot spotlight, front page, bold type (whoa-oh!) — to quote one of the evening’s celebrated songwriters — because this Kennedy Center Honors gala was a talker. The night might have begun as the latest parade of cultural icons seated in an opera box with their president, but when a …

    This spectacle had to have the white-hot spotlight, front page, bold type (whoa-oh!) — to quote one of the evening’s celebrated songwriters — because this Kennedy Center Honors gala was a talker. The night might have begun as the latest parade of cultural icons seated in an opera box with their president, but when a rapper and a Supreme Court justice take the same stage, it isn’t your standard lifetime achievement fete.

    This year, the Kennedy Center honored actress Shirley MacLaine, opera singer Martina Arroyo, musician Carlos Santana — who beamed while sitting next to first lady Michelle Obama — and two piano men: Herbie Hancock and Billy Joel. If the honorees had performed together, it would have been a dream collaboration — but as is the 36-year custom, they sat, smiled and watched others pay tribute to lives lived on stages and screens.

    The show — hosted by actress Glenn Close — began with a resounding rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” played by Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. Should anyone still doubt the Kennedy Center’s eagerness to include Hispanics in its annual hall-of-fame tribute, Harry Belafonte (1989 honoree) arrived onstage to deliver what might have been the sharpest pinch of the night:

    “Well, I’ll tell you folks, there’s no two ways about it. [Pause] We’ve got to do something about Mexican immigration,” the entertainer-activist said to uproarious laughter. “Every day you have people like Carlos Santana coming into this country and taking jobs that should be going to Americans.”

    Quick, cameras! Cut to the senators, stat!

    Those who were hoping for more feisty rhetoric were stuck with feel-good vibes — oh, that transcendental sound — played by Juanes and Tom Morello, with Fher Olvera of the Mexican rock band Mana. They gave a spirited rendition of Santana’s “Oye Como Va,” providing the best direction (after “turn off mobile phones”) for an Honors tribute at which all five legends are musical: Listen to how this rhythm goes, they beckoned.

    Buddy Guy joined to play and sing “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” — a special moment for Santana, who considers Guy one of his idols; Santana went full-on fanboy, leading the standing ovation for Guy. The English rocker Steve Winwood joined the gang with percussionist Sheila E., performing the 1971 hit “Everybody’s Everything.”

    Then, for the evening’s first surprise: a glittering Supreme Court justice took the stage to honor . . . well, let’s allow Sonia Sotomayor to explain why she was here.

    “I’m here for the diva,” she said, before noting that Arroyo is no diva in the modern sense — just one of the few operatic sopranos who can truly sing the Italian spinto repertoire.

    The musical tribute to Arroyo celebrated the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth — and the opera that made her a star, “Aida.” Tenor Joseph Calleja sang “Celeste Aida” and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky serenaded the audience with “O Patria Mia.”

    Sotomayor was the first Supreme Court justice to toast an Honors groundbreaker — but why her? Well, Arroyo and Sotomayor are friends, Honors producer George Stevens Jr. said before the show, and this element of surprise is part of what makes the Honors special. Indeed, Stevens, working with son Michael, looks for unexpected pairings that will surprise a television audience — and the honoree.

    Oh, but this next surprise. Are you sure, Mr. Stevens?

    Ladies and gentlemen, Bill O’Reilly!

    For the jazz pianist and zen master Herbie Hancock?

    “I know — I’m surprised, too,” O’Reilly quipped to the shocked audience. Well, you can’t say the Kennedy Center Honors aren’t fair and balanced in their presenter choices.

    Noted O’Reilly: “I don’t hang with [Hancock]. . . . I don’t want to ruin his reputation.” But O’Reilly is a fan — the two met while appearing on “The Tonight Show” together — and they have a strong rapport, we were told. He was followed by more obvious appearances by Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea, who played “Walkin’ ” and “Watermelon Man.”

    Then came a man who needs no introduction, mainly because we’re still unsure of what to call him: Snoop Dogg . . . Lion?

    The center opted for calling the rapper Snoop Dogg, knowing that some donors in the audience would be confused enough already. But Mrs. Obama wasn’t, bobbing her head seconds into his appearance. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined in when Snoop told “the party people in the house” to put their hands up.

    Hancock’s influence on hip-hop is profound, with “Cantaloupe Island” serving as the sample of Us3’s 1993 hit “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia).” Snoop began that song — “Groovy, groovy jazzy funky pounce bounce” — and then slipped into an updated version of his “Gin and Juice.”

    Rolling down the street playing Her-bie.

    After a brief intermission came Mac­Laine’s tribute, which presented a daunting task: How do you find the right person to toast a woman who has been friends with everyone in Hollywood? The Honors chose Kathy Bates, whom MacLaine directed in the little-seen film “Bruno” and worked with on three other films. A visibly nervous Bates was the only presenter who took to roasting an honoree, playfully calling Mac­Laine the “inquisitive” sort of person who will talk to anyone.

    “You’ll talk to beings no one else but you can see,” said Bates, referring to MacLaine’s fascination with extraterrestrials.

    MacLaine made the tribute performance easier than usual, since it’s notoriously difficult to fete film actors onstage. Mac­Laine is also a skilled theater actress and dancer, and the tribute began with a montage of “The Pajama Game,” which kicked off MacLaine’s Broadway career in the 1950s; “Steam Heat” and Anna Kendrick’s “It’s Not Where You Start” from the Broadway show “Seesaw” also charmed.

    Next, several generations of singers — including Tony Bennett — saluted Joel. Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco sang Joel’s 1978 hit “Big Shot” (whoa-oh!) to a crowd that might not have picked up on the irony. And Don Henley sang “She’s Got a Way,” turning the wedding standard into a folksy ballad.

    Then, the best-selling living American solo artist — Garth Brooks — paid tribute to Joel, who places second in that sales race. Brooks sang twangy versions of “Only the Good Die Young” and “Allentown” (treating the audience to Joel’s “The Last Play at Shea” flashback). Brooks’s appearance also spotlighted how Joel’s lyrics can vacillate between musical theater and country anthems.

    What performance the Honors will save for last can be a talked-about question in this political town. But the producers chose wisely: A good portion of the 2,500-person audience would need the powder room to dry their eyes after a tear-inducing rendition of Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon.” When a parade of Vietnam veterans joined the haunting chorus of “And we will all go down together,” the night became less celebratory but infinitely more memorable.

    It could have ended there, but really, it couldn’t have. Someone had to come out and transform the Opera House into a sort of dingy dive bar. Rufus Wainwright performed — and Brooks, Bennett and Henley took us back to the ’70s with “Piano Man.”

    As usual, it sounded like a carnival.

    The Honors ceremony will be broadcast Dec. 29 on CBS.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Washington Post

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  • Transcript: President Obama At The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors

    “Herbie Hancock played his first concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was 11 years old.  Two years later, he heard a classmate play jazz piano at a variety show and thought, “That’s my instrument, and he can do that?  Why can’t I?”  It turned out he could.  (Laughter.)    By 23, Herbie was …

    “Herbie Hancock played his first concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was 11 years old.  Two years later, he heard a classmate play jazz piano at a variety show and thought, “That’s my instrument, and he can do that?  Why can’t I?”  It turned out he could.  (Laughter.) 
     
    By 23, Herbie was playing with Miles Davis in New York and on his way to becoming a jazz legend.  And he didn’t stop there.  In the seventies, he put his electrical engineering studies to work and helped create electronic music.  In the eighties, his hit “Rockit” became an anthem for a fledging new genre called hip-hop.  At one recent show, he played alongside an iMac and five iPads.  (Laughter.)  And a few years ago, he became the first jazz artist in 43 years to win a Grammy for best album.
     
    But what makes Herbie so special isn’t just how he approaches music; it’s how he approaches life.  He tours the world as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.  He’s done so many benefit concerts that Joni Mitchell once gave him a watch inscribed with the words:  “He played real good for free.”  (Laughter.)  And we know this because he’s played here for free a lot.  (Laughter and applause.)  We work Herbie, I’m telling you.  (Laughter.)
     
    But we just love the man.  Michelle and I love this man, not just because he’s from Chicago.  Not just because he and I had the same hairdo in the 1970s.  (Laughter.)  Not just because he’s got that spooky Dorian Gray doesn’t-get-older thing going on.  (Laughter.)  It is his spirit, it is his energy — which is relentless and challenging, and he’s always pushing boundaries.  Herbie once said of his outlook, “We’re going to see some unbelievable changes.  And I would rather be on the side of pushing for that than waiting for somebody else to do it.”
     
    Well, Herbie, we are glad that you didn’t wait for somebody else to do what you’ve done, because nobody else could.  For always pushing us forward, we honor Herbie Hancock.”  (Applause.)

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  • Video: President Obama Speaks at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Reception

    Click here to watch a video of President Obama speaking at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Reception, honoring Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, and Carlos Santana

    Click here to watch a video of President Obama speaking at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Reception, honoring Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, and Carlos Santana

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  • The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

    We’re very excited to announce “The Complete Columbia Albums Collection 1972-1988,” a deluxe 34-CD box set of Herbie’s complete catalog on Columbia Records and CBS/Sony Japan, which includes 8 albums never issued before outside of Japan. Click here to learn more.

    We’re very excited to announce “The Complete Columbia Albums Collection 1972-1988,” a deluxe 34-CD box set of Herbie’s complete catalog on Columbia Records and CBS/Sony Japan, which includes 8 albums never issued before outside of Japan. Click here to learn more.

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  • Happy 70th Birthday, Joni Mitchell!

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Joni performing ‘River’ on March 20, 2008

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Joni performing ‘River’ on March 20, 2008

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  • Herbie’s Statement on Kennedy Center Honors Selection

    “I was overwhelmed with emotion and, frankly, speechless when I was told that I was selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree. This is a most coveted award. To realize that my name will be among those whose outstanding work in the performing arts I most admire is very humbling. I only hope that my being …

    “I was overwhelmed with emotion and, frankly, speechless when I was told that I was selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree. This is a most coveted award. To realize that my name will be among those whose outstanding work in the performing arts I most admire is very humbling. I only hope that my being selected will be an encouragement to young people in, not only the genre of jazz, but in all the arts who strive for excellence in order to better serve the uplifting of the human spirit.”

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  • Video: George Duke, Herbie Hancock, and Ravi Shankar on Gandhi’s Favorite Song

    Ravi Shankar teaches George Duke and Herbie Hancock Gandhi’s favorite song. Performed live in Delhi with Chaka Khan, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Filmed in February of 2009 with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic trip to India.

    Ravi Shankar teaches George Duke and Herbie Hancock Gandhi’s favorite song. Performed live in Delhi with Chaka Khan, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Filmed in February of 2009 with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s historic trip to India.

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  • Herbie and Chick Corea Join Up for Umbria Jazz Festival

    Herbie will team up with fellow piano legend Chick Corea in Italy this week at the Umbria Jazz festival.

    This Friday, Herbie will perform a very special duo show with Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea at Umbria Jazz  in Perugia, Italy.

    The festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary – and Herbie and Chick are proud to …

    Herbie will team up with fellow piano legend Chick Corea in Italy this week at the Umbria Jazz festival.

    This Friday, Herbie will perform a very special duo show with Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea at Umbria Jazz  in Perugia, Italy.

    The festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary – and Herbie and Chick are proud to bring their 40+ year musical friendship to the stage.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Talks About Wayne Shorter’s Humanity and Buddhism

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie talking about Wayne Shorter’s humanity and Buddhism in an excerpt from the forthcoming documentary by Brave World Pictures.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie talking about Wayne Shorter’s humanity and Buddhism in an excerpt from the forthcoming documentary by Brave World Pictures.

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  • Herbie with Metropole Orchestra at North Sea Jazz

    Conductor Vince Mendoza leads the celebrated Metropole Orchestra in a much-anticipated stage collaboration with Herbie.

    The venue’s website adds this:

    In 2004, the Metropole Orkest played a truly surprising concert with the legendary Herbie Hancock in the famed music venue Paradiso in Amsterdam. It was a historic evening that was much talked about. Later, …

    Conductor Vince Mendoza leads the celebrated Metropole Orchestra in a much-anticipated stage collaboration with Herbie.

    The venue’s website adds this:

    In 2004, the Metropole Orkest played a truly surprising concert with the legendary Herbie Hancock in the famed music venue Paradiso in Amsterdam. It was a historic evening that was much talked about. Later, with leader-conductor Vince Mendoza, the top-class Dutch orchestra played with stars like Joshua Redman, Al Jarreau, Gregory Porter and Todd Rundgren. The Metropole Orkest is perfectly suited to breathing new life into Hancock’s compositions. Reason enough for the American pianist to be thrilled with their earlier shows. “This orchestra makes my songs more beautiful,” he commented afterwards.

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  • A Message From Herbie: Please Help Me Support Wayne Shorter’s Documentary

    Help preserve the legacy of a living jazz legend and my very good friend, Wayne Shorter, by supporting the production of Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity – A documentary.

    You can learn more about the campaign and the exclusive rewards available (including a private dinner with Wayne and myself) here

    Help preserve the legacy of a living jazz legend and my very good friend, Wayne Shorter, by supporting the production of Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity – A documentary.

    You can learn more about the campaign and the exclusive rewards available (including a private dinner with Wayne and myself) here

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  • 2013 International Jazz Day Webcast

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock speaking at the press conference for the Second Annual International Jazz Day in 2013

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock speaking at the press conference for the Second Annual International Jazz Day in 2013

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  • ‘The Imagine Project’ Now Available on Vinyl

    We’ve uncovered a treasure trove of special vinyl editions of “The Imagine Project.”

    You can purchase your copy today via Amazon and iTunes

    We’ve uncovered a treasure trove of special vinyl editions of “The Imagine Project.”

    You can purchase your copy today via Amazon and iTunes

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  • 2013 International Jazz Day Announcement

    Herbie Hancock will anchor this year’s International Jazz Day activities with a gala event to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on April 30th.

    This year marks the second annual iteration of the event, and will honor the jazz world’s historic ties to Turkey.

    Hancock told the AP that those ties trace back to Turkish Ambassador …

    Herbie Hancock will anchor this year’s International Jazz Day activities with a gala event to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on April 30th.

    This year marks the second annual iteration of the event, and will honor the jazz world’s historic ties to Turkey.

    Hancock told the AP that those ties trace back to Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Munir Ertegun, whose sons followed jazz music in the 30’s and 40’s.

    The family would invite musicians to their home, to the chagrin of some U.S. politicians who weren’t comfortable with mixed race visitors entering through the front door.

    As Hancock recalls, the ambassador would offer a terse one-sentence reply such as: “In my home, friends enter by the front door — however we can arrange for you to enter from the back.”

    One of the ambassador’s sons, Ahmet Ertegun, went on to launch Atlantic Records and play a major role in making black music available to wide audiences.

    The day’s events will culminate in an all-star concert at Istanbul’s oldest church and feature a lineup including Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, George Duke, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, Marcus Miller, Lee Ritenour, Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves.

    Several satellite events in other cities will also take place, and the main events will be streamed live online and taped for later broadcast.

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  • Herbie Hancock’s Statement On The Passing Of Dave Brubeck

    “Dave Brubeck was a pioneer, so many of us sprang from his incredibly creative and daring work. He even proved that a song with 5 beats in it and one with 9 beats in it could become popular, with Take 5 and Blue Rondo à la Turk. We were so lucky to have had him …

    “Dave Brubeck was a pioneer, so many of us sprang from his incredibly creative and daring work. He even proved that a song with 5 beats in it and one with 9 beats in it could become popular, with Take 5 and Blue Rondo à la Turk. We were so lucky to have had him for as long as we did and will never forget his musical gifts as a pianist and composer, his kindness, his generosity, and his smile.”

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock on Sesame Street, 1983

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie demonstrating the Fairlight CMI on Sesame Street with Quincy Jones in 1983

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie demonstrating the Fairlight CMI on Sesame Street with Quincy Jones in 1983

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  • Celebrating Peace At The Hollywood Bowl

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Creative Chair for Jazz devotes this one-of-a-kind evening to peace, with friends and very special guests – only at the Hollywood Bowl!

    ARTISTS

    Herbie Hancock Marcus Miller Wayne Shorter Cindy Blackman Santana Zakir Hussain Dave Holland Andy Vargas Kalil Wilson George Whitty Carlos Santana, special guest Gregoire Maret Quartet

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Creative Chair for Jazz devotes this one-of-a-kind evening to peace, with friends and very special guests – only at the Hollywood Bowl!

    ARTISTS

    Herbie Hancock
    Marcus Miller
    Wayne Shorter
    Cindy Blackman Santana
    Zakir Hussain
    Dave Holland
    Andy Vargas
    Kalil Wilson
    George Whitty
    Carlos Santana, special guest
    Gregoire Maret Quartet

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Amoeba Interview

    Jazz legend Herbie Hancock talks about his early musical influences at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Click here to watch the full interview via Amoeba

    Jazz legend Herbie Hancock talks about his early musical influences at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. Click here to watch the full interview via Amoeba

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  • Herbie Hancock Nominated for an Emmy Award

    Herbie is honored to be nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Special Class Program.

    The nomination is for his PBS special “Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.” The awards are announced on September 23rd.

    Herbie is honored to be nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Special Class Program.

    The nomination is for his PBS special “Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.” The awards are announced on September 23rd.

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  • Emmy Nomination

    Herbie is honored to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Special Class Program for his GREAT PERFORMANCES l PBS special “Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.”

    Herbie is honored to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Special Class Program for his GREAT PERFORMANCES l PBS special “Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.”

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  • Videos: GRAMMY™ Interview

    Herbie recently gave a wide-reaching and exclusive interview to Grammy.com, Herbie discusses his latest project, a foray into his classical music roots with superstar pianist Lang Lang; the spirit of discovery that put him on the GRAMMY radar in 1983 and the huge success of his “River: The Joni Letters” release, which nabbed an Album …

    Herbie recently gave a wide-reaching and exclusive interview to Grammy.com, Herbie discusses his latest project, a foray into his classical music roots with superstar pianist Lang Lang; the spirit of discovery that put him on the GRAMMY radar in 1983 and the huge success of his “River: The Joni Letters” release, which nabbed an Album Of The Year honor in 2008.

    Video 1: ‘Business vs. Creative’

    Video 2: Career Success / Longevity

    Video 3: Current Projects

    Video 4: First GRAMMY win

    Video 5: Music Education

    Video 6: GRAMMY Win That Stands Out

    “I think people have learned that Herbie Hancock can be defined as someone that you won’t be able to figure out what he’s going to do next,” says Herbie Hancock. “The sky is the limit as far as I’m concerned.”

    These are inspirational words from the 14-time GRAMMY-winning icon, whose music has spanned more than 50 years and crisscrossed jazz, R&B, classical, hip-hop, and pop. In an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, Hancock reflects on his career longevity, GRAMMY-winning success, his creative philosophies, and projects that are on the horizon.

    In 1963 Hancock received national attention when his song “Watermelon Man” became a Top 10 hit for Mongo Santamaria and he earned a coveted seat playing piano in Miles Davis’ jazz quintet. He recorded several albums for Blue Note Records throughout the ’60s, including 1965’s Maiden Voyage, which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. Fittingly, Hancock received his first GRAMMY nomination in 1968 for “Miles In The Sky” for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance — Small Group Or Soloist With Small Group, a collaboration with Davis.

    With albums such as 1973’s Head Hunters, Hancock began to experiment by marrying jazz with electronic, fusion and funk elements. The landmark album, which has also been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, marked a career-defining change.

    “A big challenge happened to me back in 1973 when I did the Head Hunters album,” says Hancock. “I learned a lesson because I really believed in what I was doing, and I had no idea I was creating something brand-new. I decided to take on the challenge of possibly losing the audience that I already had. But I felt really strongly that I needed to do that. It actually worked [because] the record was a huge smash.”

    In another expansion of his musical boundaries, Hancock collaborated with bassist/producer Bill Laswell on 1983’s hip-hop influenced Future Shock. Also featuring turntablist Grand Mixter DXT (then known as Grand Mixer D. ST), the album yielded the smash “Rockit,” which earned Hancock his first career GRAMMY for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

    “My first GRAMMY wasn’t even in a jazz category, but of course I was really excited,” says Hancock. “‘Rockit’ was the beginning of kind of a new era for the whole hip-hop movement. I was just fortunate [to be] in the right place at the right time with the right people to put that together.”

    Most recently, in 2010 he collected GRAMMYs for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals and Best Improvised Jazz Solo for The Imagine Project, an album recorded in different locations throughout the world and featuring collaborations with Jeff Beck, John Legend, Dave Matthews, and Oumou Sangaré, among others. But Hancock cites his win for Album Of The Year for 2007’s River: The Joni Letters, an homage to Joni Mitchell, as his proudest GRAMMY moment.

    “The Album Of The Year that I got in 2008, that was huge to me,” says Hancock. “When I got the Album Of The Year, I pushed the Oscar back and put the Album Of The Year GRAMMY in front of that one.”

    Both River: The Joni Letters and The Imagine Project are the latest examples of Hancock’s evolution as an artist and his belief in community. Throughout his explorations, Hancock maintains a healthy inner dialog.

    “Basically what I’ve discovered is that if you continue to have the courage to do what you believe in and have the scope to be open and reinvent yourself,” says Hancock.

    Inspired by his classical roots, Hancock is currently plotting his latest reinvention: a collaborative project with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang, with whom Hancock teamed to perform a rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” at the 50th GRAMMY Awards in 2008.

    “Recently I started picking up the classical music roots that I had when I was a kid … studying Mozart, Bach and Chopin,” says Hancock.”[Lang Lang] and I are working on a new record together. He wants to do a crossover record where there are some collaborations with pop artists. So we are starting to put that together.”

    Additionally, Hancock’s future course will also include another global collaboration, with this particular project designed to celebrate hip-hop music.

    “The other thing I am interested in doing is a global hip-hop/electronic record,” continues Hancock. “Hip-hop is all over the planet. … I’m still thinking about this global presentation [and] pushing that envelope.”

    Click here for the original source article via GRAMMY.com

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  • Video: Herbie and Lang Lang in Berlin

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Lang Lang performing together live in Berlin – June, 2012

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Lang Lang performing together live in Berlin – June, 2012

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  • Video: Opening Speech, First International Jazz Day

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock’s opening speech at the First International Jazz Day

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock’s opening speech at the First International Jazz Day

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  • First International Jazz Day

    As UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Herbie Hancock will oversee the launch of the first International Jazz Day on Friday, April 27th with a special performance in Paris, France.

    Herbie will be joined by a wide range of international musical guests, including Tania Maria, Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater and many more. …

    As UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Herbie Hancock will oversee the launch of the first International Jazz Day on Friday, April 27th with a special performance in Paris, France.

    Herbie will be joined by a wide range of international musical guests, including Tania Maria, Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater and many more.

    The event, along with shows on April 30th in New Orleans and New York, will be streamed live for citizens worldwide to participate.

    We are proud to launch http://JazzDay.com/ which will host a live stream of the three flagship performances of International Jazz Day.

    To keep up to date on all the Jazz Day events, visit JazzDay.com, like International Jazz Day on Facebook, or follow @IntlJazzDay on Twitter.

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  • Video: Sunrise Concert, International Jazz Day

    Click here to watch the full concert from Congo Square, New Orleans on April 30th, 2012.

    On April 30, 2012, in celebration of the first International Jazz Day, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented this sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz.

    Click here to watch the full concert from Congo Square, New Orleans on April 30th, 2012.

    On April 30, 2012, in celebration of the first International Jazz Day, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented this sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz.

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  • Interview: First International Jazz Day

    Have you started your International Jazz Day shopping yet?

    A global collaboration among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Herbie Hancock and the Thelonious Monk Institute, the first International Jazz Day is scheduled for Monday. Envisioned as a day of education and performance, the celebration actually begins Friday with a concert in …

    Have you started your International Jazz Day shopping yet?

    A global collaboration among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Herbie Hancock and the Thelonious Monk Institute, the first International Jazz Day is scheduled for Monday. Envisioned as a day of education and performance, the celebration actually begins Friday with a concert in Paris that features jazz luminaries such as Hancock, Hugh Masekela and Terri Lyne Carrington.

    The day itself aims to deliver 24 hours of jazz around the world, including in Los Angeles with a jazz session at Herb Alpert’s club Vibrato in Bel-Air on Monday night featuring a variety of local artists, including Anthony Wilson, Bob Sheppard and Peter Erskine.

    The day begins with a sunrise concert at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and closes at sunset with another all-star show at the U.N. General Assembly Hall. Both shows will feature the day’s mastermind, Hancock, who is also the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s creative chair for jazz.

    How did International Jazz Day come together?

    Last year I was appointed goodwill ambassador to UNESCO, and the first proposal that I made was for UNESCO to establish an international jazz day. And it was unanimously approved by all 195 member nations. They were very excited about it; it went through without a hitch. And there are a lot of jazz fans who are ambassadors to UNESCO too, by the way. One guy who’s the ambassador from Sri Lanka? Huge jazz fan. And you think, Sri Lanka, how’s that possible?

    What made you feel that now was the time for an international jazz day?

    Actually, it’s an annual event, this is just the first. April 30 from now on will be International Jazz Day; this is serious. I guess you could compare it to a holiday — a day of celebration that will be an annual recognition of jazz as an international music, of course born in America.

    One of the goals listed for the day was to emphasize the cultural exchange with the music around the world. But what is it about jazz that makes it especially well suited to that?

    Well, look at the history of jazz and the role that it played in instilling hope for freedom during the second World War. In a film I was involved in, “‘Round Midnight,” one of the main characters was this Frenchman who had gone to war, and jazz was the music that saved him. What happened was he went AWOL, and his whole troop got wiped out, but he’s alive because he left. And he attributes jazz to saving his life…. People feel the freedom in the music.

    As you think about the day, what do you hope is gained as of May 1? Is it about gaining new fans or galvanizing existing ones?

    First of all, just the recognition by the planet that jazz is a music to celebrate. That it’s a great music to recognize as being truly international and truly a positive diplomatic force because of its cultural contributions.

    Does jazz seem as healthy as ever right now?

    It is, in the most important ways. I’m seeing so many young people that are involved with jazz, with jazz bands either in their high school or some other organization. They’re popping up everywhere. Teenagers, already improvising. It’s not going away. We may not hear it that much on the radio or see it that much on television, but it’s happening. It’s absolutely happening. And judging from what I’ve heard from the creative output of some of these young people, the future looks very bright for jazz.

    There’s an incredible number of people playing in New York, New Orleans and Paris — how did you pull people together for that?

    It was through the work of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz because I’ve been involved with that from the beginning, but also the president, Tom Carter, who has produced various shows in the past for the institute. We were so thrilled that the U.N. agreed to having the space there to host the event … it really is an historic event.

    You’re performing two shows in one day, one in New Orleans and the other in New York City. Have you ever done anything like that before?

    I don’t think so.

    You’re going to be a busy man.

    Oh, yeah. (Laughs) So what else is new?

    Click here to read the original source article via the Los Angeles Times

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  • Herbie To Release First Memoir in 2014

    Viking has acquired the right to release Herbie Hancock’s memoirs in a book deal that will see the book released in the fall of 2014.

    “We are proud to have as distinguished and articulate a musician as Herbie Hancock join Viking’s music list, ” said Clare Ferraro, president of Viking. “There are few artists in …

    Viking has acquired the right to release Herbie Hancock’s memoirs in a book deal that will see the book released in the fall of 2014.

    “We are proud to have as distinguished and articulate a musician as Herbie Hancock join Viking’s music list, ” said Clare Ferraro, president of Viking. “There are few artists in any genre who have had a career as rich and influential as Mr. Hancock’s, and his memoir promises to be not only the record of a remarkable life and career but a singular chronicle of one of the most fertile periods in the development of jazz.”

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  • Herbie Hancock Launches International Jazz Day

    The renowned jazz pianist’s first major initiative since being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador last July is to establish International Jazz Day to be held on April 30 of every year.

    This year’s inaugural event – organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which …

    The renowned jazz pianist’s first major initiative since being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador last July is to establish International Jazz Day to be held on April 30 of every year.

    This year’s inaugural event – organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs – will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York as well as jazz-related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay. Hancock said he had little difficulty lining up support for his proposal from the 195-member U.N. cultural organization “because so many countries have been affected in crucial ways over the years by the presence of jazz.” “Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century,” Hancock said in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday’s official announcement of International Jazz Day.

    “This is really about the international diplomatic aspect of jazz and how it has throughout a major part of its history been a major force in bringing people of various countries and cultures together.”

    UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the initiative. In a statement, she said International Jazz Day is intended to bring together people all over the world “to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact, and to highlight its important role as a means of communication that transcends differences.”

    The official kick-off will be on April 27 with an all-day program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master classes, roundtable discussions and improvisational workshops. An evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, South Africa’s Hugh Masekela and Brazil’s Tania Maria, among others.

    Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, which comes right after the first weekend of the city’s Jazz and Heritage Festival.

    The concert will present local jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Kermit Ruffins and the Treme Brass Brand. Hancock plans to perform his funky standard “Watermelon Man” with high school students from around the world via an Internet link.

    He then will fly to New York for a sunset all-star jazz concert for the international diplomatic corps at the U.N. General Assembly Hall to be hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones. The concert will be streamed live via the U.N. and UNESCO websites.

    Its lineup already includes Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath. The Americans will be joined by an international cast of musicians spanning different genres, including Richard Bona (Cameroon), Hiromi Uehara (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), and Romero Lubambo (Brazil).

    Hancock sees his latest initiative as an extension of his 2010 CD, the double Grammy-winning “The Imagine Project,” a globe-trotting, genre-mixing effort that featured a United Nations of pop and world music stars from 10 countries.

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  • International Jazz Day Statement

    “UNESCO unanimously agreed to designate April 30 as International Jazz Day to celebrate jazz music as a rich cultural heritage, a product of cultural collaboration, and a universal language of tolerance and freedom.” – Herbie Hancock

    “UNESCO unanimously agreed to designate April 30 as International Jazz Day to celebrate jazz music as a rich cultural heritage, a product of cultural collaboration, and a universal language of tolerance and freedom.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Video: Chameleon Debut at CES

    Herbie Hancock performs in a special crowd-sourced video featuring footage from Canon’s 7D and 5D MK II cameras.

    Click here to watch the video From Canon:

    The crowd-sourced video features the music of legendary jazz great, Herbie Hancock and his now-classic hit, “Chameleon.” The song was written in collaboration with Bennie Maupin, …

    Herbie Hancock performs in a special crowd-sourced video featuring footage from Canon’s 7D and 5D MK II cameras.

    Click here to watch the video
    From Canon:

    The crowd-sourced video features the music of legendary jazz great, Herbie Hancock and his now-classic hit, “Chameleon.” The song was written in collaboration with Bennie Maupin, Paul Jackson and Harvey Mason and was originally performed in the 1973 album “Head Hunters” released by Columbia Records.

    “Chameleon” has become one of the world’s most recognized jazz melodies, and combined with breathtaking imagery from Canon, has resulted in a work that may just offer some of the most entertaining few minutes you can spend on the CES show floor.

    Over 1,800 hi-res images were taken by attendees at Canon’s “Legends in Imaging” concert in October of 2011 with the Canon EOS7D and EOS 5D Mark 11 cameras. Hancock performed at the event and Canon took the images shot by their guests, printed them with the Pixma Pro-1 professional printer and edited them in post using time-lapse and traditional stop-motion film techniques.

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  • Herbie Celebrates Gershwin on PBS’ Great Performances

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and Creative Chair for Jazz Herbie Hancock launched the LA Phil’s 2011/12 season with a sparkling George Gershwin gala.

    Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin, featuring that classic piece as well as “An American in Paris” and Hancock’s unique improvisation on the great standard …

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and Creative Chair for Jazz Herbie Hancock launched the LA Phil’s 2011/12 season with a sparkling George Gershwin gala.

    Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin, featuring that classic piece as well as “An American in Paris” and Hancock’s unique improvisation on the great standard “Someone to Watch Over Me,” airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, January 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel And The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin

    Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil in George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” in the performance recorded for Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel and The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.

    Click here to watch the video via PBS

    Gustavo Dudamel conducts the LA Phil in George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” in the performance recorded for Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Dudamel and The LA Phil Celebrate Gershwin.

    Click here to watch the video via PBS

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  • Herbie to Perform at 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest

    Herbie and his band will be playing during the second weekend of New Orleans Jazz Fest (May 3-6).

    We have also recently announced a series of twelve shows this March, a few of which have VIP packages available, you can check out the full list on the Tour page.

    Herbie and his band will be playing during the second weekend of New Orleans Jazz Fest (May 3-6).

    We have also recently announced a series of twelve shows this March, a few of which have VIP packages available, you can check out the full list on the Tour page.

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  • Sting 25 App Now Available in the App Store

    The “Sting 25” app is now available for (free) download in the iTunes store. It includes a performance of Sting and Herbie’s collaboration of “Consider Me Gone” from Sting’s Birthday show at the Beacon Theatre on October 1st.

    Click here to explore in the App Store.

    The “Sting 25” app is now available for (free) download in the iTunes store. It includes a performance of Sting and Herbie’s collaboration of “Consider Me Gone” from Sting’s Birthday show at the Beacon Theatre on October 1st.

    Click here to explore in the App Store.

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  • Video: Herbie on PBS Newshour

    Jeffrey Brown catches up with music legend Herbie Hancock, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year and is touring in support of his latest album “The Imagine Project.”

    Click here to watch the full video

    JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight: A jazz legend embraces a world of music. Jeffrey Brown has our report.

    Jeffrey Brown catches up with music legend Herbie Hancock, who celebrated his 70th birthday earlier this year and is touring in support of his latest album “The Imagine Project.”

    Click here to watch the full video

    JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight: A jazz legend embraces a world of music. Jeffrey Brown has our report.

    JEFFREY BROWN: There’s this Herbie Hancock, composer and performer of numerous jazz standards, and there’s this Herbie Hancock, an electric keyboard slung over his shoulder for one of his fusion hits.

    But don’t try this “tale of two Herbies” theme on the man himself.

    HERBIE HANCOCK, musician:I’m the same guy.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HERBIE HANCOCK: I just express myself in any way I feel is appropriate at the moment. I don’t wear the same clothes every day, you know? Actually, in a way, I do.

    (LAUGHTER)

    JEFFREY BROWN: Now 70, Hancock recently performed at a star-studded concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles that celebrated his birthday, his life in music, and his most recent endeavor, “The Imagine Project,” an ambitious album recorded with more than 60 artists in seven different countries, an attempt, he says, to have music make people think in a new way about globalization.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: The idea was a very lofty idea.

    JEFFREY BROWN: It was a great idea, but then you had to go make it happen.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: Yes, right.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HERBIE HANCOCK: That was a lot harder.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Hancock traveled the world to work with leading musicians of disparate styles, including sitar player Anoushka Shankar in India, the Chieftains in Ireland, and Colombian Latin music star Juanes.

    When we talked at his Los Angeles home recently, Hancock said he wanted to show that musical collaboration can help people think about ways to deal with global problems.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: As a human being, I’m concerned about the world that I live in.So, I’m concerned about peace.I’m concerned about — about man’s inhumanity to man.I’m concerned about the environment.

    I don’t go around, the way many musicians do, with earbuds in my ear listening to my iPod all day and just sticking my head in the music all the time.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Herbie Hancock’s own musical journey began as a boy in Chicago.Classically trained, he was good enough to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at a youth concert at age 11.

    Turning to jazz, Hancock gained sudden and international fame in his early 20s with his first great collaborator and mentor, Miles Davis.An early lesson came at a concert in Europe.At first, Hancock says, everything was going right.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: We had the audience in the palm of our hands. And right as everything was really peaking, and Miles was soloing, I played this chord, and it was completely wrong.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HERBIE HANCOCK: And Miles took a breath and then played some notes, and the notes made my chord right.

    JEFFREY BROWN: The notes made your chord right?

    HERBIE HANCOCK: Yes.Somehow, what he chose to play fit my chords to the structure of the music.

    JEFFREY BROWN: And what did you learn from that?

    HERBIE HANCOCK: What I learned from that is that Miles didn’t hear the chord as being wrong.He just heard it as something new that happened.So, he didn’t judge it.I learned the importance of being nonjudgmental, taking what happens and trying to make it work.That’s something you should apply to life, too.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, how did you learn to use that to make your own individual voice?

    HERBIE HANCOCK: If you’re not judging what happens, then you’re trusting what they’re doing, what you’re playing, and trusting what you’re playing.And it can lead you to other ideas, to something maybe you hadn’t expressed before.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In the 1970s and ’80s, Hancock stretched the bounds of jazz perhaps more than any other musician of his time and reached crossover popular success with his electrified fusion sound.Some purists — he calls them the jazz police — thought he had gone too far.But the broader public loved it, and so did Hancock, who nowadays plays with some of his technological toys in his basement recording studio.

    You love the technology, huh?

    HERBIE HANCOCK: I was an engineering major in college for two years.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Is that right?

    HERBIE HANCOCK: Yes. So, when synthesizers came along…

    JEFFREY BROWN: You were ready.You were ready.

    (LAUGHTER)

    HERBIE HANCOCK: Yes.It was like the best of both worlds for me, which is acoustic instruments and — and, well, music and science.

    JEFFREY BROWN: In the years since, Hancock has released recordings and performed with groups that go back and forth between acoustic and electronic sounds, and that often bridge jazz and popular music, as with his 2008 disk, “River,” which reinterpreted the music of Joni Mitchell.It was the surprise winner of a Grammy for album of the year.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: We should keep looking at finding ways to combine, because, I mean, how do you make different colors?You make different colors by combining those colors that already exist.

    You know, to me, that’s what makes the world interesting.That’s what makes the world continue to evolve.To me, it’s part of an overview that I hold close to my heart.

    JEFFREY BROWN: But it’s based on all that preparation that you have and the training, which started as a kid, right, with classical music.

    HERBIE HANCOCK: Yes.And, also, it takes a lot of focus.Doing this musically takes a lot of concentration and being willing to be naked, in a way, being vulnerable.That’s the best place to be in playing jazz and in improvising and reinterpreting.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Herbie Hancock is finding that place, as he continues his world tour with “The Imagine Project” and enjoys a yearlong 70th birthday celebration.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    This week’s episode examines how cultural diplomacy can be one of the most effective tools for international relations, despite often being downplayed in favor of displays of hard power. We meet jazz legend Herbie Hancock and basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Click here to watch the full video

    Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill …

    This week’s episode examines how cultural diplomacy can be one of the most effective tools for international relations, despite often being downplayed in favor of displays of hard power. We meet jazz legend Herbie Hancock and basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Click here to watch the full video

    Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2011 for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, which put him on the world stage to spread messages of peace and unity. Hancock is not only a jazz icon, but, as the chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a mentor to the next generation of jazz greats.

    Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA’s scoring record with an impressive 38,387 career points. For Kareem, it’s no longer about winning the game, but rather about applying the values he learned on the court to the next chapter in his life — and sharing those lessons with the world through his role as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador.

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  • Video: ‘Herbie Hancock: All That’s Jazz’

    Watch the video replay of KCET’s “Herbie Hancock: All That Jazz” here at HerbieHancock.com

    Click here to watch the video

    As described by KCET:

    “In a special episode, SoCal Connected correspondent Michael Okwu gains unprecedented access to jazz great Herbie Hancock, at home and on-stage.

    The legendary 14-time Grammy winner opens …

    Watch the video replay of KCET’s “Herbie Hancock: All That Jazz” here at HerbieHancock.com

    Click here to watch the video

    As described by KCET:

    “In a special episode, SoCal Connected correspondent Michael Okwu gains unprecedented access to jazz great Herbie Hancock, at home and on-stage.

    The legendary 14-time Grammy winner opens up about his life, history, and accomplishments from over half a century of music-making with some of the jazz world’s greatest artists. This special half-hour features amazing performances and never-before-seen footage of Hancock. It also includes interviews with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, and Los Angeles Times jazz critic, Chris Barton.

    SoCal Connected takes you on a journey from the origins of Hancock’s career as a musical prodigy with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis—to his days recording hit songs for commercials and TV—to his current role spearheading jazz programs for the L.A. Philharmonic & Hollywood Bowl with renowned composer Gustavo Dudamel.”

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  • Possibilities Achieves Gold Certification for Over 500,000 Copies Sold

    ‘Possibilities’ features an all-star set of singers and instrumentalists, including John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Sting and Paul Simon performing a mix of new compositions and standards.

    The album received GRAMMY nominations in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category for Herbie’s performance with Christina Aguilera on “A Song For You” and in …

    ‘Possibilities’ features an all-star set of singers and instrumentalists, including John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Sting and Paul Simon performing a mix of new compositions and standards.

    The album received GRAMMY nominations in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category for Herbie’s performance with Christina Aguilera on “A Song For You” and in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category for Herbie’s original composition with Trey Anastasio on “Gelo na Montanha.” “Possibilities” is the fourth Herbie Hancock album to achieve a Gold sales milestone.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Interview on PBS’ Tavis Smiley

    The award-winning jazz great discusses his first-ever solo tour and reflects on the key to a great performance. A modern music icon, Herbie Hancock played with the jazz greats and went on to become an Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician-composer. The Chicago native took up piano at age 7 and, classically trained, was performing Mozart with …

    The award-winning jazz great discusses his first-ever solo tour and reflects on the key to a great performance. A modern music icon, Herbie Hancock played with the jazz greats and went on to become an Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician-composer. The Chicago native took up piano at age 7 and, classically trained, was performing Mozart with symphony orchestras by age 11. He’s scored a number of films and is involved in several educational endeavors, including the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Hancock is the L.A. Philharmonic’s creative chair for jazz and UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. This fall, he embarks on his first ever solo tour.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock on the Tavis Smiley Show, broadcast August 29th, 2011, via WNET

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  • Herbie Hancock to Embark on First-Ever Solo Tour

    Following his appointment as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Herbie will bring the milestones of his storied career to audiences in his first solo tour.

    Kicking off this Fall’s ambitious schedule is the much-anticipated opening night gala of the Los Angeles Philharmonic pairing Hancock with conductor Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Hall.

    Hancock will then set …

    Following his appointment as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Herbie will bring the milestones of his storied career to audiences in his first solo tour.

    Kicking off this Fall’s ambitious schedule is the much-anticipated opening night gala of the Los Angeles Philharmonic pairing Hancock with conductor Gustavo Dudamel at Walt Disney Hall.

    Hancock will then set out on his first ever solo tour, which will see the artist explore his catalog alone on stage, accompanied only by his arsenal of keyboards and his signature Fazioli Grand piano.

    Hancock will re-arrange and reinterpret his contributions to the canon of modern jazz, funk and electronic music for an evening of unprecedented virtuosity.

    A trio of cities, Calgary, Portland and Seattle, will see Hancock revisit George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in collaboration with their local symphony orchestras.

    HERBIE HANCOCK 2011 TOUR DATES

    9.17.11 Monterey, CA, Monterey Jazz Festival*
    9.18.11 Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center*
    9.20.11 Chico, CA, Laxson Auditorium*
    9.21.11 Berkeley, CA, Zellerbach Hall*
    9.23.11 San Diego, CA Balboa Theater*
    9.27.11 Los Angeles, CA, Disney Hall w/ LA Philharmonic
    10.7.11 Akron, OH, E.J. Thomas Theatre#
    10.8.11 Philadelphia, PA, Verizon Hall#
    10.9.11 Newport News, VA, Ferguson Center for the Arts#
    10.28.11 Minneapolis, MN, Orchestra Hall#
    10.29.11 Naperville, IL, Wentz Concert Hall#
    10.30.11 Lawrence, KS, Lied Center of Kansas#
    10.31.11 Dallas, TX, Meyerson Symphony Center#
    11.9.11 Calgary, ALB, Jack Singer Concert Hall w/ Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra
    11.11.11 Portland, OR, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall w/ Oregon Symphony
    11.18.11 Seattle, WA, Benaroya Hall w/ Seattle Symphony)

    * w/ Lionel Loueke, James Genus, and Vinnie Colaiuta
    # Solo Concert

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie at the UNESCO headquarters

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie at the UNESCO headquarters

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  • The Herbie Hancock VIP Experience

    Introducing the Herbie Hancock VIP Experience.

    On select upcoming dates, a limited number of VIP packages will be available, which include: VIP laminate with seat in the first 10 rows, limited edition signed poster, and a post-show reception including a meet and greet with Herbie. Visit our tour page for more details and newly announced …

    Introducing the Herbie Hancock VIP Experience.

    On select upcoming dates, a limited number of VIP packages will be available, which include: VIP laminate with seat in the first 10 rows, limited edition signed poster, and a post-show reception including a meet and greet with Herbie. Visit our tour page for more details and newly announced dates.

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  • Summer and Fall North American Tour Dates Announced

    Herbie Hancock will return to North America in the summer for a series of West Coast shows, with The Herbie Hancock VIP Experience package offered for select shows.

    Herbie Hancock will return to North America in the summer for a series of West Coast shows featuring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus and guitarist Lionel …

    Herbie Hancock will return to North America in the summer for a series of West Coast shows, with The Herbie Hancock VIP Experience package offered for select shows.

    Herbie Hancock will return to North America in the summer for a series of West Coast shows featuring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus and guitarist Lionel Loueke. The quartet tour will kick off September 17th at the Monterey Jazz Festival in northern California, then move on to Santa Rosa, Chico, Berkeley and San Diego.

    The Herbie Hancock VIP Experience package will be offered for select shows on this west coast run, including VIP laminate with a seat in the first 10 rows, limited edition signed poster, and a post-show reception including a meet and greet with Herbie.

    From there, Herbie will perform with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a special performance at Disney Hall conducted by Gustavo Dudamel for the opening night gala of the Philharmonic’s 2011 season.

    Finally, Herbie will wrap up the year by performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” accompanied by symphony orchestras in Calgary, Portland and Seattle.

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  • Herbie Hancock Named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

    UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will designate American jazz musician Herbie Hancock as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on July 22nd.

    PARIS, June 30 – UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will designate American jazz musician Herbie Hancock as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 22 …

    UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will designate American jazz musician Herbie Hancock as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on July 22nd.

    PARIS, June 30 – UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will designate American jazz musician Herbie Hancock as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 22 July. Recognizing Herbie Hancock’s “dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts,” the Director-General has asked the celebrated jazz musician “to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to promote mutual understanding among cultures, with a particular emphasis on fostering the emergence of new and creative ideas amongst youth, to find solutions to global problems, as well as on ensuring equal access to the diversity of artistic expressions.”

    Now in the fifth decade of his Professional life, with an Academy Award for his film score to Round Midnight and 14 Grammy Awards, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: in the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960’s. From his tenure as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet to the record-breaking « Headhunters » to the electronic dance music sounds of « Rockit » and « Future Shock, » Hancock has continuously pioneered a groundbreaking, more expansive sound and direction in all genres of music. Many of his compositions, including “Canteloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage,” “Watermelon Man” and “Chameleon,” are modern standards.

    Herbie Hancock also maintains a thriving career outside the performing stage and recording studio. He is the Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the foremost international organization devoted to the development of jazz performance and education worldwide. He is also a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP). Hancock was recently given the “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon – the internationally esteemed Arts Award.

    UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously accepted to use their talent and status to help focus the world’s attention on the objectives and aims of UNESCO’s work in its fields of competence: education, culture, science and communication/information.

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  • Herbie Hancock Statement on the Passing of Korg Founder Tsutomu Katoh

    “My deepest admiration for contributions to life through music created by Mr. Katoh. His innovations and the spirit behind them have made a major impression on shaping music for nearly five decades. My sincere condolences to his family and co-workers at Korg for this tremendous loss of a great technology giant and friend. We will …

    “My deepest admiration for contributions to life through music created by Mr. Katoh. His innovations and the spirit behind them have made a major impression on shaping music for nearly five decades. My sincere condolences to his family and co-workers at Korg for this tremendous loss of a great technology giant and friend. We will all miss him, but the influence of his genius will continue for many many years to come.” – Herbie

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock on BET Honors

    Herbie receives the Musical Arts award at BET Honors.

    Click here to watch the video via BET

    Herbie receives the Musical Arts award at BET Honors.

    Click here to watch the video via BET

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  • Video: Herbie Accepts The BET Musical Arts Award

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie accepting the BET Musical Arts Award

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie accepting the BET Musical Arts Award

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  • Herbie Hancock Reaction To Grammy Wins

    “Just took home the Grammy for best improvised jazz solo. Honored to accept amongst such wonderful company.”

    “Whoa. Thrilled to be given the award for Best Pop Gollaboration w/ Vox for ‘Imagine’” – Herbie Hancock

    “Just took home the Grammy for best improvised jazz solo. Honored to accept amongst such wonderful company.”

    “Whoa. Thrilled to be given the award for Best Pop Gollaboration w/ Vox for ‘Imagine'” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Herbie Hancock Wins Two Grammys for ‘The Imagine Project’

    Congratulations to Herbie Hancock on his GRAMMY awards in the categories of ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ and ‘Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.’

    Herbie picked up the ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ award for his solo on the song “A Change Is Gonna Come” from The Imagine Project, while the title song, “Imagine,” was awarded ‘Best Pop …

    Congratulations to Herbie Hancock on his GRAMMY awards in the categories of ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ and ‘Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.’

    Herbie picked up the ‘Best Improvised Jazz Solo’ award for his solo on the song “A Change Is Gonna Come” from The Imagine Project, while the title song, “Imagine,” was awarded ‘Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.’ “A Change Is Gonna Come” features vocals from James Morrison and “Imagine” features vocals from India Arie, Pink, Seal and guitar work from Jeff Beck.

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  • Dazzling Array Of Stars To Light Up Stand Up To Cancer Broadcast

    Herbie Hancock, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Rene Zellweger and More Join Landmark One-Hour Event.

    SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 / LA & NYC – The extraordinary line-up of actors, musicians, athletes and journalists participating in the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) primetime roadblock television fundraising event (September 10, 2010, at 8PM EST & …

    Herbie Hancock, George Clooney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Rene Zellweger and More Join Landmark One-Hour Event.

    SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 / LA & NYC – The extraordinary line-up of actors, musicians, athletes and journalists participating in the Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) primetime roadblock television fundraising event (September 10, 2010, at 8PM EST & PST / 7PM CT) continues to grow. The following supporters have now joined the broadcast: Elizabeth Banks, Kathy Bates, Sir Richard Branson, Michael Chiklis, George Clooney, Bill Hader, Dorothy Hamill, Anne Heche, Cheryl Hines, Vanessa Hudgens, John Krasinski, Dr. Jon Lapook, Rob Lowe, Marlee Matlin, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Lisa Niemi, Chris O’Donnell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Passmore, Naya Rivera, Will Smith, Sam Trammell, Denzel Washington, Aaron Yoo and Renée Zellweger.

    Musical guests scheduled to perform include: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Neil Diamond, Jakob Dylan, The Edge, Delta Goodrem, Herbie Hancock, Kris Kristofferson, Lady Antebellum, Leona Lewis, Orianthi and Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart. These artists join previously announced performers including Natasha Bedingfield, Queen Latifah, Martina McBride, Aaron Neville, Dave Stewart and Stevie Wonder.

    The Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) telecast will raise funds that will accelerate innovative cancer research. The live, one-hour fundraising event will be simulcast commercial-free on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Bio, Current TV, Discovery Health, E!, G4, HBO, HBO Latino, MLB Network, mun2, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, The Style Network, TV One and VH1 and hosted by network news anchors Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams. The broadcast will air in 195 countries, as well as on the Armed Forces Network.

    “Plain and simple, cancer takes too much from us,” said Laura Ziskin, SU2C co-founder and executive producer of the September 10th broadcast, who is a cancer survivor. “Loved ones lost to it, pain and suffering endured by those in treatment, even the recent report that cancer has the most devastating economic impact of any cause of death…this disease exacts a very high price. We want people all over the country to rise up and say, ‘ENOUGH!’

    “Tune in on Sept. 10th to see your favorite stars, who’ll ask, ‘Will you stand up with us?’ Person by person, saying ‘yes’ moves us toward a goal completely within our grasp: a world without cancer. A donation of any size brings scientists one step closer to a cure,” Ziskin said.

    Cat Deeley of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance will host the pre-show promotion to kickoff the evening as the celebrity phone bank opens at 4:30 PM PST. A 30 minute online “after hours” extended play featuring jams with musical guests Fitz and the Tantrums, Orianthi, Natasha Bedingfield, and Heart will conclude the night’s events. The pre-show promotion and extended play will be featured on numerous online portals and destination sites (which will all also stream the one hour special online) including: ABC, ABC News, AOL, Bing, CBS, CBS News, Crackle, Discovery Health, E! Online, FOX, G4, Hulu, Livestream, MLB Network, MSN, mun2, NBC, Style Network, TV Guide, TV One, Ustream, VEVO, VH1, Wonderwall.MSN.com, omg.yahoo.com, and YouTube.

    Previously announced participants in the September 10th special include: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tatyana Ali, Dave Annable, Christina Applegate, Lance Armstrong, David Boreanaz, Abigail Breslin, Cindy Crawford, Fran Drescher, Elizabeth Edwards, Donald Faison, Sally Field, Derek Fisher, Michael C. Hall, Alyson Hannigan, Tony Hawk, Jon Heder, Marg Helgenberger, Terrence Howard, Ken Jeong, Rashida Jones, Minka Kelly, Laura Linney, Zachary Levi, Ray Liotta, Seth MacFarlane, Mandy Moore, Apolo Anton Ohno, Sharon Osbourne, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Jim Parsons, Aubrey Plaza, Dr. Ana Maria Polo, Yarel Ramos, Naya Rivera, Robin Roberts, Seth Rogen, The Simpsons, Eric Stonestreet, Marcia Strassman, Alison Sweeney, Maura Tierney, Gabrielle Union, Sofia Vassilieva, Sofia Vergara, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Reese Witherspoon and Ethan Zohn.

    Also appearing on the September 10th special as an inspiration to those currently in the fight against cancer are Anne Feeley and Pearce Quesenberry. A brain cancer survivor, Anne Feeley, at age 55, recently cycled from San Francisco to Washington D.C. to generate awareness about and funds for the fight against the disease. Pearce Quesenberry is a 13-year-od who was featured in the 2008 Stand Up To Cancer broadcast, as she was battling brain cancer. Pearce is now cancer-free, and will participate in this year’s broadcast as a survivor.

    The broadcast is dedicated to the 12 million U.S. cancer survivors, illustrating how groundbreaking research can change the tide in the fight against the disease. Updates will be provided on the work of the five Stand Up To Cancer Dream Teams, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, will report on other new medical developments.

    SU2C’s star-studded television special builds continuing public support and donations for cutting-edge cancer research that translates at a rapid pace from the laboratory to treatments and technologies benefitting patients. One hundred percent of all donations received from the public will go directly to cancer research. Viewers will have the ability to donate via a dedicated phone line, the web, or through text.

    The 2008 telecast helped raise over $100 million. To date five multi-disciplinary “Dream Teams” of researchers from more than 50 institutions, as well as 13 young innovative scientists who are undertaking high-risk yet potentially high-reward projects have received SU2C funding. SU2C brings together these scientists from different disciplines across various institutions to work collaboratively, rather than competitively, at a critical time in the field of cancer research.

    The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which consists of more than 32,000 scientists engaged in the fight against cancer, is Stand Up To Cancer’s sole scientific partner. The AACR, the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focusing on every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research from the bench to the bedside, is responsible for administering and managing the grants, and providing scientific oversight in conjunction with the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., institute professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    About the Stand Up To Cancer Initiative

    Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) — a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization — raises funds to hasten the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. In the fall of 2007, a group of women who have been profoundly affected by cancer began working together to marshal the resources of the media and entertainment industries in the fight against it.

    Stand Up To Cancer will return to primetime TV on September 10, 2010, at 8PM EST & PST / 7PM CT. The one-hour fundraising event will be simulcast live and commercial-free on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Bio, Current TV, Discovery Health, E!, G4, HBO, HBO Latino, MLB Network, mun2, Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, The Style Network, TV One and VH1.

    The SU2C founding members include Laura Ziskin, executive producer of the Sept. 5, 2008 broadcast and the upcoming one, who is a cancer survivor; Sherry Lansing, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; Katie Couric; EIF Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren; and Noreen Fraser, founder of the Noreen Fraser Foundation (NFF) and a cancer survivor. SU2C was formally launched on May 27, 2008.

    Major League Baseball was the founding donor to contribute to Stand Up To Cancer. Other major SU2C supporters include Sidney Kimmel, the country’s largest individual supporter of cancer research; Amgen, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, The Gateway for Cancer Research Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Wallis Annenberg & The Annenberg Foundation, Alliance for Global Good, Milken Family Foundation, Philips Electronics, Steve Tisch, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Comcast and many others. SU2C major media partners include AOL, Bonnier Corporation, Condé Nast Media Group, Costco Connections, eBay Inc., Facebook, Hearst Corporation, iTunes, MySpace, Rodale, Inc., Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart Living, Meredith Corporation, Time Inc., Twitter, VEVO and YouTube.

    About the Entertainment Industry Foundation

    Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that serves as the collective philanthropy for the television and film businesses. EIF has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support programs addressing critical health, education and social issues.

    Media Contacts:

    Ongoing SU2C Contact:
    Chet Mehta, cmehta@id-pr.com
    ID-PR
    323.822.4871

    Sheri Goldberg, sgoldberg@id-pr.com
    ID-PR
    646.723.3800

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  • Review: Herbie Hancock at The Hollywood Bowl

    Spirit. It’s a crucial element in any show that attempts to be as broad-ranging as the 70th birthday celebration the Hollywood Bowl threw for Herbie Hancock on Wednesday night (9/1).

    All the right guests were on hand — musicians he had worked with for four decades and the folks who appear on his latest album …

    Spirit. It’s a crucial element in any show that attempts to be as broad-ranging as the 70th birthday celebration the Hollywood Bowl threw for Herbie Hancock on Wednesday night (9/1).

    All the right guests were on hand — musicians he had worked with for four decades and the folks who appear on his latest album — and the material was equally expansive and inclusive, covering nearly every phase of his career from the early 1960s to today. Spirit, which was abundantly evident, was the key.

    Hancock and a band of alto saxophonist Wayne Shorter, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, bassist Esperanza Spalding and drummer Jack De Johnette kept the first 45 minutes focused on not just Hancock’s early acoustic classics — “Maiden Voyage” and “Cantaloupe Island” were part of the four-song set — they demonstrated how the pianist works as a bandleader and improviser.

    Which is where the spirit element comes in. There was no deferring to Hancock, no kid glove treatment in the improvisation or reining in of the soloists. Shorter went in stream-of-conscious directions where he is completely comfortable and Blanchard, known more for controlled atmospheres, followed with enthusiasm, Spalding and De Johnette providing a muscular and free-swinging rhythm section. It was exhilarating music, the sort usually limited to clubs and small theaters, that captured not just the tunes of Hancock’s post-Miles Davis work, but the adventurousness of his acoustic projects over the last two decades.

    Part two of the evening, with a supporting band of guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Pino Palladino and keyboardist-singer Greg Phillinganes, covered his plugged-in years and his latest album, “The Imagine Project.” Both were achieved admirably.

    To record “The Imagine Project,” Hancock traveled to seven different countries to gather collaborators, so it was something of a coup that this party featured five of the artists who appear on the album and a few exceptional replacements — congueras Alex Acuna and Paulinho Da Costa, tablaist Zakir Hussain and sitarist Niladri Kumar. Kristina Train, whose debut was released by Blue Note a year ago, took on parts sung by Pink on the new album and Norah Jones on the Grammy Winner “River: The Joni Letters”; Phillinganes filled in for John Legend and James Morrison on Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.”

    Amid the eight selections from “Imagine Project,” Hancock also worked in the landmark fusion tune “Actual Proof,” the funk classic from his Headhunters days “Watermelon Man,” and, for a finale, “Chameleon.” The musicians took their bows while a recording of “Rockit” played.

    Considering that Hancock’s involvement with many of the musicians was limited to a single track on record, the interplay onstage was consistently focused and — here comes that word again — spirited. Hancock, who moved between two synthesizers, acoustic piano and a portable keyboard strapped around his neck, had a powerful duel with the slide guitarist Derek Trucks and displayed a telepathic command of the shape the music was about to take with Hussain, Kumar and Shorter on “The Song Goes On.” Da Costa brought sizzle and levity to a tambourine-synthesizer duet on “Watermelon Man”; Acuna’s hand percussion solo during Juanes’ performance of “La Tierra” was one of the evening’s highlights.

    The medley of Tinariewen’s “Tamatant” and Bob Marley’s “Exodus” exploded with colorful movement from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Hancock’s version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A’Changin'” with singer Lisa Hannigan was shortchanged from the rich and textured rendition on the album, but it’s quite possible the ticking of the clock was growing louder — the Bowl is adamant about not going past its 11 p.m. curfew — and Hancock was clearly aware of how many acts he needed to get onstage based on the number of times he peeked at his watch.

    All in all, regardless of the reason each of the 12,000 people on hand showed up to wish Herbie a happy 70th, it would be hard to ask for a more fulfilling celebration. Though I do look forward to the day the innovative “Mwandishi” is fully embraced, that overlooked classic’s spirit could definitely be felt in many places throughout Wednesday’s show. – Phil Gallo, SoundSpike Contributor

    Click here to read the original source article via Soundspike

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  • Video: “Space Captain” featuring Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, from ‘The Imagine Project’.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, from ‘The Imagine Project’.

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  • Video: “Imagine” featuring Pink, Seal, & India.Arie

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Pink, Seal, and India.Arie from ‘The Imagine Project’ via YouTube

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Pink, Seal, and India.Arie from ‘The Imagine Project’ via YouTube

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  • Video: “La Tierra” – Featuring Juanes

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock’s duet with Juanes from ‘The Imagine Project’ via YouTube

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock’s duet with Juanes from ‘The Imagine Project’ via YouTube

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  • Marcus Miller Performs with Herbie Hancock

    Marcus Miller will be playing with Herbie Hancock for one night only at the Mann Center in Philadelphia on a very special Friday the 13th!

    Marcus Miller will be playing with Herbie Hancock for one night only at the Mann Center in Philadelphia on a very special Friday the 13th!

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock on David Letterman

    Herbie performs “Space Captain” with special guest, Susan Tedesci and Derek Trucks live on The Late Show with David Letterman on August 3rd, 2010

    Click here to watch the video

    Herbie performs “Space Captain” with special guest, Susan Tedesci and Derek Trucks live on The Late Show with David Letterman on August 3rd, 2010

    Click here to watch the video

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  • Interview: The Sydney Morning Herald

    Herbie Hancock, living legend and one of the finest jazz pianists of all time, is trying to eat lunch. An affable Italian reporter who regaled a New York media conference a little earlier with several long-winded questions for Hancock, however, has pulled up a seat next to the musician and is chatting . . . …

    Herbie Hancock, living legend and one of the finest jazz pianists of all time, is trying to eat lunch. An affable Italian reporter who regaled a New York media conference a little earlier with several long-winded questions for Hancock, however, has pulled up a seat next to the musician and is chatting . . . and chatting.

    As the young man complains about his two roommates back in Italy, Hancock stops trying to shovel down salad and gives his new best friend his undivided attention.

    Similar scenes play out a couple of times over a few days leading up to Hancock’s 70th birthday bash at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Journalists, fans and colleagues wanting just a minute of his time get five, 10 or 20.

    Over nearly 50 years, Hancock has endured all types bending his ear – core jazz devotees wanting to talk about his pivotal role in Miles Davis’s second great quintet or Hancock’s albums for the Blue Note label, which effectively reinvented be-bop in the 1960s.

    Others caught on to Hancock in the ’70s during his early electronic music experiments and embrace of funk, and there’s a whole clump of people who know nothing more of the classically trained, child protege pianist other than his huge 1983 crossover hit, the electronic instrumental Rockit, one of the first recordings to feature the kind of scratching that would become a standard hip-hop tool.

    Acid jazz, R’n’B, unencumbered pop, Hancock flirted with them all over subsequent decades and some of his experiments had a profound impact on the shape of the genres.

    At the age of 70, with 12 Grammys to his credit – the last being the result of the unexpected beauty and innovation of his 2008 tribute to Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters – he’s pretty much heard it all, from the ultimate compliment by his mentor, Davis: “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him”, to the whining of haughty jazz purists, offended by Hancock’s frequent cross-genre explorations.

    The latest contribution to his discography of 50-plus titles likely to send some critics into a tizz is the The Imagine Project, a cross-borders undertaking involving more than a dozen big international names from a funky range of cultures, performing generally uplifting cover versions touching on hope, dreams and unity.

    “It’s the 21st century,” Hancock says, “we don’t have to just think nationally any more, we have to think globally.”

    “Global collaboration” and the unifying impact of music with “a view to peace” are the themes bringing together artists including Anoushka Shankar, Pink, John Legend, Dave Matthews, the Chieftains, Los Lobos, India.Arie and Juanes.

    The logistical challenges of putting together The Imagine Project (which will also generate a documentary) were enormous, with recordings in seven countries over 18 months. Some had to be completed by correspondence, as it were, Hancock says. For example, he’s yet to meet or even talk on the phone – “but I will” – with Englishman James Morrison, whose heartfelt rendition of Sam Cooke’s song A Change is Gonna Come is a standout track.

    Everyone Hancock asked to contribute agreed, he says, although some among them – Sting and the Black Eyed Peas, for example – were thwarted by conflicting schedules. Elton John wanted to be part of it, but the backing for the song Hancock recorded for the pop star was “in the wrong key”.

    There were also a few last-minute glitches as the album was being mixed, with some of the musicians (Hancock declines to identify them) refusing “approval for their performances”. “So I had to replace some artists,” he says.

    While The Imagine Project does head into preachy, We Are The World territory, it is redeemed by outstanding arrangements and performances, not the least being Hancock’s distinctive, spacious touch and, when appropriate, arresting speed on piano.

    Whether the world needs another version of John Lennon’s Imagine (this time featuring Pink at full diva-tilt, a bluesy Seal and India.Arie running the groove) may be debatable, but Hancock, with the quiet confidence only available to people with indisputable, outrageous talent, isn’t worried.

    “I’m not a pop artist so I didn’t know Imagine was untouchable,” he says. “Jazz players don’t have untouchable songs.”

    To the observer, Chicago-born Herbert Jeffrey Hancock seems very comfortable in his own skin. There’s no overt pretence or posturing; no need to flaunt fame; to overstate or understate, for that matter. Labels are just labels, music is music. He is the keeper of the cool.
    Married to Gigi since 1968, Hancock’s apparent genuineness adds weight to his latest undertaking. At the very least, it’s quite clear The Imagine Project was something the long-practising Nichiren Buddhist believes he had to do. “Now I think about purpose. I didn’t used to think about purpose,” he says.

    He’s a dapper man who generally looks 20 years younger than he is, but there’s a weariness in his eyes and voice after hours banging the drum about a project he describes as his most difficult.

    “I guess . . . it’s a combination of my age and the practice of Buddhism. What I’ve learned is, in order for something to have value it has to in some way work towards serving humanity, otherwise it’s self-serving and shallow and disruptive.”

    Hancock came to Buddhism nearly 38 years ago, via his old bass player, Buster Williams. Significantly, it was Williams’s brilliant playing, inspiring an amazing show “with a kind of spiritual overtone” that had patrons “in tears”, that spoke loudest to Hancock about his colleague’s faith.

    “I pulled him into the musicians’ room. I’d known him for many years and never heard him play like that and I said, ‘I heard you got a new philosophy or something, if it made you play bass like that I want to know what it is’.”

    Hancock says he only listened to Williams’s explanation of Buddhism because its introduction came “through the music”.

    Indeed, Hancock – the great listener – is adamant most of his best life lessons arrived through “feeling” something musically or via “osmosis”, as in the case of his mentor, Davis.

    Davis “never told us what to play” but in the process of playing with him “you learned courage, you exercised courage . . . learned to push a boundary”.

    “He almost never talked about music,” Hancock says. “But he’d tell us stories about himself and other musicians, funny things that happened.
    “Hearing those stories, you learned the lifeblood of jazz. If he talked about music per se I don’t think you [would] learn as much about the feeling and essence of it.”

    Davis died in 1991, but Hancock says he doesn’t feel as though Davis has gone anywhere – “he seems present rather than absent”.

    “He was a big influence on me and some of the decisions I make sort of get filtered through the Miles Davis filter: what would Miles say and what would Miles do.”

    Hancock says he feels an obligation to somehow impart some of his wisdom on young musicians and he’s got a particular soft spot and mountain of admiration for his current bassist, 23-year-old Australian Tal Wilkenfeld.

    Bondi-raised Wilkenfeld dropped out of school and moved to the US as a 16-year-old and, remarkably, has established herself as one of the leading up-and-coming bassists on the planet, playing with luminaries including Susan Tedeschi, the Allman Brothers Band, jazz great Chick Corea and the celebrated rocker Jeff Beck.

    She first came to Hancock’s attention courtesy of leading drummer Vinnie Colaiuta.

    “She kept appearing backstage at different venues in different places and [Vinnie] says ‘she’s a bass player’,” Hancock recalls.

    “Oh that’s nice,” Hancock told him dismissively at first. “I mean, she looks like a 12-year-old.”

    Nevertheless, she got a chance to play with Hancock and Corinne Bailey Rae in a session for the TV series Live From Abbey Road and later received an invitation from Hancock to play a few tracks on The Imagine Project album. Now she’s in his touring band for three months.
    “She’s so talented, it’s just amazing,” he says.

    Hancock clearly has affection for the prodigy but the old jazz hand, who started playing with Davis at a similar age, is doing his best to ensure Wilkenfeld “doesn’t get too spoiled . . . compared to how you’re normally treated as a jazz musician, she’s been pampered and that’s not normal,” he says.

    Hancock hopes through “osmosis . . . somehow she’ll find some valuable things” in playing with someone who’s had “70 years on the planet” and in turn he’s drawing on her vigour and different generational outlook, “because that helps me get in touch with my own youthful spirit”.

    For her part, Wilkenfeld is tapping into the mysteries of the wordless exchange of jazz sorcery between bandleader and band member.

    “I’m just so thankful to play with a genius,” she says. “When you interact . . . that’s how you learn.”

    The Imagine Project is out now.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Sydney Morning Herald

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  • WSJ: ‘Herbie Hancock’s Carnegie Hall Birthday Party’

    When Herbie Hancock took the stage for his show at New York’s Carnegie Hall last night, audience members whispered in about about his ageless looks. Then the 70-year-old jazzman took to the piano, and the energy bursting from the keys as he led two different bands through two sets showed Hancock doesn’t just look like …

    When Herbie Hancock took the stage for his show at New York’s Carnegie Hall last night, audience members whispered in about about his ageless looks. Then the 70-year-old jazzman took to the piano, and the energy bursting from the keys as he led two different bands through two sets showed Hancock doesn’t just look like a younger man, he plays with the energy of one too.

    The first set of Hancock’s “Seven Decades: The Birthday Celebration” was a foray into the musician’s early years as a member of the late 1960′s Miles Davis quintet. Bassist Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter on soprano saxophone led a stellar lineup of jazz players, including: drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Dave Holland (who alternated playing duties with Carter), Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone, Lionel Loueke on guitar, and Wallace Roney and Terrence Blanchard on trumpet.

    Blanchard helped kick things off with his own arrangement of the Wayne Shorter composition, “Footprints.” Hancock’s solo crackled with the enthusiasm of a musician playing the song for the first time, when in fact he’s probably played it many times over the years. On the Ron Carter composition, “81,” Roney wowed the audience with a dynamic solo filled with single-note blasts and dizzying runs. As the set closed out with a re-working of the standard, “My Funny Valentine” and the classic Hancock compositions, “Maiden Voyage” and “Cantaloupe Island,” the band members traded off bars or playfully fed off each other in moments of group improvisation.

    In the second set, Hancock drifted away from his jazz roots and re-emerged from intermission to perform music from his brand-new album, “The Imagine Project.” Loueke remained, as Tal Wikenfeld handled electric bass, with Greg Phillinganes on vocals and keyboards, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Special guest India.Aire came out to perform a reworking of John Lennon’s “Imagine” alongside Herbie’s group vocalist, Kristina Train, who also performed her own stirring rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark.” More star power was added on the feel good jam “Space Captain,” performed by two married musicians, rocker Derek Trucks (guitar) and blues artist Susan Tedschi (vocals).

    As an encore, Hancock went with his 1973 smash hit, “Chameleon,” which fit in between his jazz beginnings and the modern-day pop sound he’s cultivated over the years. With the band in full swing behind him, Hancock rocked out with his Keytar, and age, labels and time all seemed to slip away.

    Speakeasy will be posting a live performance with Hancock this weekend

    Click here to view the original source article via the Wall Street Journal

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  • Photos: Herbie Hancock at Carnegie Hall

    In a week that saw the release of Herbie Hancock’s latest album, “The Imagine Project,” the jazz legend took to the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York to perform the East Coast half of his 70th birthday celebration.

    The West Coast party, framed at the other end of his current tour itinerary, will take …

    In a week that saw the release of Herbie Hancock’s latest album, “The Imagine Project,” the jazz legend took to the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York to perform the East Coast half of his 70th birthday celebration.

    The West Coast party, framed at the other end of his current tour itinerary, will take place in September at the Hollywood Bowl.

    On Thursday night (6/24) with Bill Cosby in the role of Master of Ceremonies, Hancock was joined by an all-star cast that included Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. SoundSpike’s Chris Owyoung was there and some of the highlights of the night are shown below.

    Click here to view photos of the event

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  • Herbie To Perform On The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

    Check out Herbie’s upcoming talk show schedule with various special guests from “The Imagine Project.” Please tune in to see amazing tracks from the new album performed live!

    June 22 – Jimmy Fallon NBC 12:35pm / 11:35PM CT. Herbie sitting in with The Roots

    June 23 – The Today Show NBC 7am ET / 10am …

    Check out Herbie’s upcoming talk show schedule with various special guests from “The Imagine Project.” Please tune in to see amazing tracks from the new album performed live!

    June 22 – Jimmy Fallon NBC 12:35pm / 11:35PM CT. Herbie sitting in with The Roots

    June 23 – The Today Show NBC 7am ET / 10am PT. Herbie with India.Arie

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Interview on PBS’ Tavis Smiley

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie’s interview with Tavis Smiley on June 21st via PBS

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie’s interview with Tavis Smiley on June 21st via PBS

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  • NPR First Listen: ‘The Imagine Project’

    Herbie Hancock has always had his feet planted firmly in both the jazz and pop worlds. In 1962, his tune “Watermelon Man” was a mash-up of gospel, R&B and so-called “soul jazz” that became a Top 10 hit in the hands of Mongo Santamaria when he recorded it as a Cuban cha-cha-cha a year later. …

    Herbie Hancock has always had his feet planted firmly in both the jazz and pop worlds. In 1962, his tune “Watermelon Man” was a mash-up of gospel, R&B and so-called “soul jazz” that became a Top 10 hit in the hands of Mongo Santamaria when he recorded it as a Cuban cha-cha-cha a year later. In 1973, Head Hunters landed on the pop charts, fueled by a song that has become a funk standard, “Chameleon.” In 1983, Hancock became a pop-music video star with the release of “Rockit” from Future Shock. And in 2007, his tribute to Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters, won the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy.

    Keep in mind that he’s done all this while also becoming one of the most respected jazz pianists and composers of his generation.

    Like River, Hancock’s new album, The Imagine Project, is a collection of collaborations with pop-music vocalists, though there are also a few “world” musicians and jazz artists involved. There is an unmistakable pop production sheen that may leave some diehard jazz fans groaning.

    But Hancock has always rolled with his artistic credibility intact, and this project is no exception. It’s musically challenging as much as it is engaging and accessible. Pop music could stand to exude this kind of sophistication a little more often.

    The Imagine Project will stream here in its entirety until its release on June 22. Please leave your thoughts on the album in the comments section below.

    Click here to view the original source article via NPR

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  • ‘The Imagine Project’ Album Stream on NPR

    NPR.com will be streaming Herbie’s upcoming album “The Imagine Project” in its entirety starting June 14 – 22. Be sure to tune in and treat your ears to a masterpiece!

    NPR.com will be streaming Herbie’s upcoming album “The Imagine Project” in its entirety starting June 14 – 22. Be sure to tune in and treat your ears to a masterpiece!

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  • The GRAMMY Museum Presents An Evening with Herbie Hancock

    Herbie will be interviewed at the Grammy Museum downtown by Executive Director Robert Santelli on June 7, 2010.

    Hear Hancock in conversation about his remarkable career, genre-transcending catalogue, and newest music / documentary, The Imagine Project. After the interview, Hancock will take questions from the audience. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 per …

    Herbie will be interviewed at the Grammy Museum downtown by Executive Director Robert Santelli on June 7, 2010.

    Hear Hancock in conversation about his remarkable career, genre-transcending catalogue, and newest music / documentary, The Imagine Project. After the interview, Hancock will take questions from the audience. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased in person at the box office, or online.

    Click here to view photos of the event via Getty Images

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  • Thelonious Monk Institute Tour of China

    Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz on U.S. Department of State Cultural and Education Tour of China, May 7 – 16, 2010.

    Washington, D.C.– The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will continue its longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of State by presenting a 10-day jazz education and performance tour of China. This …

    Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz on U.S. Department of State Cultural and Education Tour of China, May 7 – 16, 2010.

    Washington, D.C.– The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will continue its longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of State by presenting a 10-day jazz education and performance tour of China. This tour will mark the Institute’s first visit to China and will introduce tens of thousands of young people and adults in China to jazz, America’s greatest musical contribution to the world.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock At The White House

    Hancock joins a line-up of stars that will pay tribute to Paul McCartney at the White House on Tuesday. Paul McCartney visits the White House next Tuesday to accept the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

    The program will air on WETA on July 28 and will also include performances from Stevie Wonder, …

    Hancock joins a line-up of stars that will pay tribute to Paul McCartney at the White House on Tuesday. Paul McCartney visits the White House next Tuesday to accept the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

    The program will air on WETA on July 28 and will also include performances from Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, the Jonas Brothers, Dave Grohl, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Corinne Bailey Rae and Jerry Seinfeld.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Corinne Bailey Rae

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  • American Express Presents An Evening With Herbie Hancock At The GRAMMY Museum

    Music Pioneer Sits Down for an Intimate Conversation to Celebrate New Musical Project and His 70th Birthday

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LOS ANGELES (May 2010) – On June 7, 2010, The GRAMMY Museum will host musical pioneer, jazz legend, and multi-GRAMMY winner Herbie Hancock for an onstage interview, it was announced today. Celebrating his 70th …

    Music Pioneer Sits Down for an Intimate Conversation to Celebrate New Musical Project and His 70th Birthday

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    LOS ANGELES (May 2010) – On June 7, 2010, The GRAMMY Museum will host musical pioneer, jazz legend, and multi-GRAMMY winner Herbie Hancock for an onstage interview, it was announced today. Celebrating his 70th birthday and the release of his new album, Hancock will field questions about his remarkable career and newest music, previewing tracks and clips from Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project, his hotly-anticipated new CD set for release June 22 via Hancock Records/Red.

    “Herbie Hancock is an unparalleled and towering figure in American jazz. As such, we are truly honored to welcome him to our stage to discuss both his groundbreaking career and newest transformative work,” said Executive Director Robert Santelli, who will conduct the interview.

    The Imagine Project is an unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between Hancock and over a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the musical collaborations combine Hancock’s genre-defying musical vision with the “local” musical identity of cultures from around the world.

    Tracks on The Imagine Project include “The Song Goes On” with Anoushka Shankar (sitarist daughter of Ravi Shankar), Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter which was recorded in Mumbai, India, along with a stellar group of Indian musicians; “Don’t Give Up,” a duet recorded in London, New York and Los Angeles featuring Pink and John Legend, “Imagine” with Seal, Pink, Konono No l, Jeff Beck, Oumou Sangare, India.Arie, Lionel Loueke and Marcus Miller recorded in Paris, London and Los Angeles; “Tamatant Tilay/Exodus” featuring Tinariwen and Los Lobos, “The Times, They Are A’ Changin’” featuring The Chieftains, Toumani Diabete, Lionel Loueke and Lisa Hannigan recorded in Ireland; “Tomorrow Never Knows” featuring Dave Matthews, “Space Captain” with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, “La Tierra” recorded with Latin superstar Juanes in Miami, “A Change Is Gonna Come” with James Morrison and a track with Brazilian singer-songwriter Ceu, “Tempo de Amour,” recorded in Sao Paulo.

    Additionally, footage from each recording session has been shot in each locale to be included in a planned documentary, with veteran music producer Larry Klein serving as one of the album’s producing consultants. The Imagine Project is set for release June 22nd via Hancock Records/Red, with special concert touring dates and birthday tributes at Carnegie Hall (June 24, 2010) and the Hollywood Bowl (Sept. 1, 2010), both of which will feature special guests.

    Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project is the next step in Hancock’s extraordinary and ground-breaking career, and builds upon his recent successes and recognition (2007 GRAMMY for Album of the Year for River/The Joni Letters; Time Magazine’s 2008 100 Most Influential People in the World list; multiple award-winning album/film, Possibilities; Jazz Chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among many other honors).

    Before an intimate audience of 200 in the Museum’s GRAMMY Sound Stage, Hancock will field Santelli’s questions about his remarkable, nearly 50-year career, genre-transcending catalogue, and newest music. After the interview, Hancock will take questions from the audience and sign autographs.

    The GRAMMY Museum launched its flagship public program, “An Evening With…,” in January 2009 with music legend Brian Wilson and continued its success with critically-acclaimed recording artists Ringo Starr, Annie Lennox, Bob Newhart, Tom Morello, Dwight Yoakam, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, Terence Blanchard, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, George Benson, Paul Shaffer, Carly Simon, Harry Connick, Jr. and Clive Davis. The program regularly features award-winning and cutting-edge musicians live and onstage (including country rocker Chris Hillman on May 20, 2010). Taking place in the Museum’s state-of-the-art theater, which screens exhibit-related films during regular Museum hours, the program provides guests unprecedented access to their favorite musicians.

    “American Express Presents An Evening With Herbie Hancock” will take place at 8pm in the GRAMMY Sound Stage, on the second floor of The GRAMMY Museum. Doors open at 7:30pm. American Express presale tickets are $35 and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com by American Express Cardmembers starting Friday, May 7, 2010. Ticket purchase also includes a copy of new album The Imagine Project (CD jacket to be provided at program, CD itself to be delivered later). American Express is the exclusive payment method for presale tickets. All proceeds benefit The GRAMMY Museum.For more information, please call 213.765.6800 or visit www.grammymuseum.org.

    The GRAMMY Museum is located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite A245, Los Angeles, CA 90015. With an entrance off of Figueroa Street, the Museum resides within the L.A. LIVE campus, at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.

    About The GRAMMY Museum
    Paying tribute to music’s rich cultural history, this one-of-a-kind, 21st-century Museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY Award. The GRAMMY Museum features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests will experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only The GRAMMY Museum can deliver.

    American Express is the Premiere Partner of The GRAMMY Museum.

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  • Herbie at Ventura Music Festival

    Herbie and band will be in Ventura, CA on Sunday as part of the Ventura Music Festival.

    Herbie will perform at 2pm on Sunday, May 2nd at the Ventura College West Athletic Field, 4667 Telegraph Rd. in Ventura. Tickets available at the venue box office, and more info is available at the festival website …

    Herbie and band will be in Ventura, CA on Sunday as part of the Ventura Music Festival.

    Herbie will perform at 2pm on Sunday, May 2nd at the Ventura College West Athletic Field, 4667 Telegraph Rd. in Ventura. Tickets available at the venue box office, and more info is available at the festival website at www.venturamusicfestival.org.

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  • Video: ‘Journeys Into Jazz’

    Learn more about the rich history of jazz. Follow an animated Herbie Hancock as he travels through time, watch videos, listen to audio clips, and more.

    Click here to watch the video via The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

    Learn more about the rich history of jazz. Follow an animated Herbie Hancock as he travels through time, watch videos, listen to audio clips, and more.

    Click here to watch the video via The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

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  • ‘The Imagine Project’ Set For Release June 21st

    CD and documentary recorded around the globe and will be accompanied by tour dates to coincide with Hancock’s 70th birthday.

    Hancock joined by Anoushka Shankar, Seal, Pink, Jeff Beck, Konono No. l, Lionel Louke, Ceu, Dave Matthews, Lisa Hannigan, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Chaka Khan, Tinariwen, The Chieftains, Marcus Miller, Wayne Shorter, Oumou Sangare, Juanes …

    CD and documentary recorded around the globe and will be accompanied by tour dates to coincide with Hancock’s 70th birthday.

    Hancock joined by Anoushka Shankar, Seal, Pink, Jeff Beck, Konono No. l, Lionel Louke, Ceu, Dave Matthews, Lisa Hannigan, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Chaka Khan, Tinariwen, The Chieftains, Marcus Miller, Wayne Shorter, Oumou Sangare, Juanes and more

    LOS ANGELES, CA – Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project”, the new CD from multiple Grammy-winning artist and musical pioneer Herbie Hancock, is an unprecedented international recording and film project featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and over a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the musical collaborations combine Hancock’s genre-defying musical vision with the “local” musical identity of cultures from around the world. Additionally, noted Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (“Taxi To The Dark Side”) is serving as one of the film’s producers with veteran music producer Larry Klein serving as one of the album’s producing consultants. “The Imagine Project” is set for release June 21st via Hancock Records/Red.

    Tracks include “The Song Goes On” with Anoushka Shankar (sitarist daughter of Ravi Shankar), Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter which was recorded in Mumbai, India, along with a stellar group of Indian musicians; “Don’t Give Up,” a duet recorded in London featuring Seal and Pink, “Imagine” with Konono No. l, Jeff Beck, Oumou Sangare and Lionel Louke recorded in Paris and London; “Tamatant Tilay/Exodus” featuring Tinariwen, “Times They Are A Changin’” featuring The Chieftains, Lionel Loueke and Lisa Hannigan recorded in Ireland; “Jackpot” with Dave Matthews and Marcus Miller, “Space Captain” with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, “Mi Tierra” recorded with Latin superstar Juanes in Miami and a track with Brazilian singer-songwriter Ceu recorded in Sao Paulo.

    “Music truly is the universal language,” says Hancock, “The Imagine Project” will explore that concept across the globe, uniting a myriad of cultures through song and positive creative expression. My hope is that the music will serve as a metaphor for the actions taken by the inhabitants of this wonderful planet as a call for world harmony on all levels.”

    A global musing on the power of song to bring people together, the recordings for Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” have taken place in each collaborator’s home territory whenever possible, and embody the spirit, hearts, sounds, colors and flavor of each locale – a complete sensory musical experience. The result is an album/film without borders, both a celebration and a call to action.

    Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” is the next step in Hancock’s extraordinary ground-breaking career, and builds upon his recent successes and recognition. (2007 Grammy for Album of the Year – “River/The Joni Letters”, Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, multiple award-winning album/film, “Possibilities”, Jazz Chair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, amongst many others). It is anticipated that “The Imagine Project” will take numerous forms — from traditional album to potential “webisodes”, film/documentary, real-time performances, and special concert touring dates.

    Award-winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Madeline Peyroux, Luciana Souza, Tracy Chapman, Melody Gardot and Hancock’s collaborator on “River”) has served as producer on a number of the album’s tracks.

    While the CD and film will stand, on one level, as powerful testaments for the goals of world peace, humanity and tolerance along with respect for our planet, Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” shall remain, at its core, entertainment content that is creatively and emotionally deeply fulfilling.

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  • Norwegian Jazz Festival

    Pianist Herbie Hancock is the latest act due to perform at the 50th summer jazz festival in the Norwegian west coast city of Molde, organizers said Thursday.

    Other acts expected to feature at the Molde International Jazz Festival include saxophone great Sonny Rollins, who turns 80 this year, famed guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Bobby …

    Pianist Herbie Hancock is the latest act due to perform at the 50th summer jazz festival in the Norwegian west coast city of Molde, organizers said Thursday.

    Other acts expected to feature at the Molde International Jazz Festival include saxophone great Sonny Rollins, who turns 80 this year, famed guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Bobby McFerrin.

    Beck recently won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. The 2010 Molde artist in residence, Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer is also billed to appear at the festival which runs from July 19 to 24. The festival attracts almost 100,000 visitors every year to Molde, which also offers scenic vistas of Norway’s famed mountains and fjords.

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  • Newport Jazz Lineup Includes Hancock, W. Marsalis

    NEWPORT, R.I. Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis will be among the performers headlining this summer’s Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. Organizers on Tuesday announced the lineup for the three-day festival opening Aug. 6. It marks its 56th year this summer. Tickets go on sale March 26.

    NEWPORT, R.I. Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis will be among the performers headlining this summer’s Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island. Organizers on Tuesday announced the lineup for the three-day festival opening Aug. 6. It marks its 56th year this summer. Tickets go on sale March 26.

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  • Herbie Chosen To Score Forthcoming Miles Davis Biopic

    Amongst the few concrete details to emerge from the film are soundtrack plans. Herbie is due to score the project, being a graduate of the ‘Miles School Of Jazz Himself’.

    Amongst the few concrete details to emerge from the film are soundtrack plans. Herbie is due to score the project, being a graduate of the ‘Miles School Of Jazz Himself’.

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  • President and First Lady to Serve as Honorary Chairs of Thelonious Monk Institute Competition

    A special feature of this year’s Competition, Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert, will bring together the biggest names in music, showcasing Blue Note recording artists past and present, including Monk Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Ron Carter, Terence Blanchard, McCoy Tyner, Earl Klugh, John Scofield, and …

    A special feature of this year’s Competition, Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert, will bring together the biggest names in music, showcasing Blue Note recording artists past and present, including Monk Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Ron Carter, Terence Blanchard, McCoy Tyner, Earl Klugh, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano.

    The 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition takes place on October 11th. President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chairs. Co-chairs include Madeleine Albright, Herb and Lani Alpert, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, Bill and Carolyn Powers, and Joseph E. Robert Jr.

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  • Daniel Pearl World Music Days

    Herbie will be making a dedication to Daniel Pearl World Music Days at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition semifinals.

    Daniel Pearl World Music Days is an international network of concerts using the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity.

    For more information, please visit DanielPearlMusicDays.org

    Herbie will be making a dedication to Daniel Pearl World Music Days at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition semifinals.

    Daniel Pearl World Music Days is an international network of concerts using the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity.

    For more information, please visit DanielPearlMusicDays.org

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  • Audio: ‘Outside The Box’ – Interview with Herbie

    Herbie talks with Larry Mantle of KPCC 89.3 about his new appointment as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and more.

    Click here to listen to the interview via KPCC

    Herbie talks with Larry Mantle of KPCC 89.3 about his new appointment as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and more.

    Click here to listen to the interview via KPCC

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  • Herbie Is Back In The Studio Working On A New Album

    The new album pairs artists such as Chaka Khan with Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka Shankar and Tracy Chapman with West African singer Oumou Sangare.

    Herbie describes this album as capturing “peace through global collaboration. Our same language is our commonality as human beings…”

    “What I think about now is purpose. I didn’t think about …

    The new album pairs artists such as Chaka Khan with Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka Shankar and Tracy Chapman with West African singer Oumou Sangare.

    Herbie describes this album as capturing “peace through global collaboration. Our same language is our commonality as human beings…”

    “What I think about now is purpose. I didn’t think about purpose years ago. It was `write this tune.'”

    Other musicians for the album include Jeff Beck and Dave Matthews. As always, Herbie contributes his global and continually evolving outlook to chanting… “I chant three hours a day and practice Buddhism to continue to discover myself and to and reach out to others.”

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  • Herbie Named Creative Chair of Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Herbie has been named the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s next creative chair for jazz beginning 2010, inheriting his two-year residency from bassist Christian McBride.

    Herbie told the Associated Press: “I’m interested in [the] cross-pollination of music of various cultures and would like to see more interaction between visuals and music. Ballet or some sort of pop-oriented …

    Herbie has been named the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s next creative chair for jazz beginning 2010, inheriting his two-year residency from bassist Christian McBride.

    Herbie told the Associated Press: “I’m interested in [the] cross-pollination of music of various cultures and would like to see more interaction between visuals and music. Ballet or some sort of pop-oriented kind of dance interacting with jazz, visuals done with computer graphics or film segments with jazz, or a mixture of jazz and other genres.”

    Herbie’s duties will include directing jazz programming at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.

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  • Herbie Hancock Statement on the Passing of Michael Jackson

    This is an unbelievable tragedy, first of all for his family, for his devout fans, for the world of music and for the world of culture.

    Michael was one of the most diligent creators. His passion flowed through every pore of his being. His sense of invention was unparalleled. Who else could have thought of …

    This is an unbelievable tragedy, first of all for his family, for his devout fans, for the world of music and for the world of culture.

    Michael was one of the most diligent creators. His passion flowed through every pore of his being. His sense of invention was unparalleled. Who else could have thought of the moonwalk and who else could have created such a unique sense of movement in dance. His contribution to music and music videos; Off the Wall, Thriller, We are the World are expressions of his consummate talent. Above all his compassion for serving humanity and desire to uplift and encourage excellence are etched in his legacy. He changed the world.

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  • Video: Herbie and Lang Lang – Classical Brit Awards

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Lang Lang at the Classical Brit Awards via YouTube

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie performing with Lang Lang at the Classical Brit Awards via YouTube

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  • Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock Tour Announcement

    Lang Lang and Hancock announce extraordinary London performance

    “…a genre-crossing revamp of George Gershwin’s ”Rhapsody In Blue” was the perfect showcase for these two hugely talented ivory tinklers” – Entertainment Weekly on 50th Grammy Awards performance.

    After their duelling-keys performance together of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the 50th Grammy Awards the hottest pianist on …

    Lang Lang and Hancock announce extraordinary London performance

    “…a genre-crossing revamp of George Gershwin’s ”Rhapsody In Blue” was the perfect showcase for these two hugely talented ivory tinklers” – Entertainment Weekly on 50th Grammy Awards performance.

    After their duelling-keys performance together of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the 50th Grammy Awards the hottest pianist on the classical music planet, Lang Lang and iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock will join forces in concert for a limited number of European and North American dates later this year.

    The pair will perform at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 11th July 2009. Tickets for this unique performance will go on sale Friday 27th February at 9am. Lang Lang and Herbie will be performing a programme that will include Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in arrangement for two pianos and orchestra, Vaughan-Williams Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra plus solo, duo and four hand repertoire for piano accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by John Axelrod.

    Heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times, 26-year-old Lang Lang has played sold out recitals and concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and the top American orchestras.

    In August 2008, over 5 billion people viewed Lang Lang’s performance in Beijing’s opening ceremony for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad where he was seen as a symbol of the youth and future of China. He has played with the world’s best orchestras and with the most renowned conductors.

    Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music with an illustrious career spanning five decades and 12 Grammy® Awards.

    He began playing piano at the age of seven years old and later won the attention of the legendary Miles Davis joining his band from 1963-1968. Hancock was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace the use of synthesizers and explore funk, resulting in many “cross over” successes like “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man”, “Chameleon” and “Rockit”. His 2007 album, “River: The Joni Letters” won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second time a jazz album has won the award. The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the world’s great orchestras.

    Acknowledged as the UK’s foremost musical pioneer, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing, and for its innovative approach to audience development, residencies, music education and the use of new technologies in reaching a global audience. It is committed to presenting the same quality, live music-making in venues throughout the country as it brings to London and the great concert halls of the world. Full ticket details Saturday 11th July 2009 – Royal Albert Hall

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  • Variety: ‘Herbie Hancock Reminds Jazz Fans of Blue Note’s Greatness’

    “A mesmerizing piano solo on “Maiden Voyage” by the song’s composer Herbie Hancock taught the high school ensemble behind him a thing or two about what it takes to become a jazz master at Tuesday’s Grammy Salute to Jazz at Club Nokia. This year they paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records …

    “A mesmerizing piano solo on “Maiden Voyage” by the song’s composer Herbie Hancock taught the high school ensemble behind him a thing or two about what it takes to become a jazz master at Tuesday’s Grammy Salute to Jazz at Club Nokia. This year they paid tribute to the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records with performances by several of the label’s jazz veterans, Joe Lovano, Cassandra Wilson and Terence Blanchard. But it was the pianist who spent the second half of the 1960s with the label who made the evening extra special. Lest anyone forget, Hancock won the album of the year trophy for “River,” an album that merged pop, folk and jazz in a near-meditative state.

    On Tuesday, though, there was nothing clam of folky in the song selection. Hancock took his band of teens through two mid-60s exercises – “Dolphin Dance” was other extended jam – that were reminders of the strength of Hancock’s compositional skills and the openness with which he approaches an improvisation.

    Each headliner performed two pieces each as the high-schoolers played either as 18-piece ensemble, a quintet and a quartet. Wilson impressed with a New Orleans take on the antique “Hesitation Blues”; Blanchard took the band on an extended funk journey. Upright bassist Kate Davis of West Linn, Ore., was particularly impressive in her intonation and time-keeping; Noah Kellman, a pianist from Fayetteville, N.Y., displayed impressive feather-weight touches in certain passages.

    A few musicians from Blue Note’s initial heyday shared stories of the label founded in 1939 by Alfred Lion. Charlie Haden had two, the first of which concerned him getting a call from Ornette Coleman to come to a studio in Greenwich Village and record. “Denardo’s going to play with us,” Haden remembers Coleman saying. “But Ornette, he just turned 9 years old.” So he cabs it and lugs his bass up seven flights of steps, the most vertical walking he had done in 20 years of living in Manhattan. “And here’s Denardo all set up. We made beautiful music that day. It became ‘The Empty Foxhole.'”

    The other one involved Haden approaching label president Bruce Lundvall, who is celebrating 25 years at the helm, in 1990 with a plan to record his Liberation Music Orchestra. It was obviously an expensive project and Lundvall needed to fund it by getting money from two international labels in the EMI family.

    Haden was told to call back in a few days to get the final answer. Meanwhile, he left Lundvall with a cassette of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, with whom Haden had played in Havana. Nearly a week passed and Haden called Lundvall’s office about the orchestra recording only to be told Bruce was not in the office. “He’s on a plane to Cuba,” was the assistant’s answer .

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  • Herbie Hancock on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle

    From the Spectacle website:

    Herbie Hancock is unquestionably a living legend, not only of jazz but of music, period. In this captivating program, he speaks eloquently, candidly and revealingly about his life, his music and the extraordinary people with whom he’s worked, played and created over the past 50 years – from Miles Davis to …

    From the Spectacle website:

    Herbie Hancock is unquestionably a living legend, not only of jazz but of music, period. In this captivating program, he speaks eloquently, candidly and revealingly about his life, his music and the extraordinary people with whom he’s worked, played and created over the past 50 years – from Miles Davis to Joni Mitchell. Jimi Hendrix.

    Seated at a grand piano, Hancock conducts a musical master class in between the animated conversation, with impromptu demonstrations and illustrations of at the keyboard. Karriem Riggins and Christian McBride add their considerable chops on drums and bass, respectively, joining Herbie on a couple of riveting performances; and in the end, Elvis and Herbie join forces to tackle a song from “River”, the album of Joni Mitchell material for which Herbie won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

    Herbie’s episode will premiere on Wed, Feb 4th and repeat several times during the month as follows: Wednesday February 4, 9:00PM Thursday February 5, 8:00PM Friday February 6, 12:00AM Sunday February 8, 2:00AM Sunday February 8, 12:00PM Tuesday February 10, 12:00AM Saturday February 28, 2:00PM

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  • Video: Herbie Performs at The Obama Inaugural Celebration

    From the NPR website:

    NPR will be the only radio broadcaster of the concert “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration,” the star-studded kickoff of official inaugural festivities, starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m PT on Sunday, Jan. 18. The event, which is free and open to the public at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, …

    From the NPR website:

    NPR will be the only radio broadcaster of the concert “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration,” the star-studded kickoff of official inaugural festivities, starting at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m PT on Sunday, Jan. 18. The event, which is free and open to the public at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be broadcast by NPR to public radio stations nationwide, and will be available as a simultaneous stream on this page and at the Web sites of many stations. For more information, find your local station by visiting NPR.org/stations.
    To watch via cable and satellite stations, HBO will be making their signal available free of charge to any cable or satellite subscriber. HBO’s broadcast of the event will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT and replay at 7pm ET/PT and 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie’s performance

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  • Herbie Hancock To Perform At Obama Inaugural Celebration

    We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration to Kick Off Official Inaugural Events WASHINGTON, DC – The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is pleased to announce the initial talent lineup for WE ARE ONE: THE OBAMA INAUGURAL CELEBRATION AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, the Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented exclusively by HBO …

    We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration to Kick Off Official Inaugural Events WASHINGTON, DC – The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is pleased to announce the initial talent lineup for WE ARE ONE: THE OBAMA INAUGURAL CELEBRATION AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, the Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented exclusively by HBO on Sunday, January 18 (7:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT).

    The event will be free and open to the public, kicking off the most open and accessible Inauguration in history. A production of The Stevens Company in association with Don Mischer Productions, the special will be executive produced by George Stevens, Jr. (The Kennedy Center Honors), and produced by Don Mischer (Olympic Ceremonies) who will also direct the special, and Michael Stevens (The American Film Institute Salutes) who is also writing the special.

    Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists.

    Additional performers will be announced as they are confirmed. “Our intention is to root the event in history, celebrating the moments when our nation has united to face great challenges and prevail,” observed George Stevens, Jr. “We will combine historical readings by prominent actors with music from an array of the greatest stars of today.” “This is a great opportunity to capture an historic event in a very meaningful setting,” noted Don Mischer. “We will have the statue of Abraham Lincoln looking down on our stage and a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people lining the mall — a tableau any director would relish.” “We have found that the great artists are eager to take part and each one is working with us to find music that expresses the optimism and hope that people bring to the Obama inauguration,” said Michael Stevens.

    Televised to the nation, the Opening Celebration will be a declaration of common purpose and new beginnings. The Sunday afternoon performance will be grounded in history and brought to life with entertainment that relates to the themes that shaped Barack Obama and which will be the hallmarks of his administration.

    HBO will televise the event on an open signal, working with all of its distributors to allow Americans across the country with access to cable, telcos or satellite television to join in the Opening Celebration for free. The 56th Inauguration promises to be the most inclusive in history, and the Opening Celebration is one of a series of inaugural events that reflect that commitment.

    On Saturday, the President-elect, Vice President-elect and their families will journey to the nation’s capital via train, holding events that are free and open to the public along the way. They will be joined by a group of everyday Americans they met along their road to the White House. On January 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President-elect Obama will call on all Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serve their communities and their country.

    A new website, USAservice.org, makes it easy for Americans to organize service events or find existing events to participate in. To date, nearly 5,000 events have been organized across the country. That evening, Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and their families will host a free “Kids’ Inaugural” concert to honor military families, broadcast live on the Disney Channel and Radio Disney.

    This spirit of openness will continue on Inauguration Day, when, for the first time in history, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public for the swearing in ceremony. Local D.C. students have also been given the chance to receive tickets in front of the White House for the Inaugural Parade for themselves and their family members based on the submission of essays answering the question, “How can I contribute to my neighborhood through community service?” On the evening of Inauguration Day, the first ball that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend will be the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.

    The ball will be broadcast live on ABC and over the Internet, bringing together neighborhoods across the country in the spirit of unity and celebration. The sum of these public events is an Inauguration that allows more Americans than ever before to come together as one nation and one people, united in our resolve to tackle our greatest common challenges and move this country forward together.

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  • Herbie Hancock Statement On The Passing Of Freddie Hubbard

    “Freddie Hubbard was, I believe, the greatest jazz trumpet stylists of my generation. His influence is still being felt in the sound of many young trumpeters today.”

    “Personally, I was so fortunate in that Freddie played on my very first album as a leader “Takin’ Off”. He was exactly the person I wanted and his …

    “Freddie Hubbard was, I believe, the greatest jazz trumpet stylists of my generation. His influence is still being felt in the sound of many young trumpeters today.”

    “Personally, I was so fortunate in that Freddie played on my very first album as a leader “Takin’ Off”. He was exactly the person I wanted and his contribution was groundbreaking. On a tune called “One Finger Snap” on a subsequent album of mine, his beginning improvised solo line worked so seamlessly that it became a kind of generic “melody” that most musicians still believe was the composed melody, when in fact it was not. He and I crossed paths musically in several albums. In the group VSOP he was a founding member who’s artistry helped propel that project, which began as a one time tour, to a decade of memorable musical inspirational moments for me. His legacy is secure in that he played a seminal role of the shaping of the evolution of America’s foremost contribution to the musical arts, jazz.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Audio: ‘Head Hunters’ Feature on NPR

    Click here to listen to NPR’s feature, ‘Head Hunters Found A New Direction In Jazz’, originally aired on December 28th, 2008.

    Herbie Hancock’s 1973 classic Head Hunters, the first platinum-selling jazz record, is now considered one of the defining moments in jazz fusion. The groundbreaking album — a true fusion of influences, capturing …

    Click here to listen to NPR’s feature, ‘Head Hunters Found A New Direction In Jazz’, originally aired on December 28th, 2008.

    Herbie Hancock’s 1973 classic Head Hunters, the first platinum-selling jazz record, is now considered one of the defining moments in jazz fusion. The groundbreaking album — a true fusion of influences, capturing elements of jazz, R&B, funk and African music — became a hit among jazz and non-jazz listeners alike, thanks to its danceable grooves, complex compositions and lengthy improvisations.

    The Library of Congress recently opted to preserve the album in its musical collection as one of the country’s most culturally significant audio recordings.

    Hancock, along with producer David Rubinson and Steve Pond (author of Head Hunters: The Making of Jazz’s First Platinum Album) recently reflected on Head Hunters’ creation, as well as its long-lasting impact.

    “At a certain point, I became a kind of musician that has tunnel vision about jazz,” Hancock says. “I only listened to jazz and classical music. But then, when I noticed that Miles Davis was listening to everything — I mean, he had albums of Jimi Hendrix, he had Beatles records, he had Rolling Stones, James Brown — I started to re-examine this kind of closed attitude that I had.”

    Hancock says he found great inspiration and freedom in the music of James Brown and Sly Stone, and sought to incorporate some of funk’s distinct sounds and rhythms into his group. Hancock also further experimented with electronic keyboards such as the Fender Rhodes, clavinet and the ARP Odyssey synthesizer, which provided the famous bass line of the song “Chameleon.”

    “I didn’t realize at the time,” Hancock says, “but looking back, I see that it was carving out a new direction.”

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  • Grammy News: Terence Blanchard and Marcus Miller Nominated

    Herbie Hancock and his management team send their warmest congratulations to Terence Blanchard and Marcus Miller on their respective Grammy nominations.

    Terence, who is currently on the road with Herbie in Europe, is nominated in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for the song “Be-Bop” from the album “Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz …

    Herbie Hancock and his management team send their warmest congratulations to Terence Blanchard and Marcus Miller on their respective Grammy nominations.

    Terence, who is currently on the road with Herbie in Europe, is nominated in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for the song “Be-Bop” from the album “Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars).”

    Marcus, who will head up the lineup for the inaugural Playboy Jazz Cruise with Herbie in January, is nominated in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the song “Blast!” from the album “Marcus.”

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  • ‘Then And Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock’

    Features Previously Unreleased Live Tracks. Highlights Include Live Version Of “River” With Joni Mitchell On Vocals

    “Herbie was ahead of the game,” says drummer Billy Hart (who was in Hancock’s band from 1970-73), in the liner notes to ‘Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock,’ released Sept. 23 on Verve Records. Experimentation has always been …

    Features Previously Unreleased Live Tracks. Highlights Include Live Version Of “River” With Joni Mitchell On Vocals

    “Herbie was ahead of the game,” says drummer Billy Hart (who was in Hancock’s band from 1970-73), in the liner notes to ‘Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock,’ released Sept. 23 on Verve Records. Experimentation has always been the name of the game in Hancock’s storied career.

    A few examples of Hancock’s staggering versatility and diversity are evident in the following highlights, previously unavailable on CD, featured on the 12-track collection: “River”.

    The centerpiece of ‘Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock’ is a previously unreleased live version of “River,” featuring Joni Mitchell on vocals.

    Herbie frequently collaborated with the iconic singer songwriter throughout the years, and made her the subject of ‘River: The Joni Letters’ (Verve Records), the 2008 Grammy Album of the Year. The original version of “River,” featuring Corinne Bailey Rae on vocals, also appears on this essential collection. The only live performance Herbie and Joni did together for the Grammy Award-winning album was this live version in March 2008 for the Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo! Music, previously unreleased on CD.

    In 1983 Herbie unexpectedly turned his attention to electro, a form still in its infancy, and the result was “Rockit,” an instant genre classic, a smash hit and groundbreaking video. “Rockit” was one of the first mainstream singles to feature scratching.

    After 20 years at the forefront of jazz, Herbie received his first Grammy Award—for Best R&B Instrumental in 1983. “Rockit” remains not just a studio concoction but a vibrant performance vehicle, as evidenced by the strong live version featured on this collection from 2002’s Future 2 Future DVD, previously unreleased on CD.

    Head Hunters, released in 1973, was the biggest selling jazz release of its time. Its centerpiece is “Chameleon,” a Top 20 chart hit with a hypnotizing electronic bass, Herbie playing guitar lines on the clavinet and super funky drum patterns courtesy of Harvey Mason.

    The “Chameleon” edit featured on ‘Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock’ has until now only been available on iTunes.

    ‘Then and Now: The Definitive Herbie Hancock’ is available now on Verve Records.

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  • Sonya Kitchell Releases Solo Record

    After 3 months on tour singing with Herbie Hancock, Sonya Kitchell releases her own record “This Storm” on September 2.

    Sonya also sang “All I Want” on “River: The Joni Letters” Herbie’s Grammy Award winning record. The track is available exclusively on the Amazon.com version of the record.

    Sonya’s new solo record features …

    After 3 months on tour singing with Herbie Hancock, Sonya Kitchell releases her own record “This Storm” on September 2.

    Sonya also sang “All I Want” on “River: The Joni Letters” Herbie’s Grammy Award winning record. The track is available exclusively on the Amazon.com version of the record.

    Sonya’s new solo record features her inimitable voice as it weaves through jazz, pop and rock. The record was produced by legendary producer Malcolm Burn and it will be available in all Starbucks retail locations starting September 2.

    Sonya will embark on a 31-date national headlining tour to support the record. She will be backed by the popular band The Slip. “This Storm” is the follow-up to Kitchell’s critically-acclaimed debut “Words Came Back to Me”.

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  • Herbie Hancock Wins ‘Musician of the Year’ in 2008 Jazz Journalists Awards

    Herbie Hancock and his current touring guitarist Lionel Loueke were honored with ‘Musician of the Year’ and “Up and Coming Musician of the Year’ awards, respectively, at this year’s Jazz Journalists Awards.

    The winners were selected by the Jazz Journalists Association and awarded at the group’s 12th annual gathering in New York. Congrats to Herbie, …

    Herbie Hancock and his current touring guitarist Lionel Loueke were honored with ‘Musician of the Year’ and “Up and Coming Musician of the Year’ awards, respectively, at this year’s Jazz Journalists Awards.

    The winners were selected by the Jazz Journalists Association and awarded at the group’s 12th annual gathering in New York. Congrats to Herbie, Lionel and everyone else who took home top honors from the event.

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  • Video: Live From Abbey Road

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock performing selections from his GRAMMY Award winning Album of the Year ‘River: The Joni Letters’ on the new season of Sundance Channel’s acclaimed series ‘Live From Abbey Road’

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock performing selections from his GRAMMY Award winning Album of the Year ‘River: The Joni Letters’ on the new season of Sundance Channel’s acclaimed series ‘Live From Abbey Road’

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  • Herbie Hancock on ‘Time 100’ Most Influential List

    Herbie has been named one of the world’s most influential people of the year.

    Here’s the full statement written by Herbie’s long-time friends Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell:

    “Herbie Hancock was performing classical music at 11. That his work has fanned out and reached out to the point where, at 68, he won this …

    Herbie has been named one of the world’s most influential people of the year.

    Here’s the full statement written by Herbie’s long-time friends Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell:

    “Herbie Hancock was performing classical music at 11. That his work has fanned out and reached out to the point where, at 68, he won this year’s Best Album Grammy is proof that it’s possible to speak to everyone if you’re open. If one word could ever describe Herbie, it’s open.

    Musically, he still has a childlike nature, pursuing things in the spirit of play that we’re all in this for. (For a while there, he was really into dotted 16th notes and minor ninths.) He’s open as to whom he plays with; he doesn’t feel intimidated by big names or worry that someone in the band can’t quite cut it. And he’s constant. He hasn’t burned any bridges.

    Herbie’s openness makes him fearless. He plays the piano as if it’s an orchestra, never saying “I can’t do this” or “I won’t do that.” For him, the piano is a palette. And he doesn’t really have a need to be understood. So when jazz pianists objected to his moving toward pop, he deflected them easily because he’s just so warm. Whenever we get together with Herbie, it’s always off the cuff. And something always develops: Herbie is an enthusiast, loves a great conversation and has a lot of endurance. The guy can hang.” – Wayne Shorter and Joni Mitchell

    Click here for the original source article via Time Magazine

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock And Joni Mitchell Perform River

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Joni performing live together.

    Herbie Hancock, winner of the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy for ‘River: The Joni Letters’ (Verve), took the stage with longtime friend, collaborator and inspiration Joni Mitchell when he taped a show for Nissan Live Sets that will debut …

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie and Joni performing live together.

    Herbie Hancock, winner of the 2008 Album of the Year Grammy for ‘River: The Joni Letters’ (Verve), took the stage with longtime friend, collaborator and inspiration Joni Mitchell when he taped a show for Nissan Live Sets that will debut on Yahoo! Music April 1. It is the first time a worldwide audience will be able to see the two play together.

    Mitchell sang on three of her songs — “River,” “Tea Leaf Prophecy” and “Hana.” Hancock, backed by guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, vocalist Sonya Kitchell and DJ C-Minus, also played classics including “Chameleon,” “Watermelon Man,” “Maiden Voyage” and “Rockit.” The performance, including video streams of 10 individual songs and an audience Q&A, will be available beginning April 1.

    Hancock will begin an international tour in May that will include Brazil, Europe and many dates in the U.S. and Canada, including the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.

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  • Herbie Hancock On “CBS Sunday Morning” This Week

    Tune in to CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, March 2nd as correspondent Rita Braver goes inside Herbie Hancock’s home for an intimate conversation with the Jazz legend.

    Also this weekend, The Harvard Foundation of Harvard University will name Hancock 2008 Artist of the Year at their annual Cultural Rhythms ceremony on Saturday, March 1st.

    Tune in to CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, March 2nd as correspondent Rita Braver goes inside Herbie Hancock’s home for an intimate conversation with the Jazz legend.

    Also this weekend, The Harvard Foundation of Harvard University will name Hancock 2008 Artist of the Year at their annual Cultural Rhythms ceremony on Saturday, March 1st.

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  • Herbie Hancock Named Harvard University Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year

    Herbie Hancock, a celebrated jazz pianist and composer, has been selected as the Cultural Rhythms 2008 Artist of the Year, according to the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, which sponsors the event.

    Hancock will be honored at the 23rd Annual Cultural Rhythms event this Saturday, which the Foundation says will feature some …

    Herbie Hancock, a celebrated jazz pianist and composer, has been selected as the Cultural Rhythms 2008 Artist of the Year, according to the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, which sponsors the event.

    Hancock will be honored at the 23rd Annual Cultural Rhythms event this Saturday, which the Foundation says will feature some 30 student musical and dance performances over two shows. He will receive the Artist of the Year award at the opening show in Sanders Theatre.

    Hancock has had a long and legendary musical career, recently capped by an Album of the Year Grammy Award for “River: The Joni Letters.” He has won 12 Grammys in total, as well as five MTV Awards.

    “He was very popular in the 80’s, and his 2008 Grammy win shows he’s still very popular now,” said Matthew K. Clair ’09, co-director of this year’s first Cultural Rhythms show.

    At age 11, Hancock embarked upon his musical career in a performance with the Chicago Symphony, and he has been a towering figure in jazz ever since.

    He received a contract from Blue Note records in 1961, creating such albums as “Maiden Voyage” and “Speak Like a Child” that heavily influenced modern piano composition and improvisation.

    Trumpeter Miles Davis recruited him as a sideman in 1963, and Hancock became a core member of what is known as Davis’s “second great quintet.” Through albums like “In A Silent Way” and “Filles de Kilimanjaro” the group fused the abstract, single-chord song forms of free jazz with the electric instruments of funk and rock, creating a sub-genre called “fusion” that held tremendous sway during the 1970s and 80s.

    Hancock left Davis’ group in 1968 and began a long experimental relationship with funk music. This relationship reached its peak in 1973 with the album “Headhunters,” whose opener (“Chameleon”) and funk version of an earlier Hancock track (“Watermelon Man”) influenced R&B; and hip hop artists for decades to come.

    His 1983 mainstream single, “Rockit,” won a Grammy for best R&B; instrumental and several MTV Awards for its robotics-centered video. Most recently, Hancock was featured in another music video, organized by Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am and supporting Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

    Last year, actor Laurence Fishburne received the Cultural Rhythms Artist of the Year award. The money raised from this year’s annual day-long celebration will benefit the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, according to publicity from the Harvard Foundation.

    Click here to read the original source article via The Harvard Crimson

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  • Herbie And Band Appearing On Jay Leno

    Herbie will guest on this Friday’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”to perform “River” from his chart-topping album “River: The Joni Letters.”

    Herbie will be joined by Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Larry Klein on bass, Lionel Loueke on guitar and Luciana Souza on vocals.

    Herbie will guest on this Friday’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”to perform “River” from his chart-topping album “River: The Joni Letters.”

    Herbie will be joined by Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Larry Klein on bass, Lionel Loueke on guitar and Luciana Souza on vocals.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Wins Best Contemporary Jazz Album GRAMMY

    Herbie’s latest release, “River: The Joni Letters” takes top honors in the jazz category.

    Click here to watch a video of the event

    In the pre-televised portion of the GRAMMY Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Herbie Hancock won the GRAMMY for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” today.

    The staff and management of Hancock …

    Herbie’s latest release, “River: The Joni Letters” takes top honors in the jazz category.

    Click here to watch a video of the event

    In the pre-televised portion of the GRAMMY Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Herbie Hancock won the GRAMMY for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” today.

    The staff and management of Hancock Music Co. sends our warmest congratulations to Herbie and to everyone who’s work on the album made the entire project and the tour behind it possible.

    We also extend our congratulations to our friends who also won awards this afternoon. Michael Brecker, a terrific musician and wonderful person who was taken from us far too soon won the award for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group” for his final album, “Pilgrimage,” which Herbie is grateful to have been part of. Michael was also awarded the GRAMMY for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” for the song “Anagram” from “Pilgrimage.” He shared the nomination in this category with Herbie for the solo on “Both Sides Now” from “River,” and with our friend Terence Blanchard, who was nominated for his solo on “Levees” from his latest album, “A Tale Of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina).” Terence also walked away with an award today in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for “A Tale Of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina).”

    Congratulations to everyone who was honored with nominations and awards.

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  • Herbie Hancock Wins ‘Album of the Year’ GRAMMY

    “Congratulations to everyone who touched the success of this album, from Joni’s creative genius to Larry Klein’s guidance to Herbie’s interpretive vision. And congratulations to all the musicians, engineers and crews in the studios and to everyone in the offices at Hancock Music Co., Verve Records and Shore Fire who helped introduce this music to …

    “Congratulations to everyone who touched the success of this album, from Joni’s creative genius to Larry Klein’s guidance to Herbie’s interpretive vision. And congratulations to all the musicians, engineers and crews in the studios and to everyone in the offices at Hancock Music Co., Verve Records and Shore Fire who helped introduce this music to music lovers around the world.” -Herbie’s web team

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  • Herbie Hancock On The Passing Of Jazz Legend Oscar Peterson

    Herbie Hancock issued the following statement today on the passing of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson:

    “Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today. I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, …

    Herbie Hancock issued the following statement today on the passing of legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson:

    “Oscar Peterson redefined swing for modern jazz pianists for the latter half of the 20th century up until today. I consider him the major influence that formed my roots in jazz piano playing. He mastered the balance between technique, hard blues grooving, and tenderness. You’ll find Oscar Peterson’s influence in the generations that came after him. No one will ever be able to take his place.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Herbie Nominated for Three GRAMMYs Including Album Of The Year

    Herbie Hancock’s release “River: The Joni Letters” has emerged as one of the most celebrated releases of the year, culminating in a stunning three GRAMMY nominations.

    At the announcement ceremony, held December 6th in Hollywood, “River” was honored with nominations in the categories of “Album of the Year,” Best Contemporary Jazz Album” and “Best Instrumental …

    Herbie Hancock’s release “River: The Joni Letters” has emerged as one of the most celebrated releases of the year, culminating in a stunning three GRAMMY nominations.

    At the announcement ceremony, held December 6th in Hollywood, “River” was honored with nominations in the categories of “Album of the Year,” Best Contemporary Jazz Album” and “Best Instrumental Jazz Solo” for the track “Both Sides Now” from River.

    Congratulations to Herbie, Herbie’s management team and everyone involved with the creation of “River: The Joni Letters.”

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  • Herbie Hancock Remix Contest

    YOUR track- and HE wants to hear it.

    Remixing is just one possibility… Take elements from the track Solitude from Herbie’s new album, River: The Joni Letters, or another of his classic recordings, and create your own track! To celebrate the launch of Pangaea Island, the first virtual worldwide label, Herbie Hancock, along with Ableton …

    YOUR track- and HE wants to hear it.

    Remixing is just one possibility… Take elements from the track Solitude from Herbie’s new album, River: The Joni Letters, or another of his classic recordings, and create your own track! To celebrate the launch of Pangaea Island, the first virtual worldwide label, Herbie Hancock, along with Ableton and the Universal Music Germany present this remix contest. This is the beginning of the start of a series which will focus on the musical potential of virtual worlds. Get more info here

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  • Sting, Joni Mitchell, Chris Botti Lead All-Star Herbie Hancock Tribute Concert

    Sunday, October 28th Kodak Theatre 5 p.m.

    Featuring performances by (subject to change): Sting * Joni Mitchell * Chris Botti * Terence Blanchard * Al Jarreau * George Benson * Wayne Shorter * Clark Terry * Chaka Khan * Roy Hargrove * Nancy Wilson * George Duke * and many others With Special Guest …

    Sunday, October 28th Kodak Theatre 5 p.m.

    Featuring performances by (subject to change): Sting * Joni Mitchell * Chris Botti * Terence Blanchard * Al Jarreau * George Benson * Wayne Shorter * Clark Terry * Chaka Khan * Roy Hargrove * Nancy Wilson * George Duke * and many others With Special Guest Quincy Jones

    Producer & Music Director: Rickey Minor

    Sponsored by Cadillac and GMAC Financial Services

    Honorary Co-Chairs: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Individual

    Tickets: Mezzanine 3 $35 Mezzanine 2 $50 Mezzanine 1 $75 Parterre* $150 Orchestra $1000 (Includes post VIP cast reception and dinner hosted at the Roosevelt Hotel)

    TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Tickets go on sale Friday, October 5, 2007 at 10:00 AM ET/PT at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (213) 480-3232.

    Tickets will also be available for purchase at the Kodak Theatre box office located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard on level one of the Hollywood & Highland center. VIP ticket packages which include premium orchestra seating and access to the VIP cocktail reception and dinner immediately following the show are available starting at $1,000 by calling Levy, Pazanti and Associates at (310) 201-5033.

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  • Interview: Herbie and Buddhism

    “As a pop-cultured child of the 1980s, until recently the extent of my Herbie Hancock awareness was sadly limited to his cross-over hit “Rockit.” I stand humbled. When I queried one musician friend on what he’d ask Herbie Hancock, he burst out, “What’s it like to be a keyboard god?” Another was equally enthusiastic, detailing …

    “As a pop-cultured child of the 1980s, until recently the extent of my Herbie Hancock awareness was sadly limited to his cross-over hit “Rockit.” I stand humbled. When I queried one musician friend on what he’d ask Herbie Hancock, he burst out, “What’s it like to be a keyboard god?” Another was equally enthusiastic, detailing the ways in which the Grammy-winner’s 40-or-so-year career have hugely influenced jazz, pop, soul, hip-hop, and funk–from reinventing jazz as an avante garde, improvisational art with Miles Davis to being one of the first to use turntable “scratching” as an instrument, for starters. He’s also worked with virtually every musician you can name—most recently he’s released a Joni Mitchell tribute album, River: The Joni Letters, with guests that include Norah Jones, Tina Turner, and Leonard Cohen.

    Through much of his diverse career, Hancock, 67, has practiced Nichiren Buddhism (pronounce nee-chee-ren), a form of the philosophy that focuses on chanting the mantra Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a path to enlightenement. It’s no surprise that the Christian-raised artist would connect with a melody-based religion. Hancock recently talked to Beliefnet about how the Buddhist seed was planted in a smoky nightclub, why Buddhism is like jazz, and how the practice has taught him who he really is.

    What was it like recording Joni Mitchell’s songs?

    Before, I almost never paid attention to lyrics. I’m so bad that when I hear a song that’s sung, English is gibberish. I don’t hear it. I mean, I would have to translate it from whatever the thing is that I hear to intelligible English. Because I hear it as a sound.

    You’ve been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for a long time, right?

    Yeah, 35 years.

    How did that begin?

    Well, back in 1972, my band was playing music that required a very intuitive sense. It was an avant-garde approach to playing jazz. So it was very much in the moment and spontaneous. We had structure, but it was a very loose structure. So we went though a period when we were vegetarians because we would keep trying to find things that would help the flow of the music. I was very open at that time.

    One night on a certain tour in mid-1972 we played a club in Seattle, Washington. It was a Friday night and the club was packed. We were all exhausted because we had only gotten a couple hours of sleep because we had been hanging out all night before. But we could feel the energy in the air—these people were really into this far out kind of music. They were ready for it. I asked the band to play “Toys,” a song that I’d never called to play, which starts with a bass solo—acoustic bass, which is the softest instrument in the band by its very nature. Un-amplified bass.

    So the bassist Buster Williams starts playing this introduction. And what came out of him was something I’d never heard before. And not only had I not heard it from him, I’d never heard it from anybody. It was just pure beauty and ideas and—it was magical. Magical. And people were freaking out, it was so incredible what he was playing.

    I let him play for a long time, maybe 10, 15 minutes. He just came up with idea after idea, so full of inspiration. And then I could feel myself waking up just before we really came in with the melody for the song. And I could tell that the whole band woke up, and there was some energy that was generating from Buster. We played the set and it was like magic. When we finished, many people ran up to the front of the stage and reached up their hands to shake ours. Some of them were crying they were so moved by the music. The music was very spiritual, too.

    I knew that Buster was the catalyst for all of this, so I took him into the musicians’ room, and I said, “Hey, Buster, I heard you were into some new philosophy or something and if it can make you play bass like that, I want to know what it is.”

    And then all his eyes lit up and he said, “I’ve been chanting for a way to tell you about this.” And I said, “What? Chanting what? What is this?” And now I know that it was the only way he could have reached me. That would be the only way I would have listened to what he had to say. If he had just come up and told me about it beforehand, I would have probably put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Hey, man, that’s great. You know, whatever works for you keep doing it,” which is a way of putting up a shield. But it came through the music, which was the only way to kind of reach my heart at the time, because that’s what my focus was then.

    So, that was when he first told me about Buddhism and about chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo , which is the primary thing we do. It’s the sound of the essence of everything. So, that was the beginning.

    Then what happened?

    I asked him some questions. I’d ask him one question, but his answers answered five or six questions that I already had in my head. Even though I had read some books on Sufism and Eastern thought, many of those things that I had read just brought up more questions than they did answers. This was the first time I was hearing something that was giving me simple answers to questions that answered more than one thing that I had in my mind. It all seemed to kind of tie together and work in such a beautiful way.

    I mean, having been brought up in the Christian tradition, I had my own spin on Christianity. And most people that I knew that were Christians had their own spin on it. But what he was telling me sounded like my own personal take on religion and the way to look at things. And I said, “This sounds like what I always believed in anyway. I thought I was the only one.” He said, “No, there are, you know, close to 20 million people that believe the same thing.”

    I was kind of startled when he talked about Nam-myoho-renge-kyo being the law of the universe. The idea of cause and effect, which is what Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is about, made sense to me. I’m a guy that’s always been attracted to science—and cause and effect is what science is about. But I said, “I can’t just believe that chanting the sound is going to do something, so I don’t see how it could work for me.”

    He said, “Oh, you don’t have to believe it. It’s a law. So, if you just do it, it’ll–you’ll see the effect in your life. It doesn’t depend on you having to believe it first.”

    That’s handy.

    That was totally new to me. Because, to me, the idea of religion was always that you had to believe in it for it to work. But then I thought, Wait a minute. Gravity works whether you believe in it or not. And then, Should religion be weaker than natural science? And he said, “This religion is really based on cause and effect and actual proof.” So I said, “Well, I have nothing to lose. Sure, I’ll check it out.”

    It was funny, too, because there were people hanging around Buster each night who seemed like they knew something. I don’t know how to describe it, but I saw them smiling a lot. And there was something that seemed to be deep inside them. Then I said, “Those people that have been hanging around, are they Buddhists?” He said, “Yeah.” So, I was even more intrigued.

    How did Buddhism change your music over time?

    This practice of Buddhism has given me several realizations. One of the most important ones is to realize finally that this thing that I’ve been kind of placing up on a pedestal, sort of as my object of worship—music and being a musician—I wasn’t looking at it the true way. I realized that being a musician is not what I am, it’s what I do. I’m also a father, I’m a son, I’m a neighbor, I’m a citizen, I’m an African-American. I’m a bunch of things. But, at the center of all of that is I’m a human being. Now I view music from the standpoint of being a human being rather than being a musician. So, that’s a much deeper overview.

    Consequently, I’m able to come up with concepts for musical expression that are different every time. And that’s a request from myself—to make each record different than what I’ve done before, to have a particular function which would be my reason for doing the record. And even the idea of having function is something I never thought about before. I never thought in those terms—”What is the purpose, or what is the function of doing this? ”

    I imagine you’re also more present on stage.

    Yeah. I mean, the cool thing is that jazz is really a wonderful example of the great characteristics of Buddhism and great characteristics of the human spirit. Because in jazz we share, we listen to each other, we respect each other, we are creating in the moment. At our best we’re non-judgmental. If we let judgment get in the way of improvising, it always screws us up. So we take whatever happens and try to make it work. We try to make it fit. We try to enhance it.

    I also realize now that there’s an infinite way of looking at things. Sometimes you have to create a vision, a path for a vision. It may not be apparent and you may have to forge it yourself. And that will be the way to move your life forward.

    I wonder if you could chant for us for a second?

    Oh, yeah! Oh, by the way, I chant every day. Primarily in the morning and the evening. Even before going on stage I say Nam-myoho-renge-kyo three times—the idea is to get in sync with the moment. But anyway–

    Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. That’s how we chant.

    Thank you. That’s great.

    You’re welcome.

    What does that chant mean to you?

    It is the name of life. It’s like the sound of life. When you invoke that by saying Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, that sound, that energy, touches everything in the universe. At the same time—and just think about this—within the life of a human being is the universe. So, we all have the universe inside at our core. That’s the microcosm. And then the physical universe that we see is a macrocosm. It takes the work of chanting and living your life, and listening to the signs that are a result of chanting, for the best pathway toward the development of your life, and the uncovering of your highest condition of life, which is your Buddha nature.

    Cool.

    Yeah. It really is cool. And it’s very open. That’s the other thing about this Buddhism, it’s not exclusive; it’s inclusive. It doesn’t say that any other religions are wrong and it’s my way or the highway. Nothing like that. I don’t feel like I have rejected Christianity or Judaism or Islam. I feel like I’ve embraced the truth that’s in everything. Because there is truth in all of those pursuits. And others, too. It’s a great way to feel.

    It sounds very enlivening.

    It’s really cool. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface to tell you how great this practice really is. It’s life-changing in that, in doing this, you actually get closer to who you really are.

    What have you discovered about who you really are?

    That I’m a human being at the core. And that there’s a great beauty to each human being. Each human being exists because there’s something they have to offer for the evolution of the universe that only they can fulfill.

    It might be something as simple as saying the right word to the right person at the right time—and that could change the course of history. You never really know. But the whole thing is to work at the process of being in sync with the universe, so that everything will align at the proper time so that you can deliver that which is your life mission. And that’s why we’re here as individuals. And then there’s our contribution to the collective. It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

    Click here to read the original source article via BeliefNet

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  • Herbie Hancock Statement On The Passing Of Joe Zawinul

    “Joe Zawinul is one of my oldest friends in the music business. He was a force as a composer and an amazing conceptualizer. He opened up a doorway between jazz and rock n’ roll and was a major influence on Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and me. The world has never been the same since he …

    “Joe Zawinul is one of my oldest friends in the music business. He was a force as a composer and an amazing conceptualizer. He opened up a doorway between jazz and rock n’ roll and was a major influence on Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and me. The world has never been the same since he made his contribution to our society.” Herbie Hancock

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  • ‘River: The Joni Letters’ Set For Release on September 25th

    Featured Guest Vocalists – Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae and Luciana Souza Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, along with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Pablo Picasso, and other great artists of our time, share an incessant and profound creative restlessness. They each have always had the desire and need to …

    Featured Guest Vocalists – Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Tina Turner, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae and Luciana Souza Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, along with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Pablo Picasso, and other great artists of our time, share an incessant and profound creative restlessness. They each have always had the desire and need to break fresh ground with each note played or stroke of the brush.

    It was exactly this kind of curiosity which motivated Davis to hire Hancock in 1963 to be a part of, along with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, arguably one of the most important groups of musicians of the twentieth century. It was in fact Miles who told Hancock to “never finish anything.” Hancock, like Joni Mitchell, has gone on to explore many different genres and mediums to express his incessant curiosity, working in the context of jazz, electronic music, funk, orchestral, and film music.

    Hancock first worked with Joni Mitchell on the iconic singer/songwriter’s Mingus record, an album comprised of collaborations between Mitchell and the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus. Together with Wayne Shorter, Hancock was part of a small group with which Mitchell tried to craft a new “conversational” approach to coupling lyrics with instrumental jazz.

    “At this point in my career,” Hancock says, “I want to do something that reaches into the lives and hearts of people.” For “River”, Hancock enlisted producer/ arranger/ bassist Larry Klein (Mitchell’s long-time producer and creative partner, who has also produced albums by Madeleine Peyroux and Shawn Colvin among many others), to help him go deeply into Mitchell’s body of work to select songs that Hancock and Klein could adapt to a genre-less and conversational musical approach, while trying to portray the breadth of Mitchell’s gift as a musician and writer.

    To add another dimension to their picture of Mitchell’s musical world, they also included two compositions that were important to her musical development, Wayne Shorter’s asymmetrical masterpiece “Nefertiti”, first recorded by Hancock and Shorter on Miles Davis’ classic album of the same name, and Duke Ellington’s prescient standard “Solitude”.

    Hancock and Klein worked for months, carefully reading through Joni’s lyrics and music, eventually paring their list down to thirteen songs that they hoped comprised a panoramic view of the poet’s work. They then assembled a group of the top musicians in the world, including the incomparable Wayne Shorter on soprano and tenor sax, the brilliant bassist and composer Dave Holland, (a musical cohort of Hancock and Shorter’s who shares their adventurousness, as well as the Miles Davis imprimatur), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (a recent member of Hancock’s band as well as having played extensively with Mitchell and Sting), and Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, also a member of Hancock’s band.

    They went on to craft arrangements for songs like the often recorded “Both Sides Now”, and “Sweet Bird” (from Mitchell’s overlooked classic The Hissing of Summer Lawns) that transformed the songs into lyrical and elegant instrumental tone poems, devoid of the trappings of conventional jazz records.

    “We wanted to create a new vocabulary, a new way of speaking in a musical sense,” Hancock says. Klein adds, “we used the words to guide us. All of the music emanated from the poetry.”

    They were also fortunate to be able to cast the vocal songs with some of the greatest singers in the music world. Joni herself sings the autobiographical musing on childhood “The Tea Leaf Prophecy”, Tina Turner turns the beautiful prose of “Edith And The Kingpin” into a timeless piece of song-noir, Norah Jones delivers the wistful classic “Court and Spark”, Corinne Bailey Rae turns the mournful Christmas classic “River” into an innocent and optimistic poem of bittersweet romance, Brazilian-born Luciana Souza becomes a dark third voice to Hancock and Shorter on “Amelia”, and in a stark and cinematic closer, Leonard Cohen recites the brilliant and surreal lyric to “The Jungle Line” as Hancock provides film score-like improvised accompaniment. River: The Joni Letters represents a journey into a new world in Hancock’s search for fresh ground. A world of words.

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  • Blue Note Records Signs Guitarist Lionel Loueke

    Blue Note Records proudly announces the signing of guitarist Lionel Loueke, one of the brightest and most original young stars in Jazz today. Loueke will enter the studio in September to record his major label debut, which will be released in early 2008.

    On June 14, Loueke will be the opening performer at Blue …

    Blue Note Records proudly announces the signing of guitarist Lionel Loueke, one of the brightest and most original young stars in Jazz today. Loueke will enter the studio in September to record his major label debut, which will be released in early 2008.

    On June 14, Loueke will be the opening performer at Blue Note Records’ Somethin’ Else jazz club at the 2007 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The Jazz Journalist Association has also just nominated Loueke for Up & Coming Musician of the Year in their 2007 Jazz Awards. The winner will be announced later this month in New York City.

    Born in Benin, Africa, Loueke has already forged a remarkable career path. His musical studies brought him from West Africa to Paris, France, and later to the United States where he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles.

    It was at the Monk Institute that Loueke first met and gained the admiration of Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. Before even graduating from the Institute, Loueke had already started performing in Blanchard’s sextet, becoming an integral member of that progressive band both as a performer and a composer, and appearing on Blanchard’s first two albums for Blue Note Records, Bounce and the Grammy-nominated Flow.

    Loueke has released several independent recordings, including In A Trance (Space Time), Gilfema (Obliqsound) and Virgin Forest (Obliqsound). He is also currently a member of Hancock’s touring band.

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  • Michael Brecker- ‘Pilgrimage’

    ‘Pilgrimage’, Michael’s final recording session is released to great critical acclaim. Featuring Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette, Pilgrimage consists entirely of Brecker originals and over 78-minutes of music.

    ‘Pilgrimage’, Michael’s final recording session is released to great critical acclaim. Featuring Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette, Pilgrimage consists entirely of Brecker originals and over 78-minutes of music.

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  • Happy 67th Birthday, Herbie!

    On this day, April 12th, legendary jazz pianist, Herbie Hancock entered the world. The world is a brighter, more musical place because of you. On behalf of your management, your web-team and your fans, we wish you a year filled with much successes and joy! Happy Birthday Herbie!

    On this day, April 12th, legendary jazz pianist, Herbie Hancock entered the world. The world is a brighter, more musical place because of you. On behalf of your management, your web-team and your fans, we wish you a year filled with much successes and joy! Happy Birthday Herbie!

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  • Herbie Hancock Helps Monk Institute Relocate to New Orleans

    (AP) One of the jazz world’s foremost learning institutions will move to New Orleans, amid hope that it will ensure the genre has a future in its birthplace.

    To celebrate the move, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Terence Blanchard joined the program’s incoming class and drummer Thelonious Monk Jr., the son …

    (AP) One of the jazz world’s foremost learning institutions will move to New Orleans, amid hope that it will ensure the genre has a future in its birthplace.

    To celebrate the move, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Terence Blanchard joined the program’s incoming class and drummer Thelonious Monk Jr., the son of the pianist and composer for whom the institute is named, for a performance Monday at Loyola.

    “Jazz can help the re-emergence of New Orleans after the worst natural disaster,” Hancock said. Having the program in New Orleans will help “foster the next generation of jazz greats,” he said. The program, which will be based at Loyola for the next four years, is dedicated to developing musicians who are teachers as well as performers. “We have finally, finally found our home here in New Orleans,” Monk said.

    Only a handful of students who audition are chosen for the graduate-level college program, which previously was based at the University of Southern California. The selection process lasts several months.

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  • Rockit – The Herbie Hancock Story on BBC Radio 2

    Presented by Jamie Cullum and featuring George Benson, Joni Mitchell, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist John McLaughlin, jazz pianist Julian Joseph, record producer Michael Cuscuna, film director Michael Winner, music producer Bill Laswell, Grand Mixer DXT, musician and director Kevin Godley, DJ Carl Craig, journalist Kevin Le Gendre and critic Gary Giddins.

    Presented by Jamie Cullum and featuring George Benson, Joni Mitchell, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, guitarist John McLaughlin, jazz pianist Julian Joseph, record producer Michael Cuscuna, film director Michael Winner, music producer Bill Laswell, Grand Mixer DXT, musician and director Kevin Godley, DJ Carl Craig, journalist Kevin Le Gendre and critic Gary Giddins.

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  • We Mourn The Passing Of Jazz Great Michael Brecker

    Everyone at Herbie Hancock’s management and web teams extends their condolences to Michael Brecker’s family. Mr. Brecker passed away today (Saturday, 1/13) in New York.

    He was a great musician and friend to many in the worldwide jazz community, and he brought wonderful music and unforgettable moments into many lives.

    The following is excerpted …

    Everyone at Herbie Hancock’s management and web teams extends their condolences to Michael Brecker’s family. Mr. Brecker passed away today (Saturday, 1/13) in New York.

    He was a great musician and friend to many in the worldwide jazz community, and he brought wonderful music and unforgettable moments into many lives.

    The following is excerpted from an Associated Press report on Mr. Brecker’s passing:

    Brecker died in a hospital in New York City of leukemia, said his longtime friend and manager, Darryl Pitt. In recent years, the saxophonist had struggled with myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer in which the bone marrow stops producing enough healthy blood cells. The disease, known as MDS, often progresses to leukemia.

    Throughout his career, Brecker recorded and performed with numerous jazz and pop music leaders, including Herbie Hancock, James Taylor, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, his website said.

    His most recently released recording, Wide Angles, appeared on many top jazz lists and won two Grammys in 2004. His technique on the saxophone was widely emulated and his style was much-studied in music schools throughout the world.

    Jazziz magazine recently called him “inarguably the most influential tenor stylist of the last 25 years,” said a news release from his family.

    Though very sick, Brecker managed to record a final album, as yet untitled, that was completed just two weeks ago. Pitt said the musician was very enthusiastic about the final work. “In addition to the love of his family and friends, his work on this project helped keep him alive and will be another jewel in his legacy,” Pitt said.

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  • Herbie Hancock Statement On The Passing Of Ed Bradley

    Herbie Hancock mourns the loss of friend and fellow jazz lover Ed Bradley, who died November 9th of leukemia in New York. From his tour in England, Herbie issued the following statement:

    “Ed was a great friend and fan of jazz. I saw and spoke to him several times at jazz festivals which he eagerly …

    Herbie Hancock mourns the loss of friend and fellow jazz lover Ed Bradley, who died November 9th of leukemia in New York. From his tour in England, Herbie issued the following statement:

    “Ed was a great friend and fan of jazz. I saw and spoke to him several times at jazz festivals which he eagerly supported. He also wanted to do more on “60 Minutes” to bring jazz to the attention of a broader American and international audience. I’m going to miss his warm and relaxed way, his kind humility and respect for all others.” – Herbie Hancock

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  • Herbie Hancock At Carnegie Hall

    A limited number of VIP reception and seating packages are available at $1,000 each through the Monk Institute.

    The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a non-profit education organization established in memory of Thelonious Monk, the legendary jazz pianist and composer. 100% of funds raised will benefit Monk Institute Jazz Programs at performing arts schools …

    A limited number of VIP reception and seating packages are available at $1,000 each through the Monk Institute.

    The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a non-profit education organization established in memory of Thelonious Monk, the legendary jazz pianist and composer. 100% of funds raised will benefit Monk Institute Jazz Programs at performing arts schools in New York City; Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

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  • 2006 Spring / Summer Tour Dates Announced

    Herbie’s band on almost every stop will feature drummer Richie Barshay, bassist Matt Garrison, violinist Lili Haydn and guitarist Lionel Loueke.

    Coming off a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival that drew overflow crowds, Herbie will pull together a special “Herbie and Friends” ensemble for the Sonoma Jazz Fest on May 28th before …

    Herbie’s band on almost every stop will feature drummer Richie Barshay, bassist Matt Garrison, violinist Lili Haydn and guitarist Lionel Loueke.

    Coming off a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival that drew overflow crowds, Herbie will pull together a special “Herbie and Friends” ensemble for the Sonoma Jazz Fest on May 28th before debuting his road band at the JVC Jazz Fest in New York on June 23rd.

    From there, it’s Europe for six weeks before hitting the western part of the U.S., currently wrapping up at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on August 9th.

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  • ‘Possibilities’ Film Opens in NY and LA

    The film documentary tracing the creation of Herbie’s 2005 album, “Possibilities,” opens today at theatres in New York and Los Angeles.

    In New York, the movie plays at the Quad Cinemas in Greenwich Village, and in Los Angeles, at the Regent Showcase.

    The LA Weekly says the film “celebrates an impulse that’s too rare …

    The film documentary tracing the creation of Herbie’s 2005 album, “Possibilities,” opens today at theatres in New York and Los Angeles.

    In New York, the movie plays at the Quad Cinemas in Greenwich Village, and in Los Angeles, at the Regent Showcase.

    The LA Weekly says the film “celebrates an impulse that’s too rare in modern music: the love behind the labor of creation.”

    Filmmakers Doug Biro and John Fine spent months following Herbie from the inception of his “Possibilities” album concept through recording studios around the world where he collaborated with artists from Sting to John Mayer, Annie Lennox to Joss Stone.

    The resulting movie looks at Herbie’s creative process and the passion that drives his musical moves. For anyone not in Los Angeles or New York, the movie becomes available on DVD on Tuesday, April 18th.

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  • ‘The Essential Herbie Hancock’ – In Stores February 21st

    Legacy recordings, a Sony Music imprint, will release “The Essential Herbie Hancock,” a two-disc compilation spanning Herbie’s recording career on seven labels over a four-decade period.

    From the official press release:

    Quite simply, Herbie Hancock is the most widely-imitated, globally-honored and commercially successful creator of true jazz since Bill Evans, whose pellucid sound and …

    Legacy recordings, a Sony Music imprint, will release “The Essential Herbie Hancock,” a two-disc compilation spanning Herbie’s recording career on seven labels over a four-decade period.

    From the official press release:

    Quite simply, Herbie Hancock is the most widely-imitated, globally-honored and commercially successful creator of true jazz since Bill Evans, whose pellucid sound and approach to rendering a ballad were important influences. But Hancock’s sound is slightly more crystalline than Evans’, and at up-tempos, his solos seem borne by a bracing breeze. Hancock could have forged a highly impressive career had he been content to concentrate solely on acoustic improvisation. But, like his mentor Miles Davis, he had farther-ranging ideas and a universe of tonalities, harmonies and rhythms in his head.

    The Essential Herbie Hancock, drawing on his work for seven different labels, is the finest and most panoramic mini-retrospective ever assembled on this consummate artist. All of those sonorities, chord voicings, and rhythmic directions are in evidence over the course of the 21 tracks in this two-disc package.

    Spanning the early-1960s to the late-1990s, Hancock is captured as sideman (with no less than Davis and the brilliant tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins) and leader, on grand piano or a battery of keyboards. Virtually every crucial item in his glittering discography as a bandleader — from the original “Watermelon Man” and “Maiden Voyage” to “Chameleon” and “Rockit” — is here, with a supporting cast that numbers Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and, of course, the eternally astounding bass-drums team of Ron Carter and Tony Williams.

    The Essential Herbie Hancock also features features one previously unreleased selection: a live version of Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” featuring a vocal by Joni Mitchell.

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Performs Live at Grammy Awards with Christina Aguilera

    Click here to watch a video of the Grammy Performance

    Herbie Hancock will join Christina Aguilera on Feb. 8th to perform their Grammy-nominated track “A Song For You” during the 48th annual Grammy Awards ceremony.

    The Recording Academy announced today a record number of unique GRAMMY pairings, as well as first presenters for …

    Click here to watch a video of the Grammy Performance

    Herbie Hancock will join Christina Aguilera on Feb. 8th to perform their Grammy-nominated track “A Song For You” during the 48th annual Grammy Awards ceremony.

    The Recording Academy announced today a record number of unique GRAMMY pairings, as well as first presenters for Music’s Biggest Night, the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

    Keeping with the tradition of exciting GRAMMY moments, multi-GRAMMY winner and R&B diva Mary J. Blige will join multi-GRAMMY nominee U2 on the same GRAMMY stage for the first time; GRAMMY nominees and country superstars Keith Urban and Faith Hill are set to appear; current GRAMMY nominee and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx unites with Kanye West, who has eight GRAMMY nominations this year; and GRAMMY nominees Christina Aguilera and Herbie Hancock hit the stage for an intimate performance.

    Additionally, superstar country duo Big & Rich, two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks, and critically acclaimed actor Terrence Howard will appear as presenters. More GRAMMY Moments, superstar performances and presenters will be announced shortly.

    These outstanding artists join previously announced performers Mariah Carey, John Legend, and Kanye West — who all have eight nominations this year.

    The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). The show will be supported on radio via Westwood One worldwide, and covered online.

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  • Herbie Hancock Receives Three Grammy Nominations

    Herbie has been nominated for awards in three categories for the 48th annual Grammy Awards, which will be held Feb. 8th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

    Two songs from Herbie’s latest release, “Possibilities,” were honored: “A Song For You,” featuring Christina Aguilera on vocals in the Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals category, and …

    Herbie has been nominated for awards in three categories for the 48th annual Grammy Awards, which will be held Feb. 8th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

    Two songs from Herbie’s latest release, “Possibilities,” were honored: “A Song For You,” featuring Christina Aguilera on vocals in the Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals category, and “Gelo No Montanha,” featuring Trey Anastasio on guitar in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category. Additionally, Herbie garnered a nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for his work on “The Source” from Terence Blanchard’s most recent Blue Note release, “Flow.” Congratulations Herbie!

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  • Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz To Lead Cultural Tour of Vietnam

    Washington, DC – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz–featuring jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Nnenna Freelon–will tour Vietnam November 22-30.

    The tour will commemorate the 10th anniversary of normalization of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations. World renowned jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock will lead a group of jazz artists, which include legendary saxophonist and …

    Washington, DC – The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz–featuring jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Nnenna Freelon–will tour Vietnam November 22-30.

    The tour will commemorate the 10th anniversary of normalization of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations. World renowned jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock will lead a group of jazz artists, which include legendary saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, internationally acclaimed vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the eight gifted young jazz musicians who attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California.

    The group’s appearances in Ho Chi Minh City will include a “Jazz Thanksgiving” concert at the U.S. Consulate General’s Residence for leaders in the diplomatic, business, and cultural communities; a master class for students at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music; and a performance at the Ben Thanh Theatre.

    In Hanoi, the group will lead a master class for jazz students at the Hanoi Conservatory of Music; perform for diplomats and cultural figures at the U.S. Embassy; lead a jam session at Minh’s Jazz Club; and perform at the Youth Theatre.

    “We are once again delighted to work with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to present such an exciting outreach program to the Vietnamese people on this important occasion. I am particularly pleased that we have the next generation of jazz talent from the Institute at the University of Southern California touring with today’s jazz masters, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Nnenna Freelon,” said Karen P. Hughes, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U. S. Department of State.

    According to Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, “The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is devoted to introducing people around the world to the uniquely American art form of jazz. We look forward to sharing this music with the people of Vietnam in the spirit of peace and partnership.” Rob Cutietta, Dean of the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California remarked, “This is a great opportunity for our students to represent the University, the Institute and the U.S. jazz community on this educational and performance tour of Vietnam.”

    The Vietnam tour builds on the Institute’s longstanding partnership with the U.S. Department of State. In the early part of 1995, the Institute and the United States Information Agency sponsored a six week tour that took a group of Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition winners to seven African nations to perform and conduct educational programs. The Institute worked with the United States Information Agency again in March 1996 to present a tour of India and Thailand, and for a third time in 1998, conducting a tour of Chile, Argentina, and Peru. A highlight of the 1998 trip was a performance at the Summit of the Americas for 34 heads of state from North America, South America, and Central America.

    This partnership continued in 2001 when the U.S. Department of State sponsored a tour of Egypt. In 2002, 2003, and 2004, the United Nations sponsored a tour of Paris, where the Institute’s college students performed with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and T.S. Monk at an “International Day of Philosophy” event presented by UNESCO.

    The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (www.monkinstitute.org) was established in 1986 with a mission to preserve America’s legacy of jazz through performance and education. The Institute offers the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by America’s jazz masters and presents public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the world.

    Additionally, the Institute provides scholarships, performance opportunities, and worldwide recognition to gifted young musicians through its many jazz education programs. Begun in 1995, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California is an intensive two-year graduate level college program that enables a select group of the world’s most gifted young musicians to study tuition-free with major jazz musicians and educators.

    Acclaimed trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard serves as the program’s Artistic Director. Jazz legends who have served as Artists-in-Residence include Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Jackie McLean, Dave Holland, Steve Turre, John Scofield, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Jimmy Heath.

    This performance-based program is expected to become the model college jazz education program for the world.

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  • Herbie To Honor Muhammad Ali At Gala

    Herbie will join a wide array of sports and entertainment luminaries in celebrating the grand opening of the new $75 million Muhammad Ali Center on November 19th.

    Louisville, KY is the place where a young Cassius Clay turned his ambitions into the years of training and grit that resulted in him becoming not only a …

    Herbie will join a wide array of sports and entertainment luminaries in celebrating the grand opening of the new $75 million Muhammad Ali Center on November 19th.

    Louisville, KY is the place where a young Cassius Clay turned his ambitions into the years of training and grit that resulted in him becoming not only a World Heavyweight Champion boxer and Olympic Gold Medalist, but an American icon who struggled with many in his generation against the racial divides of the 50’s and 60’s.

    On November 19th, Herbie Hancock will join Muhammad & Lonnie Ali, Laila Ali, Kathleen Battle, Jim Carrey, Former President Bill Clinton, Bob Costas, Sir David Frost, Bryant Gumbel, Richie Havens, Hootie & The Blowfish, Angelina Jolie, Wynonna Judd, Angelique Kidjo, B.B. King, Kris Kristofferson, Matt Lauer, Lennox Lewis and many others honoring the life of Muhammad Ali and the opening of the museum that captures his legacy, the Muhammad Ali Center.

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  • Herbie Hancock To Play At Grammy Jams 2005 In Tribute To Stevie Wonder

    Herbie joins a stellar group of world-class musicians in a special concert performance honoring the musical genius of Stevie Wonder on December 10th.

    The 2005 Grammy Jams concert, a benefit supporting music education programs in the schools, will bring together a lineup including Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, George Benson, George Duke, Josh Groban, Heather Headley, Tamia …

    Herbie joins a stellar group of world-class musicians in a special concert performance honoring the musical genius of Stevie Wonder on December 10th.

    The 2005 Grammy Jams concert, a benefit supporting music education programs in the schools, will bring together a lineup including Stevie Wonder, India.Arie, George Benson, George Duke, Josh Groban, Heather Headley, Tamia Hill, Aaron Neville, Ray Parker, Jr., Raphael Saadiq, Slash, Angie Stone and many more in a special night of Stevie Wonder’s music.

    Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder worked together on Stevie’s landmark Songs In The Key Of Life album in 1976, and have crossed paths most recently on Herbie’s album Gershwin’s World and his most recent release Possibilities. Tickets for the star-studded benefit show, to be held December 10th at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, can be reserved through 5B Events.

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  • Sting And Herbie Hancock To Perform Live On Good Morning America

    Tune in Wednesday, December 7th for a very special live performance of Sister Moon on ABC’s Good Morning America.

    Sting and Herbie Hancock will join forces to jolt the country awake on Wednesday, December 7th with a live performance of Sister Moon as arranged for Sting’s knockout performance on Herbie’s latest album, Possibilities.

    In-demand …

    Tune in Wednesday, December 7th for a very special live performance of Sister Moon on ABC’s Good Morning America.

    Sting and Herbie Hancock will join forces to jolt the country awake on Wednesday, December 7th with a live performance of Sister Moon as arranged for Sting’s knockout performance on Herbie’s latest album, Possibilities.

    In-demand jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke, who wrote the arrangement used on the album, will be joining Herbie and Sting for the performance. Loueke joined Herbie on the road for his lauded “Headhunters ’05” touring group that brought down the house at Bonnaroo 2005, where Herbie was named the event’s first-ever “artist in residence.”

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  • Video: Herbie and Christina Aguilera Perform on ‘Ellen’

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera performing “A Song For You” from Herbie’s latest album, “Possibilities” on the “Ellen” show on October 7th.

    The performance was taped on Wednesday (10/5) at NBC studios in Burbank. Herbie and Christina were joined by a full band to re-create …

    Click here to watch a video of Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera performing “A Song For You” from Herbie’s latest album, “Possibilities” on the “Ellen” show on October 7th.

    The performance was taped on Wednesday (10/5) at NBC studios in Burbank. Herbie and Christina were joined by a full band to re-create the arrangement from “Possibilities.” The performance will kick off a busy October for Herbie, with several other television performances in the works. Check back for updates.

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  • Album Review: ‘Possibilities’

    (liveDaily.com) – It’s more than likely that “Possibilities” will be a major hit. It’s a natural successor to such Grammy-dominating, multi-platinum efforts as Carlos Santana’s “Supernatural” and Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company.”

    The thing is, it’s better than either of those records. The only potential stumbling block–and it’s a big one–is that its author, …

    (liveDaily.com) – It’s more than likely that “Possibilities” will be a major hit. It’s a natural successor to such Grammy-dominating, multi-platinum efforts as Carlos Santana’s “Supernatural” and Ray Charles’ “Genius Loves Company.”

    The thing is, it’s better than either of those records. The only potential stumbling block–and it’s a big one–is that its author, Herbie Hancock, isn’t as familiar a name to the general public as either Santana or Charles.

    Most people don’t think of the great jazz pianist as someone who has performed with the likes of Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Michael Brecker. They think of him as the man who gave us the ’80s-hit “Rockit.” Well, think again.

    “Possibilities” is stunning from start to finish, with nary a weak moment to be found. It kicks off with the radio-friendly “Stitched Up,” a solid piece of pop-rock that features a breathy Mayer on vocals, and slides naturally into the groovy Latin-flavored “Safiatou,” which showcases Santana on guitar and Angelique Kidjo at the mic.

    Paul Simon lays down his best vocal work in years on a cuddly version of “I Do It for Your Love” and Sting does a great job revisiting “Sister Moon.” One of the album’s many surprises is how well the team of Joss Stone and Jonny Lang handles the B.B. King/U2-number “When Love Comes to Town.”

    It’s no surprise, however, that Anastasio and Hancock–two masters of improvisation–prove to be a natural pairing on “Gelo No Montana.” In an album full of bright lights, the true highlight to be found on “Possibilities” is Christina Aguilera’s head-spinning take on “A Song for You.” It will make you reconsider everything you think you already know about this “Genie in a Bottle.” The same can be said for Hancock. For those who only know him from “Rockit,” this sensational CD should be a truly eye-opening experience.

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  • Herbie Hancock’s New Album, Possibilities, Available Now

    Highly Anticipated Album Features Duets with Christina Aguilera, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Sting, Joss Stone, and more.

    Hancock Music, Vector Recordings and Starbucks Hear Music today announced the availability of their co-release, Herbie Hancock’s new duets album, Possibilities, at Starbucks Company-operated locations and traditional music retail stores throughout the …

    Highly Anticipated Album Features Duets with Christina Aguilera, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Sting, Joss Stone, and more.

    Hancock Music, Vector Recordings and Starbucks Hear Music today announced the availability of their co-release, Herbie Hancock’s new duets album, Possibilities, at Starbucks Company-operated locations and traditional music retail stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    Additionally, and through a distribution agreement with Warner Music International, Hancock’s Possibilities is being released globally the week of August 29 at traditional music retail and select Starbucks locations.

    Today’s announcement marks the first time Starbucks has made a CD available simultaneously at Company-operated locations in the U.S. and select international markets, including Australia, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

    Co-released by Hancock Music, Vector Recordings and Starbucks Hear Music, and produced by Herbie Hancock and Alan Mintz, the genesis of the album was Hancock’s vision of collaborating in studio to create music with some of the artists he most admires. Herbie Hancock describes Possibilities this way: “This is real collaboration that we’re doing here. It’s all been decided at the session.” For example, John Mayer came to his recording session with a simple guitar phrase from which he and Hancock created a fully arranged song, replete with lyrics and a rhythm section of drums, bass and keyboards.

    Sting and Hancock freshly reinterpret Sting’s song “Sister Moon,” from the album Nothing Like the Sun. “Herbie Hancock has been an iconic figure in my personal pantheon for many, many years,” said Sting. “Long before I was fortunate enough to work with him I had followed his startling trajectory from his work with Miles Davis, the Headhunters and up to the present day. While the core of his work has always been jazz, his openness to new ideas, technological as well as musical, has bestowed on him an ageless and natural ‘hipness’ that sits well with his playful genius. A deeply spiritual and delightful human being, Herbie rocks!”

    “Pairing Herbie’s legendary talents with such an unprecedented array of duet partners has resulted in an event album,” said Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment. “Every element of Possibilities is a result of unique collaboration — from Herbie’s studio sessions with each of the artists and the work between the labels, to the promotion of the album globally by traditional retailers and Starbucks. We are honored to bring this special music experience to our customers around the world.”

    “We have always admired Herbie Hancock for his immense and continued contribution to music. When we first learned that we might have an opportunity to work with him, we jumped at the chance,” said Vector co-principal, Jack Rovner.

    Ken Levitan, Rovner’s partner in Vector, added, “Possibilities is a truly unparalleled collection of collaborations. The album is everything we knew it could be.”

    About Possibilities

    Herbie Hancock has remained influential and innovative through four decades of music making, having won ten GRAMMY(R) Awards, an Academy Award and countless other accolades for his various and influential work.

    The diverse lineup of artists who accepted Hancock’s invitation to create and record music with him for the album is a testament to the breadth and magnitude of his impact. The collaborators are a diverse group of world-renowned musicians, and represent genres of music well beyond the world of jazz.

    Starbucks Marketing Campaign

    As with the multi-platinum, eight GRAMMY(R)-winning Ray Charles album, Genius Loves Company, Starbucks Hear Music participated in all facets of the project’s lifecycle — from facilitating production to distribution and marketing of the album.

    Starbucks is leveraging the Company’s credibility, reach and frequency of customer visits to provide a unique channel for marketing and distributing the album. In-store promotional efforts in the U.S. include complimentary multimedia content delivered via the T-Mobile HotSpot network, which is available in more than 4,000 Starbucks coffeehouses in the U.S. The content is accessible on the welcome page of the T-Mobile HotSpot service at Starbucks. Any customer with a Wi-Fi enabled device will be able to experience compelling video of Herbie collaborating in-studio with a variety of the duet partners including John Mayer, Christina Aquilera and Santana.

    Other in-store promotional efforts in the U.S. and Canada include signage, point of purchase displays and overhead music play. Timed to coincide with the release of the album, Starbucks will utilize its relationship with XM Satellite Radio to promote the album in the U.S. on Hear Music(TM) Channel 75 on XM Satellite Radio. In November and December, marketing efforts will also include in-flight programming on United Airlines, another party with whom Starbucks has a marketing relationship.

    About Starbucks Hear Music

    Founded in 1990, and acquired by Starbucks Coffee Company in 1999, Starbucks Hear Music is the voice of music at Starbucks. Starbucks Hear Music is dedicated to creating a new and convenient way for consumers to discover, experience and acquire all genres of great music through its CD compilations and music programming for Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide, as well as its innovative partnerships with other music labels to produce, market and distribute both exclusive and non-exclusive music.

    In 2004, Starbucks Hear Music launched a 24-hour digital music channel with XM Satellite Radio (XM Channel 75), the Starbucks Hear Music(TM) Coffeehouse in Santa Monica where customers can select from over 15,000 CDs or burn their own custom mixes, and the Starbucks Hear Music(TM) media bars, a service that offers custom CD burning at select Starbucks retail locations in Seattle and Austin.

    Starbucks Hear Music(TM) CDs are featured at Hear Music and Starbucks retail locations, as well as online at www.Starbucks.com/hearmusic.

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  • Billboard: Herbie Hancock’s Best Sales Week Ever

    (Billboard) – Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock scores his biggest sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, selling nearly 43,000 units with his new album “Possibilities.”

    It debuts impressively at No. 1 on Top Contemporary Jazz and at No. 22 on The Billboard 200. Hancock produced the album with Alan Mintz, and …

    (Billboard) – Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock scores his biggest sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, selling nearly 43,000 units with his new album “Possibilities.”

    It debuts impressively at No. 1 on Top Contemporary Jazz and at No. 22 on The Billboard 200. Hancock produced the album with Alan Mintz, and each of the CD’s tracks features a guest star — including Christina Aguilera, Paul Simon, John Mayer and Trey Anastasio.

    The set, his first No. 1 on Contemporary Jazz, was greatly helped in the marketplace by its availability at Starbucks. About 66% of the album’s sales came from nontraditional sources — which include Starbucks, Internet retailers and sales from concert venues … Hancock also guested on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” Aug. 30.

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  • Audio: Herbie Hancock Explores New Possibilities

    Click here to listen to the NPR feature, originally aired on August 30th, 2005.

    Pianist and composer Herbie Hancock is widely regarded as one of jazz music’s most influential players, crossing boundaries of rock, soul, funk and infusing elements of jazz in many different genres.

    His new album Possibilities features vocals by a …

    Click here to listen to the NPR feature, originally aired on August 30th, 2005.

    Pianist and composer Herbie Hancock is widely regarded as one of jazz music’s most influential players, crossing boundaries of rock, soul, funk and infusing elements of jazz in many different genres.

    His new album Possibilities features vocals by a range of popular artists, both veterans and up-and-comers, including Annie Lennox, Sting, Paul Simon, Joss Stone and John Mayer. It hits stores Tuesday.

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  • Video: Interview with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, Newport Jazz Festival 2004

    Video Interview with Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter, Recorded Live 8/15/2004 – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI.

    Click here to watch the video

    Video Interview with Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter, Recorded Live 8/15/2004 – Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, RI.

    Click here to watch the video

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  • Video: Herbie Hancock Interview

    Click here to watch a 2003 interview with Herbie Hancock

    Click here to watch a 2003 interview with Herbie Hancock

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  • Video: Herbie & Wayne Shorter at the North Sea Jazz Festival, 2002

    Click here to watch Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter perform “Memory of Enchantment” at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2002

    Click here to watch Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter perform “Memory of Enchantment” at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2002

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