Entertainment » Music

Herbie Hancock

by Rachel  Breitman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Aug 11, 2017
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock  

Famed Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock mixed new and old interpretations of his jazz melodies at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, working together with talented musicians. His concert sounded like a joyful jam session, reimagining his previous work in innovative collaborations with a talented band.

The performer who once worked with Miles Davis, was was excited to introduce his new bandmates Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, James Genus on bass, Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, and Terrace Martin on keyboard and saxophone.

Showing a gleeful exuberance that made him seem far younger than his 77 years, he joked while lauding each of his band mate's impressive skills. Working both the grand piano and synthesizer, he started with a 20-minute jam that combined heavy synth to create futuristic tones and pivots.

The set included six freestyle mixes, ranging from his groovy work in the 1960s like "Cantaloupe Island," and psychedelic '70s to an extended remix of his 1983 dance-track "Rockit" to new modern tunes. His range was broad, including classical jazz, dance, African, and rock.

The ensemble created an eclectic sound that showed a lot of improvisation and had the feeling of a lengthy conversation. Loueke offered impressive vocals, using his voice as yet another instrument to accompany the band. Martin's saxophone added a few touches of swing, while Genus' bass was pure rock and roll.

In "Chameleon," which featured Hancock on the keytar hanging around his neck, the artist found a voice for himself, showing that for many years, he had been a shape-shifting creature, able to sample different genres and change his style at will. As he spoke enthusiastically about his upcoming album, which will be produced by Martin, the gleam in his eye gave the audience the idea that he still has more diverse sounds he hopes to create.

The eclectic jazz offerings continue October 6 in the fall with rapper Q-Tip and Jazz Pianist Jason Moran at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street NW. For tickets or information, call 202-467-4600 or visit Kennedy-center.org

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