Sunday, February 28, 2010

On Herbie Hancock


This wire report about a new, star-studded Herbie Hancock record is leaving us a little bit agog:

"The Imagine Project" aims to unite "a myriad of cultures through song and positive creative expression," according to a statement. Collaborators include pop singer Pink, guitarist Jeff Beck, sitarist Anoushka Shankar, Irish folk group the Chieftains and Colombian rocker Juanes.

The self-financed album will be released on June 22 through the pianist's own Hancock Records label, and will be promoted with what a spokeswoman called an "extensive" world tour. Dates are already set for New York's Carnegie Hall on June 24 and the Hollywood Bowl on September 1.

Hancock racked up some serious frequent-flier mileage in an attempt to record each song in the home country of his collaborator. Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney ("Taxi To The Dark Side") came along for the ride, shooting footage for potential online and feature exhibition.
Also, Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, Peter Gabriel, Chaka Khan, Seal, Tinariwen, Oumou Sangare, Ceu and Konono No. 1. (Lionel Loueke and Wayne Shorter will also be present.) That's an awful lot of jetsetting on his own dime.

Since his early '70s fusion records, and probably a long time before that, too, Herbie has seemingly been after something bigger, more universal than jazz alone. (And since his early '70s fusion period, jazz fans have been wishing he would just make another really good jazz record, though that's a separate issue.) When one of his keyboard runs on any given day can still break your heart, there's always hope that his next concept album, jazz or not, will be that masterpiece. There is always that possibility -- though as I may have said on Twitter, its probability depends on what you thought of Possibilities.


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