Herbie Hancock: Bangkok, Thailand, May 8, 2011
Lawrence switched to brushes for the gently swinging "The Times they are A-Changing." The Irish flavor to Hancock's version of the ever-relevant Bob Dylan song was provided by The Chieftains on the Imagine Project, and was beautifully recreated by Train, whose fiddle leapt into a jig at the beginning, before assuming a softer, accompanying role to her pristine vocals. More of Train's violin would have made for an interesting extended quartet improvisation, but the brevity of the number was probably the right answer to the epic group play of the preceding forty minutes. A soulful, driving "Space Captain" showed off the full range of Train's voice, with Hancock joining in on harmonies. Hancock's joyously mixed up blues, soul and gospel on the piano as Train's soaring pipes evoked Aretha Franklin in a celebratory conclusion to the set.
The roars of the crowd were answered with a fifteen-minute encore of "Chameleon," which revisited the heavy funk territory of earlier. Hancock seemed to be enjoying himself hugely on his Keytar, and he and Genus threw lines at Lawrence who responded in short, sparky exclamations, gradually taking the lead himself. Hancock then turned to the piano and keyboards to reroute the jam and guide the band across the finishing line. A group break dance provided a bit of fun at the end as the group bade Bangkok goodnight.
At 71, there are few funkier individuals than Herbie Hancock in music these days, and few with the openness towards music which made this concert, and any Hancock project, a journey of the imagination.
Poonpat Vadhanasindhu , courtesy of Lullaby Entertainment