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Brace yourself---1998 marks George Gershwin's centennial year and record shelves are sure to be stuffed with "tribute" albums from a variety of artists. Herbie Hancock, whose career is noted for its wide-ranging eclecticism, continues this trend with this salute to the composer. While the bulk of the repertoire are Gershwin originals, Herbie has also included four tunes that were written by George's closest fellow musicians. Hancock, working within settings that range from solo piano to full-fledged orchestras, has enlisted the aid of a number of "special guests" to enhance this recording. Contemporary saxophonists Kenny Garrett and James Carter romp through It Ain't Necessarily So, old friend Wayne Shorter takes a turn on The Man I Love, Summertime and Cotton Tail, while R&B master Stevie Wonder adds his vocal and harmonica talents to St. Louis Blues. Gershwin's World is an ambitious, reverential project that pays serious homage to one of the great tunesmiths of the 20th. century. (***)
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.