All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

212

Herbie Hancock Imagine Project: Philadelphia, August 13, 2010

Lewis J Whittington By

Sign in to view read count
Herbie Hancock / The Imagine Project
The Man Center
Philadelphia, USA
August 13, 2010

On a cool August night at the open air Mann Center, pianist Herbie Hancock reminisced about his '60s gigs in Philly with Miles Davis back in the day, but he was not looking to rest on any laurel. For two-and-a-half hours, Hanckock showed that he was very much in his prime.

Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta introduced the throbbing, concussive "Chameleon," as the the band filed in: guitarist Lionel Loueke (from Benin, a tiny country of West Africa), keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, and surprise guest, bassist Marcus Miller. Hancock finally bounded onstage looking 45 instead of 70, instantly connecting to the audience and drinking in the lusty shouts and applause.

The concert was built around material from his 46th studio album, The Imagine Project (Herbie Hancock Music, 2010), a global collective with a mission and message of multicultural understanding and exchange. Hancock recorded the tracks in several languages, with headliners from pop and rock including Seal, Dave Matthews, Pink and The Roots, to mention a few—and, perhaps more impressively, with non-mainstream musicians from all over the world.

In concert, Hancock's message of global harmony was laced around a tour de force of his trans-era jazz-funk palette, from his Headhunters days forward. Even though he handed off equal time to all of the other musicians and singers, it was Hancock—both showy and intimateas vibrant as ever and more commanding than many of his studio sessions.

Hancock introduced lead singer Christina Train on John Lennon's iconic "Imagine." The pianist's moody intro opened up a serene musical field, but Train sang it like a pop anthem, then it breaking into an Afro-rhythmic groove. Train proved more versatile and subtle on other number, particularly effective on Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up," where she was joined by Phillinganes with great vocal chemistry.

Everybody sang on a stirring, too-brief rendition of Bob Marley's "Exodus." Hancock evoked more social consciousness in music of the '60s with his medley of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a Changing'" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," with Phillinganes' soaring vocals over the band's erratic tempo shifts.

Hancock returned to his older fusion material on electric piano, synthesizer and keytar with obvious joy, but demonstrated wise restraint, as it was the pianist unplugged that proved the most thrilling. After a group medley, Hancock dropped into an expressive and crystallized solo improv. He toured delicate Debussy-ean enclaves, commanded dense keyboard runs, and floated into a stratus with the exploratory courage of Thelonious Monk. It was no surprise that band members returned to interlock deftly on Monk's "'Round Midnight."

Hancock was coaxed back for an encore, and what better than his novelty '80s electro-funk hit "Rockit," which got everybody out of their seats.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre Live Reviews
Liberty Ellman Trio at Crescent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "James Mahone at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews James Mahone at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: November 26, 2017