Herbie HancockOn Our Show: July 24, 2010
Birth Year: 1944
Origin: Chicago, IL
Genres: classical|jazz|r & b
About Herbie Hancock:
Herbie Hancock is a musical prodigy, a jazz legend, and a 12-time Grammy Award-winner. At seven years old, he began studying European classical music but also immersed himself in rhythm and blues at the same time.
By 11, he performed Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 26 in D” and “Coronation” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In high school, a concert by a jazz trio exposed him new styles and improvisation, particularly inspired by Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. In 1956, Herbie went on to study electrical engineering and later music composition at Grinnell College. While in school, Herbie played a two-week gig with tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and trumpeter Donald Byrd. By 1960, he was already recognized as a major talent in classical music, jazz and rhythm and blues.
As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, Herbie became part of one of the most respected and influential jazz ensembles in America. It was Miles who encouraged Herbie to play the electronic keyboard and launched Herbie’s lifelong love of technology and electronic sounds. During his five years with Davis, Herbie and his colleagues Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) recorded many classics, including ESP, Nefertiti and Sorcerer. Later on, Herbie made appearances on Davis’ groundbreaking ‘n a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, which heralded the birth of jazz-fusion.
Hancock began his solo career and recorded such classic albums as Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles, and Speak Like a Child. After leaving Davis, Herbie also put together a new band called The Headhunters and, in 1973, recorded Head Hunters. With its crossover hit single “Chameleon,” it became the first jazz album to go platinum. The Headhunters reunited in 1998 and toured with the Dave Matthews Band.
In 1980, Herbie introduced the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to the world as a solo artist, producing his debut album and touring with him as well. Herbie reunited with Bill Laswell to collaborate with some young hip-hop and techno artists on 2001′s FUTURE2FUTURE. He also joined with Roy Hargrove and Michael Brecker in 2002 to record a live concert album, Directions In Music: Live at Massey Hall, a tribute to John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
Possibilities, released in August 2005, teamed Herbie with many popular artists, such as Sting, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and Damien Rice. In 2007, Hancock enlisted vocalists Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Leonard Cohen and Mitchell herself to perform songs she wrote or was inspired by for River: The Joni Letters. The album garnered three Grammy Award nominations, and two wins for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Album of The Year—the second jazz album in history to win the top award.
Herbie Hancock is also the Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the foremost international organization devoted to the development of jazz performance and education worldwide. He is also a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP).