All this week I’m posting legacy interviews from CBC-Radio Canada. The Bob Smith Hot Air archive is a treasure trove of approximately 50 interviews Smith recorded with some of the greatest stars of the day, from the world of jazz and beyond. Captured between 1950 and 1982, these interviews include conversations with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Harry James, Oscar Peterson and Lena Horne, as well as Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli and many others.
This interview with the great Herbie Hancock, recorded in 1968, finds the pianist, composer and multi-Grammy winner at a point in his career between his stint as pianist with the second great quintet of Miles Davis and his own period of searching for new sounds. It was that quest, using synthesizers and electronic keyboards, that led to the creation of his celebrated fusion band, the Headhunters, in the early 1970s. A then 28-year-old Hancock tells Hot Air interviewer Bob Smith about his approach to improvisation, his experience with raucous audiences at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and the musical insights he gleaned working with the legendary Miles Davis.