Category: Hancock, Herbie

Intl Jazz Day 2014: Herbie Hancock & Marcus Miller—Artists for Peace and Cultural Diplomacy

On April 30 of this year, the world celebrated International Jazz Day with a day of music, talks, workshops and an All-Star Global Concert from Osaka, Japan. Included in the festivities were jazz greats such as  Wayne Shorter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Esperanza Spalding, T.S.Monk, Kenny Garrett, Courtney Pine, and so many others. I am posting some of these video interviews over the next week or so.

This hour long panel discussion features UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and UNESCO Artist for Peace Marcus Miller. The two discuss the concept of ‘artists for peace’; what does this entail, and what potential impact can an artist have in this arena. Fascinating insights from both of these legends.

—Peter Blasevick

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock on his career and future

herbieHancockLiving legend Herbie Hancock recently talked with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell about receiving the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, his influence on rap music and his catalog of over 100 albums. From the interview, he remembers playing a wrong chord while with Miles Davis:

“I hit a wrong chord. It was amazing.  And– Miles is playing his solo, getting to the peak of his solo and then, I played this chord that was so wrong. It was so wrong,” he said. “I thought I had just, like … a house of cards and I just destroyed them all, you know?  And Miles just took a breath and he played some notes that made my chord right.”

Click here to read Jazz legend Herbie Hancock on his career and future

—Peter Blasevick

Herbie Hancock: Inspired By the Written Word of a Friend

herbieHancockHere is a cool 2007 interview with the great Herbie Hancock from AllAboutJazz. Hancock covers a number of topics, including his at-the-time new album River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to the music of an old friend and colleague, Joni Mitchell which he recorded with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Dave Holland, guitarist Lionel Loueke and singers Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Luciana Souza, Corinne Bailey Rae, Leonard Cohen, and Mitchell herself. From the interview:

AAJ: The musicians, I know your association with them, Wayne and Dave and everybody else. You chose those guys when other people might have thought that you would have chosen people from the pop world or folk world, something that people assume in Joni’s world.

HH: The reason I didn’t do that is because I don’t have to do that. [laughs] [Pop musicians] might be obvious choices, but then she’s already done that. Why would I do the same things she’s already done? What made sense to me that could be interesting—my foundation is in jazz and I’m recording it for Verve as my next jazz record. Why not have a context that’s more associated with jazz. How would that work? That would be more of an interesting challenge. It would pretty much ensure that we wouldn’t be re-inventing the wheel. You try and re-invent the wheel of songs that somebody not only wrote but they played on, and were an important part of the process of the sound of the record, the arrangements. I knew Joni was the source of those arrangements, from knowing her and how she involves herself in the music. She was certainly there to make so many of those decisions about how she wanted to be rendered. For her records.

Click here to read Herbie Hancock: Inspired By the Written Word of a Friend

—Peter Blasevick

Herbie Hancock 1968 interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

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.

Click here to listen to Herbie Hancock 1968 interview from CBC’s Hot Air archive

Herbie Hancock on Tavis Smiley 2011

More interviews from talk show host Tavis Smiley’s archive today. Here is a a cool 2011 talk with the legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. From the interview, Herbie talks about failing when taking chances on the bandstand and relates a great story from his days with Miles:

“You have to get up. (Laughter) You have to get up and try it again. You can’t let that throw you. Years ago, if I fell on my face somehow in the middle of a show or something, it just didn’t work – and actually, I can give you an example. I was playing with Miles one time, the great Miles Davis, during the ’60s, and we were performing in Europe.

We were on this tour. This particular night was the peak of the tour. It was the night, you know, when it’s all happening? Every song was building and building and building. We had the audience grasped like this. It was all like one. So Miles played the tune “So What,” and Wayne Shorter plays his incredible, fiery saxophone solo, Tony Williams is burning up on the drums, Ron Carter on the bass is amazing, and then Miles comes to his solo, right?

At the peak of Miles’s solo I play a chord that was so wrong (laughter), I thought I had lit a match to the whole thing and just burned it to the ground. I didn’t know what to do. Miles took a breath and then played some notes that made my chord right. (Laughter)

I couldn’t believe what I heard. He made it fit somehow. What is he, some kind of alchemist or something? Merlin the magician? It took me years to figure out actually what happened. What happened was Miles didn’t judge what I had played. He just heard it as an event that happened and went, “Hm, that’s interesting,” and then found some notes to make it work right. (Laughter)” 

— Peter Blasevick

A Fireside Chat With Herbie Hancock

Pianist and living legend Herbie Hancock talks about  his origins as a player, his love of technology, and more in this 2003 interview with From the interview:

“My best friend had a piano when I was about six years old. He was actually several months older than me. He had already turned seven. I would go to his house and ask if I could play his piano. Of course, I couldn’t play it. I would just bang on it, but my mother noticed that I was interested in the piano and on my seventh birthday, they bought me a piano. So my older brother, my younger sister and I started taking lessons soon after that. After about three years, my brother and sister stopped their lessons and I continued on. For some reason, my interest never waned. It continued to progress and what really did it was when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, when I first started to pay attention to jazz and get involved with that. That really pulled me in like a magnet.”

Click here to read A Fireside Chat With Herbie Hancock 

Q & A: Herbie Hancock

A global collaboration among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Herbie Hancock and the Thelonious Monk Institute, the first International Jazz Day is scheduled for Monday. Check out this L.A. Times interview with Hancock to find out about it.

Click here to read Q & A: Herbie Hancock


Herbie Hancock on Piano Jazz

Composer and keyboardist Herbie Hancock stars on this episode of the long running NPR radio show Piano Jazz originally recorded Jan. 3, 1987 and originally broadcast April 2, 1987. The ever-inventive Hancock sticks with the acoustic piano for this set of solos and duets with host Marian McPartland. Hancock performs a mix of his originals — “Dolphin Dance” and “Still Time” — and standards including “Limehouse Blues,” “It Never Entered My Mind” and “That Old Black Magic.”

Click here to listen to Herbie Hancock on Piano Jazz.