There are very few legendary jazz musicians still alive. Wayne
Shorter, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Eugene Wright and, of
course, Herbie Hancock. The keyboard maestro is close to his 80th
birthday, but the standard of his live show has basically never dipped.
Arguably the definitive moment in being defined as a jazz great
is performing alongside Miles Davis. This is where Hancock got his start, playing
piano in Davis’ ‘Second Great Quintet’. However, it didn’t end there. He moved
through a varied solo career, defining jazz fusion in the process with albums
like Mwandishi and Head Hunters.
His more recent work has explored various avenues, with Gershwin’s
World taking on Gershwin songs alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder, Joni
Mitchell, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea, while his most recent release The Imagine
Project is a cross-cultural remaining of various tracks, with unexpected
guests like Seal, P!nk and Anoushka Shankar proving themselves under Hancock’s
This November sees Hancock return to the iconic London
Barbican Centre for two exciting events. The first, on November 17th,
sees Hancock’s quintet (which includes James Genus on bass, Lionel Loueke on
guitar, Justin Tyson on drums and Elena Pinderhuges on flute and vocals) explore
his most well-known pieces amongst some deeper cuts which may often miss out on
the opportunity to be heard live.
On November 19th, Hancock is joined by the La Philharmonic
Orchestra and conductor Gustavo Dudamel, one of the most important names in
current classical composition. The first set with open the show with premiers
of music from two important figures in Latin American classical music, while
the second will see Hancock (alongside Genus, Loueke and Tyson) collaborate with
the orchestra. This promises to be a unique chance to see exceptional music approached
from an angle you might not expect.
Both of these events are, as you might expect, sold out, but make sure to keep tabs on Hancock’s upcoming performances in order to see the great man in action.