Photo: Douglas Kirkland

Herbie Hancock Barbican Centre Preview

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 direction.

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.