Saturday, 13 December 2008

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

I have liked Herbie Hancock ever since I first heard his music. I really started to get into his style and music a lot when I saw The Miles Davis Quintet’ DVD which featured Herbie Hancock on the piano. It featured other great Jazz musicians as well such as Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter. That DVD inspired me to get into Herbie’s music even more. My brother then bought another DVD called ‘Future 2 Future’ where Herbie Hancock is the main man. The music on the DVD was pretty funky and just makes you want to nod up and down. He plays a lot of songs in particular from his ‘Head Hunters’ album and his ‘Thrust’ album. He had a ‘Herbie Hancock quintet’ at the time and played with some excellent musicians.

Herbie Hancock is very experimental and like Miles Davis wanted to get different types of audiences. At the time, and still today there are plenty of black Jazz musicians but not many black people go to see Jazz. Herbie played Jazz at a time when it had grown the most. The 1960s had so many other great Jazz musicians including; Chick Corea, Chet Baker, Keith Jarrett and Eric Dolphy. They all have their own styles. The great thing about Herbie Hancock is his ability to make his music sound so simple, yet so cool and challenging. Miles Davis also played very simply. He and Herbie are extremely experimental and technical as well. The wonderful thing about Jazz is that it can appeal to so many people whether its people of art or practical people. It has similar qualities to film in a way because they both have a lot of intensity and a climax which drags on. Herbie’s music always keeps you on the edge and always makes you want more. You keep thinking that the song is going to end but it doesn’t. I have five of Herbie’s albums which are; ‘Head Hunter’s’, ‘The Herbie Hancock Trio in concert’, ‘Round Midnight’, ‘New Standard’, and ‘Thrust’. They all vary and all have their own unique qualities.

When I saw Branford Marsalis at the Barbican I saw a programme saying that Herbie Hancock was playing with his ‘Sextet’. I immediately wanted to go and booked up the tickets. I saw him on 19th November 2008. The Barbican is a great venue for art and culture. He played quite varied music, ranging from his funky Jazz to more subtle and sweet Jazz. Herbie Hancock really understands Jazz well and has played it for so many years now and with some revolutionary Jazz artists. When I saw him at the Barbican I felt so cool and I just reacted completely to his music by nodding a lot and just feeling great. I would highly recommend his music to anybody. The concert had a bit of rock in it as well which was unusual for Herbie. All of the musicians he played with were fantastic and they all played excellently. Herbie Hancock said on stage that ‘nobody plays the harmonia like ‘Gregoire Maret’ and he was absolutely right. I have never heard anyone play the harmonica that works with Jazz. I never really thought it could work. Additionally all the drummers in Jazz I have seen so far have all played mind-blowing solos and this concert was no exception. It was jaw dropping to hear drums played so technically and so fast. They constantly get you on the edge and concentrate your mind intensely. The ‘Herbie Hancock Sextet’ on that night included; Herbie Hancock: Acoustic piano, Keyboards and electronics, Terence Blanchard: Trumpet, Lionel Loueke: Guitar, Gregoire Mare: Harmonia, James Genus: Acoustic and electric base and Kendrick Scott on drums. These people really can play extremely well. Herbie Hancock is one of my favourite Jazz musicians and expresses his own style really well. He also has great intuition and takes the initiative well with his music. The man is a great entertainer as well as having a solid understanding in his field of music. When he speaks on stage as well he is perfectly calm and looks as though he has performed at so many concerts. He also likes to smile a lot. He looked as though he didn’t have a care in the world. I hope to see him play again sometime and just relax to his music. Herbie Hancock never disappoints and you can see that he puts 100% effort and commitment in his music. He is an accomplished musician and a great influence for anyone interested in Jazz.

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at:

Gregory's myspace profile and his blog is at: