It's hard to find on the jazzy stage a spirit as free as Herbie Hancock's. Pianist prodigy, experimenter of genius, musician of the universal, there is no lack of qualifiers for this great gentleman of jazz. Or music, quite simply! Luckily, his hands were too small to make a career in baseball, his first choice. Fortunately, they are still perfect for running on a piano, twirling the keys, accelerating the rhythms and inventing without pausing sounds that make Miles Davis himself pale !
Even today, his hits leave no one indifferent. And one sometimes wonders from what spirit these experimental sounds come out of, at the limit of musical knowledge. Because almost every decade has been marked by a UFO by Herbie Hancock. Since the Watermelon man of his RockIt debut and his clip as zany as the title is revolutionary. As if classical music and existing genres were not enough for him, the jazz maestro set out to invent his own sound worlds to take us on a journey through styles. As he so aptly put it, "My way of being constant is to change constantly".
It doesn't matter if some purists grind their teeth, he's used to it! Already in his youth, he took the opposite approach to his classical training and started to improvise. And since then, nobody has been able to thwart this free spirit of explosive success. Yet he juggles on a fine thread, touching on everything and always drawing the best from pop, funk, rock or even grunge to link it to jazz in a subtle balance and always in the era of time. A fusion of styles that will take this insatiable innovator to new heights, which, at 80 years old, he is not about to go down again.
From his first album, Herbie Hancock hits the bull's eye ! His title, Watermelon man, which will be a hit for Mongo Santamaria, already shows his influences and his creative singularity. Inspired by the singing of a watermelon seller and the sound of his cart, he gave birth to a great jazz hit and was spotted in passing by one of his legends: Miles Davis, who immediately invited him to join his new quintet !
Herbie Hancock will spend 6 years at Miles Davis' side, releasing in parallel several experimental albums that will help him to forge his reputation and explore unknown tonalities. But it was in 1973 that he came back in force with Headhunters, a more accessible, fresh and energetic music that would inspire artists in fields as varied as jazz, soul, hip-hop and funk for many years to come.
A robot doing breakdance, some puppets straight out of horror films and scratch in the background for the first time in a mainstream composition. It was with RockIt that the talented artist began the 80s, his video winning five awards at the MTV Video Music Awards. This is the first in a long series of tracks in which Hancock allows himself to go wild exploring electronic music.
The end of the 90s and the 2000s will be marked as much by the creativity as by the commitment of the jazzman. Founder of several associations, he now puts his claims to music by producing in 1997, the album 1+1, which features the Grammy Award winning song Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2010, he will produce The Imagine Project, a tribute album to John Lennon and a work advocating world peace. He was subsequently appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Herbie Hancock settles down in front of his keyboard and piano and it's off for 1H45 of happiness. It is easy to understand how, in his 40-year career, he has influenced jazz, rock, funk, disco and hip-hop. This concert will remain for me an exceptional moment in the company of one of the legends of jazz.
What an honour to accompany this jazz legend on his visits to France! At over 80 years of age, this extraordinary artist, Miles Davis' companion on the road, tireless inventor of new sounds and exceptional pianist always has energy to spare. With the keyboard slung over his shoulder like a signature, he always ends his concerts by jumping in rhythm to his lifelong hit, Chameleon.
Les musiciens de jazz qui de nos jours peuvent mettre sur une affiche, avec leur nom, la mention « World Tour », se comptent sur les doigts d’une main. C’est le cas pour le pianiste et compositeur américain Herbie Hancock.
Du quintet de Miles Davis à des concessions disco passagères, ce prodige du piano aura mis du free dans son jazz-rock, des paillettes dans son funk, de l’électronique dans son swing. Si sa dimension visionnaire est en veilleuse depuis quelque temps, Herbie Hancock, qui se produit à Paris, reste un monument dont la visite réclame plusieurs détours.