Concert Review: Herbie Hancock at the 2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Herbie Hancock at the 2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival on Saturday evening

Dan Nawrocki / TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Herbie Hancock
2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
Top Shelf Main Stage
Reviewed Saturday

The 2018 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival’s predominant stage sequence completed Saturday evening with a déjà vu expertise for music followers who had seen keyboard nice Herbie Hancock play in Confederation Park in 2008 and 2010.

It was anticipated and possibly even iconic when, for an encore to his super-sized set this yr, Hancock strapped on his keytar and pumped out a hardy rendition of his basic funk hit Chameleon. Hancock rocked his ax on centre stage earlier than buying and selling twisted, knotty phrases with guitarist Lionel Loueke. When the two of them acquired going with their high-tech sounds and rarefied melodies, they may as nicely have been two aliens conversing over the groovy basis offered by bassist James Genus and drummer Trevor Lawrence.

By that point, it was practically 10:15 pm. Hancock, 78, had been taking part in since eight:35 p.m. by means of the muggiest, most sweltering evening of this yr’s competition.

Some would say that Hancock was pandering by strutting round along with his synth. Indeed, some followers preferring Hancock’s acoustic-jazz forays, equivalent to his 2002 National Arts Centre live performance or his 2004 jazz competition live performance with Wayne Shorter, had been let down by the preponderance of electrical sounds and absence of swing from the bandstand.

But even when Hancock was reaching informal music followers with modern grooves and large-scale efficiency gestures, he nonetheless explored his musical materials with the similar adventurous spirit and signature sophistication that has lifted him above nearly all different jazz pianists since his star first rose with Miles Davis in the early 1960s. Also, his band exhibited the similar sort of fast reflexes and interactive skills that made Hancock’s early music thrilling.

Hancock and firm performed simply six items Saturday evening, specifically:

Actual Proof
Come Running To Me
Secret Sauce
Cantaloupe Island / Flying

In reality, Chameleon was performed twice, as at the finish of the wide-ranging piece Overture, Hancock introduced the band into an abbreviated model of it. Hancock devotees would have famous that the first cross by means of Chameleon allowed him to tear by means of the tune’s lesser-played and harmonically wealthy part whereas he was at the piano. Later throughout the live performance, they’d even have heard Hancock toss out snippets of his tunes Butterfly and One Finger Snap, like musical Easter eggs.

Overture was a protracted, wending piece that started ominously with Hancock portray with sound utilizing his Korg Kronos keyboard. When he moved to piano, his taking part in was extra austere and even poignant. The piece shifted gears for Loueke’s solo, which allowed him to snarl and howl by means of his instrument, after which Hancock dug in at the piano, taking part in with a gymnast’s agility when he handled rhythms, cascading harmonies, an musical motifs.

Actual Proof, a high-octane mid-’70s funk tune by Hancock, had tour de power written throughout it. Hancock once more demonstrated his musical suppleness with a solo that started strongly, after which downshifted and later crested. Speaking an analogous musical language, Loueke delivered a slippery, whistle-y, warbling solo.

Come Running To Me, from Hancock’s 1978 album Sunlight, featured the keyboardist utilizing vocoder-type expertise to digitize his voice and sing. While the tune was extra relaxed that Actual Proof had been, it nonetheless allowed for Hancock to burn at the piano.

About an hour into his set, Hancock and his band performed Secret Sauce, a sprawling new piece. Loueke’s guitar sound was extra steely and Hancock shifted to his synthesizer to stretch out, and ultimately the keytar made its first look. After, the crowd greeted Hancock’s well-known piano intro to Canteloupe Island with a roar and the band dove right into a mash-up of that beloved Hancock tune with Flying,

Hancock, who has not launched an album since 2010, reportedly has a brand new album in the works that can options such new-generation skills as Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington. If Ottawa jazz followers are fortunate, Hancock, pushing 80 or so, may sooner or later deliver a few of that new music to the competition. But if not, there’s all the time Actual Proof, Canteloupe Island and Chameleon, which Hancock frequently invests with new life.

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