“I think I was supposed to play jazz,” says Herbie Hancock. Hancock is one of the most noted jazz musicians of all time. He was born in Chicago in 1940, and it became apparent early on that he was a child piano prodigy. Herbie performed a Mozart piano concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11, then started playing jazz in high school and later double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College. His fascination with musical gadgets led him to become one of the first jazz pianists to work with electronic keyboards. And his landmark albums blurred the boundaries of music, effortlessly mixing jazz with funk, soul, rhythm and the blues, forever changing the face of jazz. As Miles Davis once said, “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him.”
The documentary above — Herbie Hancock: All That’s Jazz — was produced for KCET’s signature news series “SoCal Connected.” It retraces the most important steps in Hancock’s career and shows us his home, the office where his award-winning music is composed and his private rituals. Very few people know that Herbie is a very religious person — he has been a practicing Buddhist for over forty years.
- Correspondent Michael Okwu shares what it was like to spend time with Herbie Hancock.
- A wonderful performance of Herbie’s famous “Canteloupe Island” with Pat Metheny.
By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.