Herbie Hancock: All That’s Jazz!

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.

Bonus mate­r­i­al:

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.

 

Dave Brubeck Gets an Uplifting Musical Surprise from a Young Violinist in Moscow (1997)

Decem­ber 2, 1997. Exact­ly ten years after his first vis­it to Moscow, jazz leg­end Dave Brubeck returned to per­form before the fac­ul­ty and stu­dents of the Moscow Con­ser­va­to­ry. Dur­ing his con­cert, an audi­ence mem­ber asked him to impro­vise on the old Russ­ian sea shan­ty “Ej, Uhnem.” About two min­utes into the impro­vi­sa­tion, a young vio­lin­ist rose from his seat and start­ed to play along. You just have to love Dav­e’s sur­prised look at 2:09.

This young man turned out to be a stu­dent at the con­ser­va­to­ry. His name is Denis Kolobov and he is now a vio­lin­ist of inter­na­tion­al renown. Denis must have mus­tered up all of his courage to cut into the per­for­mance of one of the great jazz pianists. But the day before, French jazz vio­lin­ist Stéphane Grap­pel­li had died in Paris and Denis decid­ed to hon­or Grap­pel­li’s mem­o­ry in this way. What a great idea!

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.

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