Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Herbie Hancock New Los Angeles Philharmonic Jazz Creative Chair

Herbie Hancock has grand plans for his new position as the Los Angeles Philharmonic's creative chair for jazz.

The two-year stint, which begins in 2010, includes overseeing jazz programming for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, helping to hire musicians and mentoring young artists. The 69-year-old Los Angeles resident will take over from bassist Christian McBride.

"I'm interested in cross-pollination of music of various cultures," Hancock said Monday. "And I would like to see more interaction between visuals and music. Ballet or some sort of pop-oriented kind of dance interacting with jazz, visuals done with computer graphics or film segments with jazz, or a mixture of jazz and other genres."

Hancock — who won Grammys in 2008 for album of the year and best contemporary jazz album for "River: The Joni Letters," a tribute to his longtime friend Joni Mitchell — has been known for pulling from different musical and art forms.

He is working on a new album, which also takes from different cultures. He describes it as capturing "peace through global collaboration."

The album pairs artists such as Chaka Khan with Ravi Shankar's daughter Anoushka Shankar and Tracy Chapman with West African singer Oumou Sangare.

Other musicians he's tapped for the album — due out in 2010 — include Jeff Beck and Dave Matthews.

"Our same language is our commonality as human beings," Hancock said. "What I think about now is purpose. I didn't think about purpose years ago. It was `write this tune.' Now I think about what do people need, what does humanity need, what can I do to help in my way."

Hancock attributes his outlook to chanting three hours a day and practicing Buddhism. It helps him to discover himself, he said, and reach out to others.
"I don't want to lock myself into a box, a comfort zone," Hancock said. "I want to spread this out throughout the globe, and make a record not just for American audiences."

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