Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock The Imagine Project Royal Festival Hall 2010 November
A stunning evening of music with flawless sound throughout. This nearly lived up to the promise of the CD version of ‘The Imagine Project’, which is to say, some of the best music you’ve ever heard, with an admirable ‘heal the planet’ message. I’m no longer a starry-eyed, young anarchist,(“Imagine there’s no countries”, easy if you’re rich, and stoned, Mr Lennon.) but I was deeply moved by the spirituality of this recorded-around -the-world, genre-fusing album with its host of guest stars - Pink, Wayne Shorter, Jeff Beck, The Chieftains among many more - and its fascinating choices; Kate Bush, psychedelic Beatles, rousing soul,gospel and funk, Spanish and Bob Dylan, with its roots piano, folk guitar duel. All recorded as live as possible. Please investigate on Herbiehancock.com
In my view HH is one the greatest musicians ever to draw breath, his unique ever-evolving piano virtuosity well in evidence throughout the concert. He is a worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and how many people have written three enduring pop hits while remaining at the cutting edge of Jazz, both electric and acoustic?
However, I have to register some stage craft objections. After opening with a blistering, furiously funky version of Actual Proof, with more chops on display than a Bruce Lee movie, HH walked off, with an appropriately droll remark. When he came back he treated us to a ten to fifteen minute (it felt like fifteen minutes) rambling dissertation. Perhaps he’d had an especially large cup of coffee offstage. something was inspiring him to bond with the audience but our initial hospitable laughter was starting to strain as the peroration continued.

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