Herbie Hancock is one of those names that exists in the everlasting edifice of world-shaping music, alongside people like Prince, Coltrane, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. He’s a living legend, a pioneer, a genius and deserves every other title of high musical praise you can think of. Hancock, a pianist and composer, got started early, getting picked up by Miles Davis at the age of 23, shortly after releasing his first solo album, Takin’ Off, which contained the first iteration of his tune “Watermelon Man.” “Watermelon Man” went on to be revived and reimagined many times by Hancock and others, including Latin jazz maestro Mongo Santamaria. Hancock himself went on to reshape the sound of jazz with his far-out voicings, rhythmic complexity, and chordal schemes, later embracing synthesizers, drum machines and funk. His 1973 album Head Hunters and 1983 album Future Shock helped shape the sound of funk and hip-hop, with the hit single “Rockit” from the latter album becoming an anthem for burgeoning hip-hop culture. It’d be a hard task to find somewhere in the world of music that Herbie Hancock’s influence can’t be heard.
New Yorkers rejoice: Herbie Hancock is coming to a stage near you! On Aug. 11, Hancock will be at the Prospect Park Bandshell for the last BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn benefit concert of the season, joined by a cast of top-notch jazz musicians. Opening for the mighty man will be the young Canadian hip-hop/jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD and the Robert Glasper Experiment, led by jazz pianist Robert Glasper, who is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant, talented and innovative musicians making and shaping music today. Go down to your local ticket vendor to pick up tickets–they’re not cheap but they will absolutely be worth it.