Written by: Meredith Berke
Photos by: Allison Murphy
reCAP :: Herbie Hancock :: 2013.10.04
Oct 06 / Sunday
The Kennedy Center announcement said, "Hancock has found a way to fuse Miles Davis and Maurice Ravel, zigzagging between classical music and pop, funk, gospel, soul and the blues — not so much ignoring as redefining the frontiers of jazz... ...Freedom is at the very heart of that constantly changing, most American of all art forms, and few, if any, jazz masters have made as much of that freedom as Herbie Hancock."
Mr. Hancock, a 73-year-old master jazz pianist who has won 14 Grammy Awards and an Oscar, graced The Capitol Theatre’s stage this past Friday evening, with his quartet including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist James Genus, and guitarist Lionel Loueke.
It was a very civilized show, the audience was seated throughout the two hours, tapping their feet and nodding their heads to the jazz flowing off the stage. The show began slowly, with wavering jams up to the solos of Colaiuta, Loueke and Genus.
Vinnie Colaiuta has played with an impressive list of modern music’s greatest, from Frank Zappa and Megadeth to Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Guitarist Lionel Loueke turned the audience silent with his ten minute solo, overdubbing riffs onto each other while singing and tapping to his syncopated guitar. The theater was filled with what sounded like “at least nineteen instruments,” Hancock said later in the show. NPR.org has praised the guitarist “for his fusion of traditional African music with modern jazz harmonies, unique vocal inflections, and complex time signatures.” Mr. Hancock obviously plays with the best.
The last 45 minutes were worth the price of admission, as Mr. Hancock played the grand piano alone. With this particular classical jazz pianist playing a jam by himself, in front of us, it was breathtaking. Amongst 1,500 people, this moment felt intimate, quiet, and with The Cap’s pristine sound I suddenly had goosebumps.
Mr. Hancock then moved to the synth and started a spaced-out funk jam — an electric improv between the Grand Piano and the synth. For more than a moment, we were let into his world, maybe this is what he does when he’s in his studio? It was fascinating and beautiful to hear all at the same time. The audience got up on their feet for the encore, which included Hancock’s well-known song, “Rockit.” The show ended and we left the theater all funked out from Herbie’s space jam, happily and thankfully.
The Capitol Theatre Photo Gallery
Photos by: Allison Murphy
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