Apr 5, 2012
At the age of 71, Herbie Hancock shows no sign of letting up. Currently on tour with a quartet that includes Trevor Lawrence on drums, James Genus on electric bass and Lionel Loueke on guitar, the venerable pianist played a hit-laden show at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ last week. Through the magic of the internet, you can grab a listen at the wonderfl Jazz Blues and Co Bootleg site.
Hancock serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador,
and his first major initiative is to establish International
Jazz Day to be held on April 30 of every year. That date coincides
with the last day of what has been celebrated as Jazz Appreciation
Month in the U.S.
This year's inaugural event - organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs - will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York as well as jazz-related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay.
The official kick-off will be on April 27 with an all-day
program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master
classes, roundtable discussions and improvisational workshops. An
evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee
Dee Bridgewater,, South Africa's Hugh Masekela and Brazil's
Tania Maria, among others.
Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New Orleans' Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, which comes right after the first weekend of the city's Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The concert will present local jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Kermit Ruffins and the Treme Brass Brand. Hancock plans to perform his funky standard "Watermelon Man" with high school students from around the world via an Internet link.
He then will fly to New York for a sunset all-star jazz concert for the international diplomatic corps at the U.N. General Assembly Hall to be hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones. The concert will be streamed live via the U.N. and UNESCO websites.
Its lineup already includes Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath. The Americans will be joined by an international cast of musicians spanning different genres, including Richard Bona (Cameroon), Hiromi Uehara (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), and Romero Lubambo (Brazil).