Herbie Hancock coming to Beaver Creek
August 19, 2010
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.
Pianist and composer Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 12 Grammy Awards, including the 2007 Album of the Year for “River: The Joni Letters,” he continues to amaze and astound audiences.
Hancock, a piano prodigy who played classical concerts in his native Chicago at age 11, saw his career skyrocket after he became part of one of jazz’s greatest groups, the Miles Davis Quintet of the later 1960s. He has been one of the most influential musicians ever since.
The Vilar Performing Arts Center is honored to present Hancock on Wednesday for a night of unforgettable music. The evening will feature many of his most famous jazz classics like “Chameleon,” “Cantaloupe Island” and “Maiden Voyage,” as well as music from his latest recording, “The Imagine Project.” If you have not had a chance to listen to this album I encourage you to go online and do so.
Following is a description of this project from the artist’s website: “Herbie Hancock’s ‘Imagine Project’ is an unprecedented international recording and film project, featuring collaborations between music legend Herbie Hancock and a dozen superstars from every region of the planet. It utilizes the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility. The Imagine Project embodies an extraordinary lineup of international superstars from all corners of the world. Artists include Dave Matthews, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, The Chieftains, John Legend, India Arie, Seal, Pink, Juanes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Chaka Khan, K’Naan, Wayne Shorter, James Morrison, and Lisa Hannigan. The album and film stand, on one level, as powerful testaments for the goals of world peace, humanity and tolerance, and respect for our planet, but The Imagine Project shall remain at its core, entertainment content that is creatively and emotionally deeply fulfilling.”
While Hancock can’t tour with all of the stars who performed on “The Imagine Project,” he is traveling with an accomplished group of musicians, many whom are stars in their own right and who will collaborate to make this an unforgettable evening. Among them are guitarist Lionel Louke and drummer Vinny Colaiuta who have worked with Hancock for years, along with Pino Palladino on bass.
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Vocals are shared by keyboard player Greg Phillinganes and female vocalist Kristina Train. Train sings in a smoky, soulful style that calls to mind Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse, and she has been compared to Dusty Springfield. She has opened for the likes of Chris Isaak, Susan Tedeschi and Keb’ Mo’, while most recently she contributing vocals to Marc Cohn’s latest album, “Listening Booth.”
Hancock turned 70 this year and he and his fellow musicians have been touring the world, both in celebration of this milestone, his music and the Imagine Project. The Vilar Center is the only Colorado date on a tour that includes performances at such notable venues and festivals as Carnegie Hall, Massey Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, Newport Jazz Festival, Nice Jazz Festival, Symphony Hall, Ryman Auditorium and the Hollywood Bowl.
Hancock was most certainly on our bucket wish list of legendary artists and we are proud to present him in our intimate venue. I hope you will be able to take part in this momentous occasion.