Chicago native son Herbie Hancock is sending out a message to the world. In his latest recording, “The Imagine Project,” the jazz man, composer, and classically trained pianist has concerns about humanity and its survival. Healing and unity in these hard economic times is the theme reflected in his songs.
The path to peace may not be easy, but don’t tell Hancock, who got his inspiration for this album from John Lennon and believes its time for global communities to come together. So, he packed his bags with the former Beatles’s tune “Imagine” as a catapulting force of creativity, traveling the world to make a recording that speaks to these issues. One year and six countries later, Hancock ended up with a most ambitious musical contribution, “The Imagine Project.”
His labor of love involves the participation of artists from 11 nations, incorporating six languages. Helping the 12-time Grammy Award winner to promote peace and lend their distinctive sounds to the album are Pink, Seal, India Arie, Jeff Beck, Konono No.1, and Oumou Sangare on the first track, Lennon’s “Imagine.” Other featured artists include John Legend, Susan Tedeschi, Juanes, Dave Matthews, Los Lobos, Chaka Khan, Anoushka Shankar, K’Naan, The Chieftans, and more. On the last track, “The Song Goes On,” Hancock teams up with his former gigging pal, saxman Wayne Shorter, from back in the day of Miles Davis and their quintet.
Hancock’s travels took him to London, Mumbai, India, Paris, and other cities where he recorded music and life to create an international album and film project encompassing 12 phenomenal megastars of music who came together to promote global responsibility. The footage he shot while visiting these locations will be used to produce a documentary highlighting the making of the album.
Recording on his own label, Hancock brought in bassist/producer Larry Klein to put his musical twist on the project. Their collaboration has proved successful before when in 2008 the pianist won a Grammy for album of the year, the first jazz recording to win since Getz/Gilberto in 1965.
Not looking at all like his 70 years, (he recently celebrated a birthday in April and he has always looked youthful since the day I met him in Aruba in 1991), Hancock will “Rockit” for more years to come.
To hear songs and see video from “The Imagine Project” go here.
herbiehancock.com, vh1.com, 8notes.com, pbs.org.com, usatoday.com