10/12/11

Herbie Hancock: Solo Piano

Report of performance by pianist at Verizon Hall- Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia kicked off its 10th Anniversary Season of jazz performances with Grammy Award winning pianist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock in Verizon Hall. The jazz legend was warmly greeted by the audience with a standing ovation.

The show got underway with a bit of comic relief when the microphone stand broke and Herbie Hancock joked that if he had been a rock star he would have thrown it into the audience. Herbie’s opening remarks included an appreciation for Philadelphia’s “culture and rhythm.”

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Herbie Hancock in performance at Kimmel Center in Philadelphia
By Ben Johnson
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Herbie Hancock in performance at Kimmel Center in Philadelphia
By Ben Johnson

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Embarking on his first piano solo tour, Herbie described the solo performance like “being naked; except for all of the electronic machines.” Herbie even paid tribute to Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs as he showed off his display of synthesizers, Apple computers and other hi-tech devices that created the full band sound creating the back beat for several of the tunes he later performed.

Herbie began his performance with soft and gentle variations of "Footprints" by composer Wayne Shorter; followed by his signature work “Dolphin Dance.” You could hear a pin drop as the audience remained still and attentive until the final delicate chords were played. Herbie, demonstrated that he still has the magic touch on the piano and it was apparent during a funky interpretation of “Cantaloupe Island.”

As the show concluded and the audience applause seemed to be unending, we weren’t sure if there would be an encore. Suddenly, Herbie, now age 71, reappeared on his Roland AX-Synth Shoulder Synthesizer Keytar and brought the house to its feet with a great rendition of “Chameleon”'. Herbie became a one-man funk band and the crowd loved it.

Stay tuned for more reviews from the Kimmel Center 10th Anniversary Season of jazz music. Philadelphia is alive with Jazz!

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