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Herbie’s World: Herbie Hancock and Friends at JVC

Michael Brecker at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2004

One of the more anticipated events in this year’s JVC Jazz Festival-New York lineup, this Carnegie Hall gala presented the iconic and multi-directional Herbie Hancock (pictured) in four distinct settings that showcased his technical brilliance along with his uncanny open-mindedness and unrelenting creativity.

The concert opened with a regal trio of Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums performing tunes from Hancock’s classic Blue Note period. After a highly interactive rendition of “Toys” (from 1968’s Speak Like A Child) and a radical reworking of the jazz standard “I Thought About You,” which featured an especially lyrical bass solo from Carter, Hancock took the mic to announce the third tune, “One Finger Snap” (from his 1964 classic Blue Note album, Empyrean Isles). “I feel kind of funny doing this tune as a trio because usually I play it with a quartet,” he announced to the capacity crowd before coyly looking into the wings and adding, “There must be some sax player backstage there who could sit in on this one.” And with that, out walked Michael Brecker with tenor sax in hand, to the utter shock of everyone in attendance. The capacity crowd leapt to its feet with unanimous cheers as Brecker backed his way onto the stage from the wings, looking up at the ceiling and turning about in a mock-disoriented, Chaplinesque manner, as if to ask, “Where am I? How did I get here?”

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