Legendary jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, Herbie Hancock did not disappoint at the Hollywood Bowl last August. Playing to a near-capacity crowd, Hancock turned his eclectic arrangements and dynamic musical collaboration into a feast for the eyes and ears. Opening supergroup, R+R = NOW—a powerhouse company of musicians, composers and producers drawn from several states and many backgrounds—opened for Hancock, who seemed thrilled to join in, soloing on the keytar during their opening set. The group’s 45-minute run of original material from their featured a funky electronic version of Hancock’s 1974 standard “Chameleon,” performed by synthesizer player Taylor McFerrin. McFerrin’s incredible beatboxing on that tune got the crowd going, followed by an unbelievable version of the Beatles’ “Something” by R+R = NOW bassist Derrick Hodge. (The r’s, by the way, stand for “reflect and respond.”)
At 79 years young, Hancock shows no signs of slowing down, delivering his signature blend of with his blend of traditional jazz stylings and freestyle fusion on electronic keyboard, spiced with stretches on the keytar and vocoder. While his own virtuoso keyboard skills were incredible, he seemed only too happy to promote all of the incredible talent that joined him on stage. R+R= NOW’s Terrace Martin played throughout the evening, ranging from synthesizer to vocoder, keyboard, and alto sax. Tenor saxophonist, Kamasi Washington, bassist Thundercat, multi-instrumentalist Phoelix, and vocalist and flautist Elena Pinderhughes all left the crowd wanting more, and the blend of harmonies between guitarist Lionel Loueke, Washington, and Pinderhughes was particularly magical.
Throughout the evening, the impressive array of talent assembled onstage brought a fresh vibe and new trajectory to Hancock’s classic compositions. A jam including all of the evening’s performers brought the show to a close, highlighted with updated versions of “Canteloupe Island” and “Chameleon,” leaving the audience feeling like a music torch had been lit and handed over to a new generation.
To keep up with Herbie Hancock, you can find him online at herbiehancock.com
To find out more about opening act, R+R = NOW, check out their website at bluenote.com/artist/rrnow
To find out more about guest artists, Phoelix, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, and Elena Pinderhughes, you can find more information online here: