It is without question that the word “jazz” epitomizes the legendary “Herbie Hancock”, and vice-versa. Both, synonymous and interchangeable within the worlds of freeform, adventurous, voyeuristic soundscapes.
The 2018 TD Toronto Jazz Festival welcomed Herbie Hancock to the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, a definitive highlight of the festival this year.
Flanked by longtime drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr., with SNL bassist James Genus, and West African guitar wizard Lionel Loueke.
Navigating, with opener “Overture (Fascinating Rhythm)”, Hancock behind a Kronus keyboard, piano & Keytar, whetted the audience with a prelude odyssey, touching decisively and collaboratively with his bandmates, highlighting their instrumental intonation.
Next, “Actual Proof” from Hancock’s 1974 classic album “Thrust” showcased guitarist Lionel Loueke’s uncanny interfuse of African Xhosa language of rhythmic tongue clicks with synth-like tonal guitar cadence.
Impresario Hancock continued with “Come Running to Me”, highlighting and defining why the term vanguardist was apropos, incorporating voice-technology to his stealth-like keyboard proficiency to the 1978 piece.
A new piece “Secret Sauce” enthralled the audience with its dizzying display of intuitive musicianship, highlighted by Hancock’s famous Keytar focused to the front of the stage (finally), dueling with Loueke’s guitar sonics to immense appreciation.
Closing with 1964 album Empyrean Isles jazz standard “Cantaloupe Island”, the piece continues to sound unspoiled, ‘au courant’ and glistening new.
Encore piece “Chameleon” from 1973’s Head Hunters roused the loud, grateful audience, many rushing to the stage to participate in its funky, mesmerizing charm. With Keytar strapped, Hancock effortlessly glided from end-to-end, shredding his Keytar to boundless, reciprocal enthusiasm.
Overture (Fascinating Rhythm)
Come Running to Me