Storytelling for Social Change

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock is an internationally famous American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis’s Second Great Quintet, he was one of the primary creators of the “post-bop” sound. Hancock has combined a unique blend of jazz, blues, modern classical music (like Debussy and Ravel), and sheer funk. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable sound through a career that spans five decades and includes 14 Grammy® Awards, including 2008 Album of the Year, River: The Joni Letters.
Hancock’s best-known solo works include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. Recently Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue. In 2013 he joined the University of California, Los Angeles faculty as a professor in the UCLA music department where he teaches jazz music.

There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. As the immortal Miles Davis said in his autobiography, “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him.”
Hancock was recently appointed 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. He will deliver a series of six lectures on poetry, “The Norton Lectures” – poetry “interpreted in the broadest sense, including all poetic expression in language, music, or fine arts.” Previous Norton lecturers include musicians Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky and John Cage. Hancock’s theme is “The Ethics of Jazz”.

This event was sponsored by KPFA Radio & Marcus Books,Saturday, November 1, 2014.

Greg Bridges (G1 Rhythm) is a radio dj and journalist living in Oakland. He can be heard over KCSM 91.1fm ( Tuesday nights 6 to 9 pm, and Thursday nights 6 pm to 2 am, on KPFA (94.1fm) Monday nights 8 to 10 pm, and as a contributor to KPFA’s Hip Hop, social affairs and music show HardKnock Radio. Greg has written for various publications including Jazz Now Magazine and Bayshore Magazine.