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Herbie Hancock Returning to Prague

Legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock is coming to Prague’s O2 Universum on Nov. 9, 2019. Tickets go on sale May 24 at 9 am on the Ticketmaster network.

Now 79 years old, Hancock has been at the forefront of jazz for almost six decades. He was seen as a child prodigy, playing a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 12. He started his adult career in 1961.

Hancock’s output includes 41 studio albums, 12 live albums, five soundtracks and 62 compilation albums. One of his early soundtrack efforts was Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 art film Blow Up, which helped to boost is visibility.

From 1963 to ’68, he was a member of one of the most influential jazz bands of history, Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet, and one of the pioneers of the jazz avant-garde. Following this he began to explore a more electronic sound, working with various musicians and releasing albums under his own name.

He was a founding member of the Headhunters, which formed in 1973. The band is still active, but without Hancock’s participation. The group combined electric jazz, funk and rock into an unconventional style that still influences contemporary music.

The album Head Hunters (stylized as two words) was Hancock’s most successful of this era, reaching number one on the R&B charts and number 2 on the traditional jazz charts in the US. Head Hunters contained two of Hancock’s signature tunes, “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man.”

During the 1970s he also continued to collaborate with acoustic musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams — all of whom had also worked with Miles Davis. This resulted in the 1977 album VSOP.

The Future Shock album from 1983 marked Hancock’s invasion into the world of electronic dance music with several hits including ‘Rockit.” 

The 1990s saw him continue to pursue both traditional jazz, with releases like 1994’s d A Tribute to Miles as well as the same year’s acid jazz album Dis Is da Drum. He turned to jazz interpretations of pop songs with 1995’s The New Standard which covers songs by Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Prince and Peter Gabriel.

His 2007 album River: The Joni Letters won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. It was just the second time that a jazz album took that prize. In total, he has 14 Grammys for his work in R&B, jazz and pop. Hancock also has an Academy Award from 1986 for the original soundtrack to Round Midnight, among many other accolades.

He has an acting career as well, including a role as the defense minister in the 2017 English-language French sci-fi film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Hancock was last in Prague in November 2017 as part of the Strings of Autumn festival.

For more information visit the event on Facebook

Author: Raymond Johnston

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