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Herbie Tackles Folk Jazz

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 30, 2007 5:24PM

hancock_jackrobinson-1.jpgJazz legend Herbie Hancock has been stretching the boundaries of modern music composition for the past 50+ years, but he’s not content to rest on his past accomplishments. He’s currently touring to support River: The Joni Letters, a collection of vocal and instrumental arrangements either composed or influential on the venerable Joni Mitchell. Guest vocalists on the album include most of the right-now voices in modern jazz-pop, like Corinne Bailey Rae, Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Luciana Souza, Tina Turner, and Mitchell herself. It’s an interesting project to tackle for the nearly 70-year-old Chicago native, who made his mark with jazzbos and casual consumers of free form music alike as a member of Miles Davis’ “second great quintet” in the 1960’s, but Hancock has never shied away from pushing the envelop of composed music.

One of Mitchell’s lasting legacies is the use of unconventional tunings and complex chord progressions, both facets that Hancock has successfully channeled, internalized, and reinterpreted on River. His stop tonight at the Symphony Center should span the five plus decades of his influential canon while imparting on the audience what the man is all about: tirelessly championing the exploration of new frontiers in music.

The Herbie Hancock Quartet plays the Symphony Center tonight | 7:30pm