Tag: Herbie Hancock

R.I.P. Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Artist Roy Hargrove, 49

Roy Hargrove performing at the Marseille Jazz Festival of the Five Continents in July. (Credit: Claude Paris/Associated Press)

by Giovanni Russonello via nytimes.com

Roy Hargrove, a virtuoso trumpeter who became a symbol of jazz’s youthful renewal in the early 1990s, and then established himself as one of the most respected musicians of his generation, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 49.

His death, at Mount Sinai Hospital, was caused by cardiac arrest brought on by kidney disease, according to his manager, Larry Clothier. He said Mr. Hargrove had been on dialysis for 13 years.

Beginning in his high school years Mr. Hargrove expressed a deep affinity for jazz’s classic lexicon and the creative flexibility to place it in a fresh context. He would take the stock phrases of blues and jazz and reinvigorate them while reminding listeners of the long tradition whence he came.

“He rarely sounds as if he stepped out of a time machine,” the critic Nate Chinen wrote in 2008, reviewing Mr. Hargrove’s album “Earfood” for The New York Times. “At brisk tempos he summons a terrific clarity and tension, leaning against the current of his rhythm section. At a slower crawl, playing fluegelhorn, he gives each melody the equivalent of a spa treatment.”

In the late 1990s, already established as a jazz star, Mr. Hargrove became affiliated with the Soulquarians, a loose confederation of musicians from the worlds of hip-hop and neo-soul that included Questlove, Erykah Badu, Common and D’Angelo. For several years the collective convened semi-regularly at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, recording albums now seen as classics. Mr. Hargrove’s sly horn overdubs can be heard, guttering like a low flame, on records like “Voodoo,” by D’Angelo, and “Mama’s Gun,” by Ms. Badu.

“He is literally the one-man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music,” Questlove wrote on Instagram after Mr. Hargrove’s death.

Even as he explored an ever-expanding musical terrain, Mr. Hargrove did not lose sight of jazz traditions. “To get a thorough knowledge of anything you have to go to its history,” he told the writer Tom Piazza in 1990 for an article about young jazz musicians in The New York Times Magazine. “I’m just trying to study the history, learn it, understand it, so that maybe I’ll be able to develop something that hasn’t been done yet.”

In 1997 he recorded the album “Habana,” an electrified, rumba-inflected parley between American and Cuban musicians united under the band name Crisol. The album, featuring Hargrove originals and compositions by jazz musicians past and present, earned him his first of two Grammy Awards.

His second was for the 2002 album “Directions in Music,” a live recording on which he was a co-leader with the pianist Herbie Hancock and the tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. That album became a favorite of jazz devotees and music students trying to envision a future for acoustic-jazz innovation.

In the 2000s, Mr. Hargrove released three records with RH Factor, a large ensemble that built a style of its own out of cool, electrified hip-hop grooves and greasy funk from the 1970s.

He held onto the spirit that guided those inquiries — one of creative fervor, tempered by cool poise — in the more traditionally formatted Roy Hargrove Quintet, a dependable group he maintained for most of his career. On “Earfood,” a late-career highlight, the quintet capers from savvy updates of jazz standards to original ballads and new tunes that mix Southern warmth and hip-hop swagger.

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Run-D.M.C. to Become 1st Rappers to Receive GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award

Run-D.M.C.
Run D.M.C. will receive a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock and Jefferson Airplane (Michael Ochs/Getty)

Run-D.M.C. are among the artists who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the GRAMMYs this year. The iconic rap group will be honored at a ceremony and concert to be held this spring. In addition to naming the Queens rappers, the Recording Academy also announced it will honor Ruth Brown, Celia Cruz, Earth, Wind & Fire, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jefferson Airplane and Linda Ronstadt with the award.

“I just got a call from the Grammys!! They shocked me!! We’re the first rappers to get this award!!,” Rev Run tweeted. “Shocked! Grateful!. God is good!! I’m so honored to be a #GRAMMYs Lifetime Achievement Award recipient this year. Thank you to the recording Academy!”

The trio – comprising Rev Run (given name Joseph Simmons), Darryl McDaniels (D.M.C.) and Jason Mizell, who performed as Jam Master Jay – blended their defining style of rap with hard rock elements and jazz touches, which gained them popularity both on the pop and R&B charts and paved the way for many rap groups to follow.

In 2002, following the group’s tour with Aerosmith and a year after the release of Crown RoyalJam Master Jay was murdered during a studio session in Queens. In the wake of the tragedy, Run and DMC officially disbanded the group. The surviving members have since performed together, including for their reunion in 2012 at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Though Run-D.M.C. have never previously won a GRAMMY, they were the first rap collective to be nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance in 1986 before the rap category had been formed, according to FADER.

The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will air on CBS on February 15th at 8 p.m. ET.

article by Althea Legaspi via rollingstone.com

Herbie Hancock Named Harvard’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry

Jazz Luminary Herbie Hancock (Photograph by Guillaume Laurent/Wikipedia)

World-renowned jazz musician and composer Herbie Hancock has been named Harvard University’s 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry.  Hancock will give six lectures this spring on topics that include “The Wisdom of Miles Davis,” “Breaking the Rules,” “Cultural Diplomacy and the Voice Of Freedom,” and “Innovation and New Technologies.”

“It is a great privilege to welcome Herbie Hancock as the Norton Professor,” said Homi Bhabha, Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities and Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, which is hosting the lectures. “His unsurpassed contribution to the history of music has revolutionized our understanding of the ways in which the arts transform our civic consciousness and our spiritual aspirations. It would be no exaggeration to say that he has defined cultural innovation in each decade of the last half-century.”

Born on April 12, 1940, in Chicago, Hancock grew up in a family that wasn’t particularly musical, according to Biography.com. At the age of seven he began studying European classical music, which continues to influence both his playing and composing. At the same time, he was influenced by jazz pianists like George Shearing, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner. As a young teenager, he was playing Mozart with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet (which he joined in 1963), Hancock performed on dozens of albums and established a reputation as an outstanding composer who explored genres outside traditional jazz, ranging from fusion to R&B to hip-hop.

Hancock has also provided scores for a number of TV and film projects, including Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert cartoon series and an accompanying album, as well as for the movies Death Wish (1974), A Soldier’s Story (1984), and Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986). He won an Academy Award for the score to ‘Round Midnight (1986); his other honors include 14 Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year for River: The Joni Letters.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Shines at Kennedy Center Honors

The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors were held on Sunday evening in Washington, D.C., bringing all the good cheer we have come to expect from the annual celebration of our nation’s best performers. First lady Michelle Obama stole the show as usual for her fifth annual appearance at the fete, as she entered its opening reception on President Obama‘s arm.  Wearing an emerald green gown by Marchesa with draping silk framing her biceps, Mrs. Obama looked both fit and glamorous in the strapless piece.

Showcasing her trim figure in the intricate folds of its bodice, the first lady paired this structured garment with big curls tousled away from her face.  “Her makeup was stunning as well — she wore a pretty pink, shiny lip gloss,” according to HollywoodLife.com. “She wore black eyeliner around her eyes with a slightly smokey purple/mauve shadow. Her cheeks were highlighted with a gorgeous blush. She looked so beautiful!”  The softness of her hair was matched by the flow of the full chiffon skirt. Simple silver-toned jewelry completed the look.

President Obama made remarks at the opening reception before the first couple, honorees, and other luminaries attended a performance lauding these creative greats.  “Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, opera star Martina Arroyo and actress Shirley MacLaine all received Kennedy Center Honors at the annual national celebration of the performing arts,” reports E! news, “and top entertainers such as Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks and Don Henley, offered tribute performances for each honoree.”

The entire performance will be broadcast on CBS on December 29.

“The diverse group of extraordinary individuals we honor today haven’t just proven themselves to be the best of the best,” President Obama said. “Despite all their success, all their fame, they’ve remained true to themselves — and inspired the rest of us to do the same.”

article by Alexis Garrett Stodghill via thegrio.com

Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Biopic a Go; Co-Stars Revealed

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The long-planned biopic of Miles Davis, with Don Cheadle playing the innovative trumpet player, is finally set in stone.  BiFrost Pictures told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it will finance and produce the film, titled Kill the Trumpet Player, with Cheadle also making his directorial debut. Production will begin in June 2014.  The production company said the movie will focus on when Davis temporarily retired from making music and then re-emerged in 1979. The script is also written by Cheadle along with Steven Baigelman.

Ewan McGregor will co-star as a Rolling Stone reporter, and Zoe Saldana will play Frances Davis, the trumpet player’s former wife. Davis collaborator Herbie Hancock will be involved in the production.  Cheadle, 48, currently stars on Showtime’s series House of Lies. His other acting credits include Iron Man 3, Flight, Ocean’s Eleven and Hotel Rwanda.  Davis died in 1991 at age 65.

article via eurweb.com

UCLA Adds Two Jazz Greats To Its Faculty

 

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter

 

The Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California at Los Angeles has announced that jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter have joined the faculty of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance. The institute is a two-year graduate program for jazz performing artists. There are currently seven students enrolled in the program. Hancock and Shorter will work with the seven students individually and as a group on composition, improvisation, and artistic expression.

Professor Hancock stated, “Wayne and I look forward to working with and guiding the new class of Monk Fellows. These exceptionally gifted young artists are destined to become some of the most influential jazz musicians of their generation. The mentoring experience will be profound for us, as well. The gift of inspiration in the classroom that develops from the master-apprentice relationship enhances our personal creativity on the bandstand and in the recording studio.”

article via jbhe.com

Smithsonian Magazine Awards Esperanza Spalding with New Honor

Bassist Esperanza Spalding is still wooing crowds with her peculiar style of music; blending jazz, R&B, and classical for one phenomenal sound.

She was awarded for her groundbreaking compositions at the first annual Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Awards. Artists in all categories, including technology, performing and visual arts, natural and physical sciences, education, historical scholarship, social progress and youth achievement were also recognized at a gala event at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on November 28.

Herbie Hancock presented the award to Spalding, and said, “She is magnificent and poetic.”

Since stepping out onto the scene, Spalding has created a genre all her own, fascinating millions and winning over audiences with all types of musical interests. She’s been recently dubbed the “First Lady of Jazz,” and has played with Stevie Wonder for President Barack Obama.

article by Brittney M. Walker via eurweb.com