BNY Mellon Jazz presented Herbie Hancock’s “The Imagine Project” at Heinz Hall and he gave the audience a mesmerizing performance from beginning to end.
In the music industry for nearly five decades, he knows what it takes to captivate his audience through music and song. Young, old, Black and White came to see and hear the piano genius as he took us on a musical journey.
Hancock was joined by Vinnie Colaiuta (percussion), Lionel Loueke (guitar), Pino Palladino (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboard) and Kristina Train (vocals).
The “Imagine Project” consists of 10 tracks is his latest musical effort and was released two months ago. It is an album that will take you on a journey of different sounds for the listener. “A Change Is Gonna Come” featuring James Morrison is a Sam Cooke remake, but Hancock makes it his own. He opened the show with “Actual Proof” from his 1974’s “Thrust” album that was an all-time bass groove classic.
Hancock’s fans were blown away from the spell-binding performance and did not want the concert to end.
“I’ve been a big fan of Herbie Hancock for many years. About five years ago I saw online where you can demand someone come to your town and the artist I picked was Herbie Hancock. There is something about his music that reaches across genres and pulls you in. When I heard his version of Thelonius Funk’s “Round Midnight” it really made me feel great. The way his fingers touch the keys and the flow of his body and hands as he plays makes me feel his soul. It hits me in a place so deep that I cannot reach it,” said fan Phat Man Dee.
Hancock’s performance had the audience in a trance when he just played the piano alone. It was like being in another world where your imagination could run wild. He was captured by the performance and you could tell when he said to the audience “It’s dangerous up here.”
Other musicians were also in attendance to hear the great legend on the keys at Heinz Hall.
“I’ve always loved Herbie Hancock’s music and he reaches across all age groups because I’ve seen elderly people getting down in their seats. All races were here and everyone loves Herbie Hancock. My husband is Skip Peck and we have two sons that are also performers. We have a group called The Skip Peck Trio. He is a composer and has written over 1,500 songs,” said singer Donna Peck.
“Herbie is one of my profound influences and he is a great musician. He has touched every genre with his music and he is an incredible performer. My expectation was a little low coming to the concert and then I was blown away afterwards. I have to get the ‘Imagine Project’ after attending this concert,” said Pittsburgh jazz bassist Paul Thompson.
While certain members of Hancock’s band have toured with him for a while, this was bass player Pino Palladino’s second show with the piano man.
“Playing with Herbie Hancock is incredible. Just to be on stage with him is great and I’m learning more now than I’ve ever learned in my life. This is my second show with Herbie but it felt pretty good. I love the ‘Imagine Project’ and the concept behind the album,” said Palladino.
Hancock ended the show with his major hit “Chameleon” from his 1973 “Head Hunters” album and the audience went crazy as he played the keytar and finished out the show.
Now in the fifth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been, in the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music.