“Unbelievable,” said Quincy Jones after he read the winner of the Album of the Year Grammy. My reaction would have needed to be bleeped. River: The Joni Letters by Herbie Hancock, a pure jazz recording, won the music’s biggest award. Herbie said it was the first time in 43 years that a jazz album has won that. What a great thing for jazz.
Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, and Nancy Wilson were among the musicians who paid tribute to the late Oscar Peterson on January 12 at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall. The event, titled “Oscar Peterson: Simply the Best” saw 2500 fans offering a final farewell to the legendary pianist. He died on December 23, at the age of 82, of kidney failure. Several good recaps of the emotional goodbye were written by J.D. Considine, John Stewart (for the Mississauga News), and Scott Anderson (for Reuters). An archive is available at the CBC site. Share your thoughts on Oscar Peterson in The Forum.
David Benoit counts Oscar Peterson as one of his influences. The contemporary jazz pianist is recording an album of compositions from his favorite artists, including Peterson, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, the Doors, the Beatles, and Elton John. It’s titled Heroes and will be out this year.
Also on the topic of tributes: John Beasley has been working on a tribute to Herbie Hancock. He’s joined by Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride and Jeff “Tain” Watts. The recording, expected in March, is the one of the first on a new label called Resonance Records. According to the press release, Resonance Records artists “benefit from an innovative revenue-sharing concept that not only offers greater economic return, but also allows them to produce their music without the typical studio time restrictions and their related expenses.”
Want to know all about Herbie Hancock’s Possibilities recording? Check out Jim Harrington’s June 30 interview with the legend at LiveDaily. Things have changed a bit since I initially reported on it. It appears that the all-star recording will be released on Starbucks’ Hear Music in conjunction with Hancock Records and Vector Records, not Verve. In addition to talents like Sting, Santana, John Mayer, and Paul Simon, Joss Stone and Christina Aguilera have joined the lineup.
Partnering with Hear Music raises the question: will Herbie’s latest be available exclusively at Starbucks? Will it have an advance exclusive for a month prior to retail release like Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill Acoustic? I have not been able to find the answers through news searches. I have not seen it advance listed at Amazon.com, which is unusual given that it is due in less than two months. Possibilities is currently expected on August 30.
This year looks to be the year of the Herbie. Word hit yesterday that Herbie Hancock is doing four concerts this year with a new Headhunters group: guitarists John Mayer and Lionel Loueke, bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and percussionist Munyungo Jackson. Whoa!