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Herbie Hancock as music ambassador

posted 11 Feb 2011, 17:12 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 11 Feb 2011, 17:39 ]

Herbie Hancock plays global music ambassador with an album that features collaborations with artists from around the world.

HANCOCK RECORDS - Jazz giant Herbie Hancock has released an album of collaborations in which he highlights what he believes are the positive effects of globalization. "The Imagine Project" was inspired by the global ripple effect of the economic crisis in 2008 and features an array of musicians singing in their native languages and recordings from studios all over the world.

As Hancock put it, the crisis told him that globalization was not going away and that his task as a musician was to find a way to promote it as something that is good and that works.

In a way it's a no-brainer, because of the way music works, when you collaborate with others, you don't think about what country they came from," said Hancock. "So I said 'Why don't I do a record about global collaboration that is about peace?'"

The album features well-known contemporary artists including Pink, Seal, Dave Matthews, Juanes and Los Lobos.

Hancock recently played for Chinese President Hu Jintao at a White House state dinner. While he and other artists performed their program, including Hancock's famous 1962 hit "Watermelon Man," the atmosphere warmed up.

"There was magic in the air and smiles on everyone's faces. I could see that President Hu also had this radiant kind of smile that wasn't there before we played our music," said Hancock.

After completing this project, the prolific 70-year-old pianist says he wants to play more classical music concerts. He will open the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2011/12 season with its young conductor Gustavo Dudamel in an all-Gershwin program including Hancock playing "Rhapsody in Blue."

"The Imagine Project" album was released June 22, 2010 and is up for three Grammy awards.