For my first ever Herbie Hancock show, the jazz legend exceeded all expectations. Upon stepping onstage, the hometown hero was warmly welcomed with a round of applause. Truly a seasoned performer, Hancock roused up a few laughs even with his brief introduction. The crowd was in for even more of a treat with his incredibly talented band. Bassist James Genus regularly plays bass on Saturday Night Live when he is not on tour. Genus has toured with Hancock, Whitney Houston, Chick Corea, and Anita Baker. Drummer Vinnie Colaiuta joined Frank Zappa for several studio and live performances before going on to tour with Sting and Jeff Beck. He has won Drummer of the Year from Modern Drummer and has been inducted into the magazine’s Hall of Fame. Lastly, critically acclaimed producer Terrace Martin joined on keyboards and alto saxophone. Martin has worked with some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, and P Diddy.
The talented crew started the night off by transporting the audience to another world, starting with a funky space tune. During the first song, my jaw dropped for the first of many times with Martin’s sax solo. During the remainder of this set, each of the masterful musicians showcased his talents. Herbie seamlessly oscillated between his keyboard and piano. At times, it felt like blinking would detract from the awe-inspiring experience of watching Hancock’s fingers rapidly, yet gracefully dance across the keys. Although the transitions between songs were abrupt, those sudden stops were almost necessary to pull the audience out of the otherworldly daze the band had so skillfully developed for us.
The performance, which spanned almost 2 hours, ended with “Cantaloupe Island.” Herbie received a standing ovation. The band left the stage for a couple minutes before reemerging for an encore with the super funky “Chameleon.” Overall, this performance climbs into the ranks of my top performances. The impressive musicianship of not only the legendary Hancock himself, but also his much sought after support, is something I will remember for ages.