New Herbie Hancock Interview

The latest episode of the Art + Music + Technology podcast is an interview with jazz great and synth pioneer Herbie Hancock.

Hancock made short work of establishing himself in the jazz world, playing with Miles Davis and releasing classics like Maiden Voyage while still in his 20s. Hancock went on to expand the reaches of jazz with synthesizers, with albums like Sextant and Head Hunters. In the 80’s, he found mainstream success with Future Shock, an album that mixed jazz with hip hop and electro influences.

If that wasn’t enough for one career, Hancock has created many memorable soundtracks, ranging from the music of the animated Fat Albert to the score for Deathwish. His score for Round Midnight won the 1986 Academy Award for Original Soundtrack.

You can listen to the interview via the embed below, or at the A+M+T site:

Here’s what host Darwin Grosse has to say about the interview:

It’s almost impossible to imagine the road that Herbie’s traveled. From trying to keep up with Miles, to pushing the jazz envelope with the Head Hunters, to his embrace of technology and the awakening that was Rockit, and through his work in collaboration with artists like Paul Simon and Carlos Santana – it’s all been stunning.

In this chat, I don’t spend a lot of time talking about his background (you can learn about this in his autobiography Possibilities); instead, we explore how things influence him – and how he can influence others.

It was an amazing discussion, as is every discussion with Herbie. Many thanks to him for sharing his time with me – and with us. Enjoy!

8 thoughts on “New Herbie Hancock Interview

  1. his recent ipad concerts were aweful trainwrecks. i really felt embarrassed for him when i attended his concert at tonhalle in dusseldorf, germany, a couple of years ago. like chick corea he is not at all good in incorporating current technology into his music. having said that, watermelon man is still a lovely song. best hancock album by far is “vsop – tempest in the colloseum”, featuring the best drummer of all time, tony williams. hancock peaked in the 70´s, a long time ago, unfortunately.

    1. Herbie is no JMJarre bringing in latest technology yet Herbie doesn’t need to be.

      Herbie stands on his own as a giant.

      Sesame Street Herbie is the best Herbie :-))

    2. I’ve been following him 40 years now, and imho even his early synth work was ‘mediocre’ at best. The man is a jazz pianist and one of the greats in that respect. Chick Corea on the other hand imho did a lot better synth wise with Return to Forever and his Electrik Band .. don’t know what he’s up to these days.

      1. You can say that Hancock is no JMJarre, but I don’t think that’s a useful comparison.

        Hancock can play circles around Jarre, has composed standards that every jazz artist knows, and found greater mainstream success with his electronic work, like Rockit.

        But Hancock’s work is always going to be about jamming, which is the opposite of Jarre and a lot of artists, who are more interested in creating new textures and moods.

        1. @Anal
          You total LOG : You didn’t understand what I wrote.
          Flush your comprehension.


          “Herbie is no JMJarre bringing in latest technology yet Herbie doesn’t need to be.

          Herbie stands on his own as a giant.

          Sesame Street Herbie is the best Herbie :-))”

    3. “Peaked in the 70’s”

      Um the single “Rockit” was a pretty solid hit and the video won like 5 MTV music awards this was circa 1984.

  2. I always liked the Mwandishi stuff……the sound of the Rhodes through all those fx pedals…..and ring modulators….the Rhodes on those records still sounds so futuristic even today…..and that brooding clarinet goes so well.

    It must be mindblowing for Herbie Hancock to see VR and how technology has all developed from the early 70s…….will be all be collaborating in VR one day……and be able to design our own virtual studios… could be really mindblowing.

  3. as a 12 year old watching The 84 Grammys on the carpet lounge room floor, when i saw him play Rockit live that night it completely Blew My Mind it was like watching the future and influenced me greatly. i knew it was what i wanted to do when i “grew up” that day

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