I have just come back from a wonderful two weeks in Italy, and I couldn't have asked for a better holiday! The first week was spent at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia. It was amazing, and I was able to see Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter live! It was so great to see people I have been idolizing for years play in real life. For our masters program, we have to write some reviews of live performances so here's what I have so far :)
July 17th, 2014 - Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter
A surprising (and very welcome) change from the party atmosphere of the Umbria Jazz Festival, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter delivered an inspiring and thought provoking performance. There were no crowd pleasers, no gimmicks, and very thankfully, no audience participation. It was just pure music, a conversation between the two musical legends. It was almost like watching them discuss the meaning of life through their instruments, in the back of a low lit bar, with their favorite beverage.
The excitement in the crowd was palpable as the two elderly musicians slowly walked on stage. Their first few minutes felt like a classical piece of music, as there was no swing feel of any sort. That morphed into just a hint of a groove (played on a mixture of down beats and off beats) leaving the audience with the feeling of floating in outer space. Eventually, Hancock moved over to his electric piano and started forming short musical motifs with the new technology. They explored complex rhythms that challenged the ears of many listeners, but the underlying pulse was visible at every moment in Hancock's playing. Unpredictable interjections of extreme virtuosity helped make it an unforgettable performance.
Their friendship and ability to communicate really came through on stage, though the wind blowing Hancock's music off the piano momentarily diminished the atmosphere. There was no discussion of the pieces played until the very end, which gave the audience the gift of interpretation and creative listening. They informed us at the end how the concert was a journey, how they were trying to dig deeper into the music. Hancock, an obviously profound thinker, left us with this thought, "there is a whole universe inside of you, keep exploring."