Happy Jazz Appreciation Month! In case you missed it, in 2002, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History declared April as Jazz Appreciation Month, or JAM. What better way is there to celebrate the heritage and history of jazz in Philadelphia than with this news of an exclusive, one-night-only double header of Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington at The Met on August 4th?
You heard that right. Hancock and Washington. One stage. Two artists. Two sets. An absolutely can’t-miss show. Hancock is legendary pianist and composer who has been active in the jazz and popular music scene since the 1960s. If the sheer length of his career isn’t impressive enough for you, consider this: Hancock has won an Academy Award, 14 Grammy awards, including album of the year for River: The Joni Letters, and currently serves as the Creative Chair for Jazz at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and as Institute Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.
Most of all, Hancock is celebrated for bridging the divide between the old and new jazz worlds. His funky, catchy tunes have become classics, and still he continues to push into the next sonic frontier. Audience members at the Met will be treated to a sampling of Hancock’s highly anticipated upcoming album, which has been in the works for several years, as well as music from throughout his career. Hancock will be joined by an all-star band featuring Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), James Genus (bass), Lionel Loueke (guitar), and Terrace Martin (multiple instruments).
While Washington may be forty years younger than Hancock, he is quickly becoming one of modern jazz’s brightest stars. Washington was a promising multi-instrumental musician from a young age, and he formed his first band in high school with Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, Ronald Bruner, Jr. and Cameron Graves. After studying ethnomusicology at UCLA, Washington released his debut album, The Epic, in 2015 to rave reviews from critics. Since then, Washington has released Heaven and Earth in 2018 and The Choice, as well as his debut short film, As Told To G/D Thyself which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is available on Apple Music.
The pairing of Hancock and Washington is no coincidence. It’s rumored that Washington will be featured on Hancock’s upcoming album, as well as other big names such as Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Snoop Dogg. Not only does this show have stunning line up, but its placement at the Met Philadelphia is equally important, as the newly restored Metropolitan Opera House once hosted jazz’s finest performers in the 1950s, including Billie Holiday, who performed there on November 30, 1954.
Tickets for the Hancock and Washington show go on sale Friday April 12 at 10 a.m.; more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. To tide you over until August, check out this video of Hancock, Washington, and more live at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.
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