Celebrity Series of Boston
Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director
Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock
Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7:30pm — Symphony Hall
(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present duo pianists Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on Sunday, April 12, 2015, at 7:30pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. This performance is sponsored by PTC. Media partner is 89.7 WGBH.
Tickets for Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock are sold out, and patrons may call CelebrityCharge to be added to the wait list at (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
This performance marks Chick Corea’s second appearance with Celebrity Series; his Celebrity Series debut was in 2012 with Gary Burton. This performance marks Herbie Hancock’s Celebrity Series debut.
Jazz pianist Chick Corea is a DownBeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master, as well as the fourth-most nominated artist in Grammy Awards history with 63 nominations – and 20 wins, in addition to a number of Latin Grammys. From straight-ahead to avant-garde, bebop to jazz-rock fusion, children’s songs to chamber and symphonic works, Chick has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his career since playing with the genre-shattering bands of Miles Davis in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Born in 1941 in Massachusetts, Chick remains a tireless creative spirit.
Chick’s classic albums as a leader or co-leader include Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (with Miroslav Vitous and Roy Haynes; Blue Note, 1968), Paris Concert (with Circle: Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland and Barry Altschul; ECM, 1971) and Return to Forever (with Return to Forever: Joe Farrell, Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreria and Flora Purim; ECM, 1972), as well as Crystal Silence (with Gary Burton; ECM, 1973), My Spanish Heart (Polydor/Verve, 1976), Remembering Bud Powell (Stretch, 1997) and Further Explorations (with Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian; Concord, 2012). A venturesome collaborator, Chick has teamed with artists from jazz legend Lionel Hampton to new-generation pianist Stefano Bollani, from banjoist Béla Fleck to vocal superstar Bobby McFerrin. Chick’s duo partnerships with Gary Burton and Herbie Hancock have endured decades.
The latest release from Chick ranks as a new classic in his discography: Trilogy, a live triple-disc set with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade (Concord, 2014). Nominated for two Grammys, the album documents this trio interpreting classic Chick compositions (such as “Spain”), plus previously unreleased pieces by the pianist (“Piano Sonata: The Moon”), an array of jazz standards and even a Prelude by Alexander Scriabin.
In 2012, Chick’s most recent album with vibraphonist Gary Burton, Hot House (Concord), marked the fifth decade of their duo. It earned the pianist two Grammy Awards: Best Instrumental Composition for “Mozart Goes Dancing” (his work for piano, vibes and string quartet) and Best Improvised Jazz Solo (for “Hot House”). These were his 19th and 20th Grammy wins. Chick received the Richard J. Bogomolny Award from Chamber Music America in 2010, and he broke new ground as a composer with The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet and Chamber Orchestra, released in 2013 by the classical label, Deutsche Grammophon. Chick recorded his first album of solo piano in 1971, and he continued his intimate journey with the instrument on Solo Piano – Portraits (Concord, 2014).
For a sold-out international tour and live album in 2008, Chick reconvened his pioneering jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever, which he founded in 1972. The core of the band – Chick with original member Stanley Clarke and veteran Lenny White – produced a Grammy-winning acoustic album in 2011 with Forever (Concord). Then a new version of Return to Forever – with Clarke, White, Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Gambale – toured the world to acclaim, yielding the live CD/DVD The Mothership Returns (Eagle Rock, 2011). In another celebration of kindred spirits, Chick co-led the Five Peace Band with guitarist John McLaughlin, a fellow Miles Davis alum. The group won a Grammy for Five Peace Band Live (Concord, 2009). For 2013 album The Vigil (Concord), Chick put together a new-era electro/acoustic quintet, featuring himself on keyboards and longtime associate Tim Garland on reeds, alongside some hot young players.
Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock has an illustrious career spanning five decades and has won 14 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters. There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. Born in Chicago in 1940, Herbie was a child piano prodigy who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11. He began playing jazz in high school, and also developed a passion for electronics and science. He double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.
In 1960, Herbie was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd. After two years of session work with Byrd as well as Phil Woods and Oliver Nelson, he signed with Blue Note as a solo artist. His 1963 debut album, ‘Takin’ Off’, was an immediate success, producing the hit “Watermelon Man.” In 1963, Miles Davis invited Herbie to join the Miles Davis Quintet. During his five years with Davis, Herbie and his colleagues Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) recorded many classics, including ‘ESP’, ‘Nefertiti’ and ‘Sorcerer’. Later on, Herbie appeared on Davis’ groundbreaking ‘In a Silent Way.’
Herbie’s own solo career blossomed on Blue Note, with classic albums including ‘Maiden Voyage’, ‘Empyrean Isles’, and ‘Speak Like a Child’. He composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film ‘Blow Up’, which led to a successful career in feature film and television music. After leaving Davis, Herbie put together a new band called The Headhunters and, in 1973, recorded ‘Head Hunters.’ With its crossover hit single “Chameleon,” it became the first jazz album to go platinum. In total, Herbie had 11 albums in the pop charts during the 1970s. His ’70s output inspired and provided samples for generations of hip-hop and dance music artists.
In 1980, Herbie introduced the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis to the world as a solo artist, producing his debut album and touring with him as well. In 1983, a new pull to the alternative side led Herbie to a series of collaborations with Bill Laswell. The first, ‘Future Shock’, again struck platinum, and the single “Rockit” rocked the dance and R&B charts, winning a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental. The video of the track won five MTV awards. ‘Sound System’, the follow-up, also received a Grammy in the R&B instrumental category.
Herbie won an Oscar in 1986 for scoring the film “‘Round Midnight”, in which he also appeared as an actor. Numerous television appearances over the years led to two hosting assignments in the 1980s: “Rock School” on PBS and Showtime’s “Coast To Coast”. After an adventurous 1994 project for Mercury Records, ‘Dis Is Da Drum’, he moved to the Verve label, forming an all-star band to record 1996’s Grammy-winning ‘The New Standard’. In 1997, an album of duets with Wayne Shorter, ‘1+1’, was released.
The legendary Headhunters reunited in 1998, recording an album for Herbie’s own Verve-distributed imprint, and touring with the Dave Matthews Band. That year also marked the recording and release of ‘Gershwin’s World’, which included collaborators Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Kathleen Battle, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea. ‘Gershwin’s World’ won three Grammys in 1999, including Best Traditional Jazz Album and Best R&B Vocal Performance for Stevie Wonder’s “St. Louis Blues.”
Herbie reunited with Bill Laswell to collaborate with some young hip-hop and techno artists on 2001’s FUTURE2FUTURE. He also joined with Roy Hargrove and Michael Brecker in 2002 to record a live concert album, ‘Directions In Music: Live at Massey Hall’, a tribute to John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
‘Possibilities’, released in August 2005, teamed Herbie with many popular artists, such as Sting, Annie Lennox, John Mayer, Christina Aguilera, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone and Damien Rice. That year, he played a number of concert dates with a re-staffed Headhunters, and became the first-ever Artist-In-Residence at the Tennessee-based festival Bonnaroo.
In 2007, Hancock recorded and released River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to longtime friend and collaborator Joni Mitchell featuring Wayne Shorter, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and co-produced by Larry Klein. He enlisted vocalists Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Leonard Cohen and Mitchell herself to perform songs she wrote or was inspired by. The album received glowing reviews and was a year-end Top 10 choice for many critics. It also garnered three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year; Herbie is one of only a handful of jazz musicians ever to receive that honor.
In 2010 Hancock released the critically-acclaimed CD, Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project, winner of two 2011 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Collaboration and Best Improvised Jazz Solo. Utilizing the universal language of music to express its central themes of peace and global responsibility, the Imagine project was recorded around the world and features a stellar group of musicians including Jeff Beck, Seal,Pink, Dave Matthews, The Chieftains, Lionel Loueke, Oumou Sangare, Konono #l, Anoushka Shankar, Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Tinariwen, and Ceu.
Herbie Hancock also maintains a thriving career outside the performing stage and recording studio. Recently named by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Creative Chair For Jazz, he currently also serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the foremost international organization devoted to the development of jazz performance and education worldwide. Hancock is also a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace, and was recently awarded the much esteemed “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
In July of 2011 Hancock was designated a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Recognizing Herbie Hancock’s “dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts,” the Director-General has asked the celebrated jazz musician “to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to promote mutual understanding among cultures, with a particular emphasis on fostering the emergence of new and creative ideas amongst youth, to find solutions to global problems, as well as ensuring equal access to the diversity of artistic expressions.” UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of celebrity advocates who have generously accepted to use their talent and status to help focus the world’s attention on the objectives and aims of UNESCO’s work in its fields of competence: education, culture, science and communication/information.
About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 76-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.
The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 76 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, in schools, at home– everywhere. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at www.celebrityseries.org.
The Celebrity Series of Boston, Inc. receives generous support from Amy & Joshua Boger; Donna & Mike Egan; Gabor Garai & Susan Pravda; David & Harriet Griesinger; Paul L. King; The Royal Little Family Foundation; Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation; Eleanor & Frank Pao; The John S. and Cynthia Reed Foundation; Sanjay & Sangeeta Verma; Nancy Richmond Winsten; Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC; First Republic Bank; Foley & Lardner; Massachusetts Cultural Council; The Peabody Foundation; PTC; Tufts Health Plan; The D.L. Saunders Real Estate & Hotel Investment Group, AMO; Vertex Pharmaceuticals.