Wednesday, June 09, 2010

IMAGINE-- Herbie Hancock, John Lennon, Joyce Elliott...



Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

          -John Lennon

It isn't always easy to cover the kinds of classics that have made lasting and profound impressions on our collective unconscious, let alone our souls. On June 22 Herbie Hancock's Imagine Project will be released and he's done just that-- and with seeming ease. Monday night I took a little time away from my keyboard to watch a filming of a conversation with a different kind of keyboard master at the Grammy Museum here in Los Angeles. It's always hard for me to stay calm the night before an important election. And yesterday was important because American voters had an opportunity to move our country down the road away from corporate rule, away from war, away from the deathly stink of conservatism.

Joyce Elliott's 53.8- 46.2% victory over reactionary Robbie Wills in Arkansas last night did just that. We didn't quite get there statewide-- where Blanche Lincoln will be the Democratic nominee against probably winner John Boozman-- nor in CA-36, where voters decided to return warmonger and corporately-oriented anti-family reactionary Jane Harman.

Herbie's cover of Imagine features Pink, Seal, India Arie, Jeff Beck, Oumou Sangare, and Konono #1 and it definitely helped soothe my own soul last night. The 70 year old Hancock is a practicing Buddhist so it shouldn't surprise anyone that he music does just that. The first time I heard it, it blew my mind. And the John Lennon masterpiece is just one of many incredible international collaborations on the new CD. Among the others are Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up," which features Pink and John Legend; Dylan's "The Times, They Are A' Changin'," featuring The Chieftains, Toumani Diabete and Lisa Hannigan; Marley's classic "Exodus" featuring Los Lobos, Tinariwen and K'naan; The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" which features Dave Matthews; Sam Cooke's Civil Rights anthem "A Time Is Gonna Come" featuring James Morrison and plenty of others.

Monday night Herbie talked a lot about humans defining how we want globalization to look and then embracing it. He sounded like Alan Grayson-- who I told about the event and who waxed enthusiastic about how meaningful Herbie's music has been in his life since buying his first album when he was still in college! “Music truly is the universal language,” said Hancock who was excited that his new project explores "that concept across the globe, uniting a myriad of cultures through song and positive creative expression.  My hope is that the music will serve as a metaphor for the actions taken by the inhabitants of this wonderful planet as a call for world harmony on all levels.”

Before leaving on a European tour on June 28, he'll be doing TV appearances with Letterman (June 21), Jimmy Fallon (June 22) and then on the Today Show (June 23) and warm-up gigs in Rochester, NY (June 15), Portsmouth, New Hampshire (June 16), Carnegie Hall in NYC (June 24th-- hardly a warm-up and a show that is rumored to be featuring some of the big names who played on the album), Ottawa (June 25), Toronto (June 26) and the Montreal Jazz Festival (June 27). That's some schedule for anyone, let alone a 70 year old. Although for a 70 year old Buddhist... makes sense.

When he's back in the U.S. August 6 finds him starting up a tour again in Buffalo, crisscrossing the country and winding up at the Hollywood Bowl on September 1 for another show which will featuring some of the big name stars from the recording sessions.

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At 12:43 PM, Anonymous me said...

OT, but how about cleaning the spam out of the comments?

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love HH so much. What an incredible person and musician. But as the line in the song says:

"And no religion too.."

Until that time comes, there will be no real peace on this planet.

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Very nice, Thanks Howie.


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