Jazz legend ‘graces local musical scene’

(Photo: US Embassy handout)
AMMAN — American jazz legend Herbie Hancock graced the local musical scene with his presence, performing for the Jordanian public in Amman and Umm Qais.اضافة اعلان

The 82 year old and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Ensemble at UCLA, with special guest jazz master Don Braden, were present at the invitation of the American Embassy in Amman for five days of musical performances and workshops across Jordan, and a historic concert at the Odeon Theatre, downtown Amman.

Hancock, a jazz pianist, keyboardist, composer, educator, and humanitarian who started playing the piano at 6 and got into jazz world at 14, is a UNESCO goodwill ambassador and has been celebrating the jazz culture across the globe since 1996.

The trip to Jordan, he said in a press conference on Saturday, “has been exciting”.

“There is something really special about Jordan that is hard to explain. I saw many new things that I did not know about,” Hancock said to packed press room.

The band spent a week touring Jordan, not just performing, but also conducting people-to-people outreach and educational workshops with diverse groups in Amman, Jerash, and Um Qais.

Engagements, an embassy press release said, included a workshop for students and teachers with the University of Jordan Music Department, jazz masterclasses at the National Center for the Culture and Arts and National Music Conservatory, and a workshop at the Princess Taghreed Institute in Jerash for Jordanian youth and Syrian refugees.

Hancock and the band charmed the audience with their magical tunes every time they performed with energy and creativity their swing, jazz, and blues.

“They really represent what it means to be free,” Braden said at the press conference.

After more than two years of near isolation, Hancock’s music was a breath of fresh air. It opened the door to a world of freedom and beauty, one in which an amazingly talented young ensemble masterfully kept pace with the established legend to the delight of the audience.

Following the interaction with local musicians, Hancock had one thing to recommend, for them to “keep expanding and not to settle in one place”: “It is very important to expand and explore new territory. That is how it was for me in my life.”

Listening to his performance, one gathers that it must have been a wonderful journey.

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