William Powers & Carolyn Powers Creative Chair for Jazz
Now in the sixth decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. In addition to being recognized as a legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet that pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz, he also developed new approaches on his own recordings, followed by his work in the ’70s – with record-breaking albums such as Headhunters – that combined electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music. “Rockit” and “Future Shock” marked Hancock’s foray into electronic dance sounds; during the same period he also continued to work in an acoustic setting with V.S.O.P., which included ex-Miles Davis bandmates Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams.
Hancock has received an Academy Award for his Round Midnight film score and 14 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters, and two 2011 Grammy Awards for the globally collaborative CD The Imagine Project. Many of his compositions, including “Canteloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage,” “Watermelon Man,” and “Chameleon,” are modern standards.
Hancock serves as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. He is a founder of the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP), and was named “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by former French Prime Minister François Fillon. In 2011, Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, and in December of 2013 he received a Kennedy Center Honor. He was named the 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University, completing his lectures series, “The Ethics of Jazz,” as part of the Charles Eliot Norton Lecture Series over a period of six weeks. His memoirs, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities, were published by Viking in 2014, and in February 2016 he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hancock is currently in the studio at work on a new album.