The Tata Theatre at the National Centre for Performing Arts was abuzz as Jazz maestros Herbie Hancock,George Duke and a band of musicians from the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz rehearsed on the eve of their Living Dream concert. Hancock and the musicians are in Mumbai as part of a larger delegation comprising US Congressmen headed by Martin Luther King III to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jrs visit to India. King III,son of the American Civil Rights movement leader,made his first visit at the capital earlier this week. In Mumbai,the delegation began its tour on Wednesday at the Gateway of India after paying homage to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks.
Sixty eight-year-old pianist Hancock,who is one of the remnants of a golden era of Jazz and Blues,has a massive fan following across the globe since the late 60s. Entering the legendary Miles Davis quintet at 23,Hancock was also a pioneer in the post bop generation of jazz,introducing the electronic sounds of the synthesizer to supreme effect. On his third visit to the city,he will be collaborating with fellow singers Chaka Khan,Dee Dee Bridgewater,pianist George Duke,Zakir Hussain and students from the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz that he presently heads.
Hancock will also record an album which according to him,will be a confluence of influences from across the world. It is an honour for us to be here to commemorate a journey that was undertaken 50 years ago. Dr King was deeply committed to the philosophies of equality and non-violence that Mahatma Gandhi stood for. The efforts he took in that direction see their fruition today at the election in the US with Barack Obama coming to power. He went on to add that the there is still works to be done and that efforts are far from over. But the ripples that Mahatma Gandhi created still resonate among us.
Stressing the need for harmony and the role of music in creating peace,Hancock said music has in the past played a lead role in bringing people together and must continue to do so. Zakir Hussain,who confessed that he was still trying to snap out of the awe of being in the presence of the jazz legend,thanked him for coming to Mumbai and making the collaborative concert possible.