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Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea duo

Jun 1, 2015 Updated Jun 11, 2015

Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea have been touring Australia for the first time as a duo act, performing in Sydney, Melbounre and Brisbane.


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Jazz legends and long-time musical collaborators Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock have reunited once more as a duo, bringing their piano improvisations to Australian shores for the first time. The pair appeared at the Sydney Opera House, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the 2015 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, wowing audiences with their combined virtuosity and musical interplay.

The pair first met for a duo tour in 1978, which resulted in the live album titled An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea: In Concert, before following that release up with a 2nd live cut called CoreaHancock in '79. Having spent much of the 70s exploring both the jazz fusion movement and emerging keyboard instruments such as the Fender Rhodes and various synthesizers, these two releases marked a return to their roots on acoustic piano.

Funnily enough, this current tour is the duo's first incorporating both acoustic and electric pianos live onstage in an effort to expand their sound. It's also their first tour together in 30 years! Whilst there are indeed only two musicians on stage, the combined effect of Hancock's and Corea's musical abilities makes the pair sound more like an orchestra than a duet. And what's more, they have fun together. Despite the fact that they have performed countless shows in this format, there is still a real sense of surprise and joy as the two explore both standard material and their own compositions, which in turn, captivates the audience.

We were lucky enough to hear their June 1 set at the Sydney Opera House, and what better place than the Concert Hall to feature these two epic players. The crowd enjoyed renditions of Hancock's 'Watermelon Man,' 'Maiden Voyage' and 'Dolphin Dance,' as well as Corea's Spain, which included some improv from the very willing audience.

The dexterity and harmonic inventiveness of these two players are unquestionable, but perhaps what's most sticking are their rhythmic sensibilities. Hancock in particular comes across as an extremely percussive player, stopping at nothing to explore all the possibilities his instrument has to offer. Corea's touch was impeccable, dancing over the keys, although he wasn't afraid to hit big, resounding power chords with his left hand. As a unit, it was obvious that both pianists were listening to each other intently, almost conversing with their instruments, yet also unafraid to embrace chaos at times. They also had their own little stand-up routine going, which only served to make us feel more at home with these two jazz legends.

We hope that both Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock can find the time in their busy touring schedules to grace our shores once more.

Below - Interview with Herbie Hancock (2015)

Photos and words: Henry Rasmussen, ABC Jazz

Artist Biography


HIDDEN ERROR: Usage of "religion" is not recognized Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Starting his career with Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. He...

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On Sep 24, 2015. 1:45pm
jovialspoon said

Saw them at QPAC in Brisbane. Superb. So much energy and inventiveness after all these years. They started off very avant-garde and got funkier as the show went on.

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