Herbie Hancock 2008 Newport Jazz Festival Review

A Review of Herbie Hancock 2008 Newport Jazz Festival


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The performance I watched was “Herbie Hancock – Full Concert – 08/10/08 – Newport Jazz Festival,” streamed on the YouTube channel. I saw the performers were delighted to come to the stage following previous rainy seasons that had barred them from performing. They wore casually and warmly introduced themselves to the audiences. The performance was achieved on an open ground during the day near a beach with audiences wearing bright, light clothes. The festival had civilized men and women; the attendance was in full display, and fans possessed open hearts and ears listening to every piece that was played (Jazz on MV, 2014). There was respect for the music, and the venue was well set. I could see the front stage was extensively spacious to accommodate many instruments and performers’ movements. The performers introduce various songs from the album with a short history of each piece. Some songs were sung using the alto, bass, and vocalist had to alternate between songs (Jazz on MV, 2014). Most of the pieces played from the Herbie Hancock jazz album were soft, almost creating the mood of tranquility. I enjoyed every song the performers introduced to the stage and gained jazz and enthusiasm for the art form.

The performance that caught my attention was the blues solo "Banter." Loueke, a guitarist, was primarily featured in this piece, who dominated the stage with his tactful acoustic guitar performance. He demonstrated his versatility in the entire section while playing the electric guitar. Another instrument I recognized from the performance was the drum played by Vinnie Colaiuta (Jazz on MV, 2014). The song was most cheered by the crowd because the fans knew him for his versatility. Another performer played both stand-up and fender bass in the first part of Hancock’s album. I was interested in listening to the bassist performer because he seemed to shed light into modern saxophones, bringing improvisations to the original Hancock’s jazz album. There was a lot of improvisation when the song "Chameleon" was played, such as a guitarist playing his instrument and clapping his hands while Herbie punctuated the piece with his jazz piano (Jazz on MV, 2014). I interpreted his style of improvisation as a way of bringing cultures of the word together.

Aspects of jazz I observed during the performance were the style of improvisation. Hancock supplied a collection of songs from his album similar to the original composition but containing lyric improvisation. For example, in the "Chameleon" song, Hancock seems to converse with the guitarist while playing his piano (Jazz on MV, 2014). The guitarist responds to the piano’s tune by introducing random pitches while plucking his guitar’s strings. This improvisation continues to advance in each peace, moving the audiences with excitement as the music shifts from a diminuendo to a crescendo.

After watching the performance, I realized it was a kind of festival offering that was more exciting to attend a live performance. The only downside with the performance was its short-lived time. I suppose I cannot learn all historical performances from one jazz performance, but I have developed the interest to attend more of them. I can share a few highlights with other readers from the performance. I was lucky to see Herbie put his skills to their best and prove his legendary jazz performance. When people speak about Herbie in jazz history, they should attend a live performance to witness his stunning keyboardist skills and innovator of jazz music.


Jazz on MV. (2014). Herbie Hancock – Full Concert – 08/10/08 – Newport Jazz Festival

(OFFICIAL). YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcJgVzmvrpw