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Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter And Marcus Miller Unite To Salute Legendary Trumpeter In "Tribute To Miles"

SOURCE: Published: 2011-04-27
Herbie Hancock On the European Jazz Festival Circuit Summer 2011

Concerts Will Pay Homage To Each Decade Of Davis' Ever-Evolving Soundscape As Well As Paving Paths For Further “Directions in Music"

Los Angeles, California. Twenty years after his death, American musical genius Miles Davis is as omnipresent as ever. From museum-worthy reissues of his classic recordings such as Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew to sprawling traveling exhibits of his artifacts and memorabilia to concert homages in his name by the world's greatest musicians, Miles Davis has evolved into a brand that stands for music at its boldest, most forward thinking and timeless. Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller, three chameleonic and masterful legends whose life legacies are indelibly intertwined with Davis,' are uniting this summer for a unique European tour called “Tribute to Miles" that will at once celebrate the music of Davis and, more importantly, his philosophy of constant evolution.

Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller's “Tribute to Miles" will play the internationally renowned European festivals in Istanbul, Umbria, North Sea, Jazz a Vienne, Montreux, Jazz a Juan, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and Marseilles, as well as a coveted performance at Paris' preeminent music hall, L'Olympia. They will be joined by rising star Sean Jones on trumpet and Sean Rickman, son of guitarist Phil Upchurch (who has worked with Steve Coleman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dapp Theory, and his own band, Garaj Mahal) on drums.

After making his debut with trumpeter Donald Byrd and soon after signing to Blue Note Records, Grammy and Academy Award-winning pianist/composer Herbie Hancock joined trumpeter Miles Davis in 1963 where he became part of one of the most celebrated quintets in all of jazz music along with drummer Tony Williams, bassist Ron Carter and, shortly after, saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Shorter joined Miles' band after making a major impression in drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers quintet. During his tenure with Davis in the `60s, Shorter contributed several classic compositions to Davis' catalog and, indeed, the canon of jazz, including “Footprints," “Pinocchio," “Nefertiti" and “Fall" (recently utilized with poignancy in the Halle Berry film “Frankie & Alice"). In the `70s, Hancock and Shorter became leaders in their own right in the realm of electrified jazz-rock fusion: Hancock with his band The Headhunters and Shorter as co-founder of Weather Report (with another Davis alumnus keyboardist Joe Zawinul). While never remaining tethered to the past, they also had no issue with looking back at the great music they made with Davis, revisiting it under the name V.S.O.P. in the `70s and the Grammy-winning Miles Davis Tribute Band in the `90s.

“The music and legacy of Miles Davis have left an indelible imprint on the history of Jazz and will continue to do so," says Hancock, “Miles was a visionary, an innovator and, most importantly, the consummate artist and a true genius."

Marcus Miller, producer of the tribute, first worked with Davis as an electric bassist on his 1981 comeback album for Columbia Records, The Man With The Horn. However, it was in 1986 that Marcus was promoted into the hallowed position of primary collaborator with Davis for his first album at Warner Bros. Records, Tutu. The title track became not only Davis' last classic recording, but also a universally recognized jazz standard.

“After wrapping 'Tutu Revisited' and seeing firsthand how passionately received Miles' music remains with the public, I realized how easy it would be for me to just stay under the Miles Davis umbrella forever...which I clearly cannot do. I began to think, 'If I could do one more thing, what would that be?' Out of utmost admiration, I decided to approach Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. It's tricky paying homage to Miles...Wayne and Herbie are the perfect people to get into the spirit of Miles then move forward using the information that we got from him to challenge ourselves and make new statements."

“This tribute to Miles is a way of celebrating the combined efforts of all pioneers historically to present day," Shorter elucidates, “and to project a telescopic probe to portals of the future."

Miller and Shorter first worked together when Miller produced Shorter's 1995 Verve Records CD, High Life. A decade later, Miller worked with Herbie Hancock in the all-star septet Headhunters `05. Miller has also been a part of Hancock's Grammy-winning all-star recordings Possibilities and The Imagine Project, which won the 2011 Grammy's for “Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals" (for the track “Imagine") and “Best Improvised Jazz Solo" (on “A Change Is Gonna Come").

With Hancock and Shorter being close friends/associates for decades and Miller a coveted newer comrade, the chemistry between this triumvirate is potent for mind-blowing musical exploration of the highest order.


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