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March 26, 2010

From one jazz legend to another: Christian McBride to celebrate Herbie Hancock on March 31

Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Christian McBride, one of the best bassists of his generation, celebrates the legacy of a legendary jazz composer and keyboardist in "A Tribute to Herbie Hancock" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in Dinkelspiel Auditorium.

In addition, Loren Schoenberg, who co-directs the National Jazz Museum in Harlem with McBride, will lead a free Jazz/Tech Talk at 8 p.m. Monday, March 29, at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Schoenberg will also give a free "Informance" performance and discussion at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View.

The March 31 concert culminates a season of free public programs on jazz and technology, and continues Lively Arts' collaboration with the National Jazz Museum and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. A 15-minute "Opening Act" – produced by Sebastián Calderón Bentin, a Stanford doctoral student in drama, and focusing on three of Hancock's songs – will begin the evening's program. "Opening Acts" is an initiative launched by Lively Arts this season to involve Stanford students in the performing arts.

McBride's band will include several veterans of Hancock's celebrated Headhunters and Mwandishi ensembles – saxophonist Bennie Maupin, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and drummer Billy Hart – as well as trombonist Michael Dease and keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer. The group will revisit Hancock's works and also perform many of McBride's own original compositions, inspired by Hancock's Mwandishi-era music of the 1970s.

Hancock is viewed as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the last century, and one of the greatest jazz figures alive today.

McBride told Bay Area jazz writer Lee Hildebrand that the Stanford tribute will cover "a particular portion of Herbie's career that to me kind of summarizes everything: the straight-ahead, the electronica avant-garde, the techno, the funk, the acoustic – all of that."

"We won't necessarily be doing a recital, so to speak. I think that's corny when guys do that. I would rather play music that was inspired by Herbie. Obviously we're going to play a few Herbie songs, but we're not going to interpret them like they were done on the Maiden Voyage album or the Empyrean Isles album or the Head Hunters album. Herbie wouldn't do that."

The 37-year-old McBride, one of the most in-demand bassists in music, has been featured on hundreds of albums and has performed or recorded with Chick Corea, Natalie Cole, Wynton Marsalis, Sting and Kathleen Battle.

Among his missions is a longstanding commitment to exposing young people to jazz: "I think that a lot of people feel younger people just don't get jazz, that they hear it and think it's uncool. Bottom line: I just think that they just don't hear it." He noted that for young people "the music is foreign to them," he told Bass Musician Magazine in 2007.

"If you force-feed anybody anything, usually they'll throw up, so that tells me we shouldn't force-feed them anything. Just hand it to them and let them make their own decisions. The more you hand it to them, the possibility opens up for them to say, this is kind of cool. So, as you can see, I'm all about the fun factor."

McBride has recorded with Hancock twice: in 2001, on McBride's Sci-Fi; and in 1995, on Joe Henderson's Double Rainbow: The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Tickets for the concert are $34 to $38 for adults and $10 for Stanford students. Half-price tickets are available for young people age 18 and under; discounts are available for groups and non-Stanford students. For tickets and more information, call (650) 725-ARTS (2787) or visit



Cynthia Haven, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-6184,

Bob Cable, Lively Arts: (650) 736-0091,

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