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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Herbie Hancock

The Imagine Project (Hancock Records/RED)

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Imagine a jazz CD by piano virtuoso Herbie Hancock that isn’t entirely—or, in this case, even primarily—instrumental and you’ll have a sense of where The Imagine Project is going. But it takes repeated listening to understand how far the 70-year-old Hancock has pushed the jazz genre.

Peppered with a roster of guest artists ranging from India.Arie, Pink and Seal to Wayne Shorter, Jeff Beck and The Chieftains, the 10-track CD features a vocal at every turn. Unusual cover choices, including Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” the Beatles’ trippy “Tomorrow Never Knows” and, most unlikely, Matthew Moore’s “Space Captain,” add to the disc’s eclecticism. The one constant is Hancock’s elegant, understated keyboard work, of which there is far too little. Jazz for a new age may not sound like jazz at all, and perhaps that’s the lesson Hancock wants to teach us.

Herbie Hancock brings “The Imagine Project Tour” to the Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino on Aug. 20.

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