Legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock is passing on his legacy to a younger generation, just like older musicians did for him when he was young.
Leading a masterclass at the Sydney Opera House as part of the 2019 International Jazz Day education program, Mr Hancock said his genre is going through a period of expansion similar to that of the ’70s.
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“My thinking is more broad-based than it had been in the past… my scope, my vision is not relegated solely to the jazz genre,” he said.
Estimating this was his fifth time in Sydney, Mr Hancock said student masterclasses allow him to pass on his legacy globally. As a practising Buddhist for more than 46 years, he says the process of teaching students allows him to “serve humanity in a better way”.
“There are so many musicians that were older than me that shared their knowledge … in order to help me in my development in jazz,” he said. “I feel a deep responsibility to continue that.”
Forging a career with American jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd, Mr Hancock wrote his first solo album in 1962, which caught the attention of Miles Davis. After joining the Miles Davis Quintet in 1963, Mr Hancock would go on to win 14 Grammy awards.
Now at the age of 79, Mr Hancock say he is inspired by the younger generation to keep learning.
“One of the problems older people have is that there becomes a point where we feel threatened, our identity feels threatened, because of the new things coming up… but that’s a kind of death,” he said.
“Youtube and Facebook and Instagram and all of those things, and how they are used in personal promotion of music, is a whole new thing. I wasn’t born into that so I have to learn that.”
Far from the end of his career, Mr Hancock is currently working on a new record that he hopes will continue to inspire the next generation of musicians.
“Retirement to me, is when they fold my hands across my chest, and I go six feet under,” he said.
International Jazz Day will be officially launched on April 30 by Mr Hancock and James Morrison in Melbourne.