One plus one equals three. Herbie Hancock & Kamasi Washington in conversation collaborating with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to bring to life these words from these two jazz legends. As part of the LA Phil’s Past/Forward centennial project, the two musical innovators sat down together last year, to talk about the power of music to transcend differences, and the importance of collaboration in the creative industry.
DIRECTION, DESIGN & ANIMATION:
“Miss Understanding” by Kamasi Washington
Herbert Jeffrey Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Hancock started his career with Donald Byrd. He shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet, where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. In the 1970s, Hancock experimented with jazz fusion, funk, and electro styles.
Hancock’s best-known compositions include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album to win the award, after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.
Kamasi Washington is an American jazz saxophonist, composer, producer, and bandleader. Washington is known mainly for playing tenor saxophone. He was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 18, 1981 to musical parents and educators, and was raised in Inglewood, California. He is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Alexander Hamilton High School in Beverlywood, Los Angeles. Washington next enrolled in UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology, where he began playing with faculty members such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins and band leader/trumpeter Gerald Wilson. Washington features in the album Young Jazz Giants in 2004. He has played along with a diverse group of musicians including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horace Tapscott, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Mike Muir, Francisco Aguabella, the Pan Afrikaan People’s Orchestra and Raphael Saadiq.
Washington ventured into big band music when he joined the Gerald Wilson Orchestra for their 2005 album In My Time. Washington played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. His debut solo recording, The Epic, was released in May 2015 to critical acclaim. The mini-album/EP Harmony of Difference followed in September 2017. His second full-length studio album, Heaven and Earth, was released in June 2018, with a companion EP titled The Choice released a week later.
Composer, Sound & Mix: