Herbie Hancock (pic: Larry Johnson)
Marcus Miller and Harvey Mason (pic: Larry Johnson)
A couple of wonderful jazzers wrapped up TED’s music program.
Herbie Hancock performed at the very first TED, 25 years ago. He has been many times since (14 by his reckoning) and has played on most occasions. He’s got a lovely stage presence and generosity of spirit. On this occasion he was backed by longtime cohorts Marcus Miller (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums). They jammed on a revitalised tune from a late 60′s album of Herbie’s, before Herbie disappeared offstage and came back on wearing a white Roland MIDI remote keyboard around his neck, and they went into ‘Watermelon Man’. if you think don’t know this tune—you do. The bass riff is to bass what ‘Smoke On The Water’ is to guitar. Unfortunately for Herbie, his wireless MIDI transmitter was receiving some interference (probably from all the VC’s in the room tweeting on their Blackberries!) and he was getting a lot of latency… making him sound a lot more like ME than usual.
Jamie Cullum was a delight. He cuts a diminuitive figure in his jeans and t-shirt with his shaggy hair, but he’s instantly likeable and a terrific, fearless vocalist and pianist. A bit like a modern Dudley Moore. A lot of older TEDsters often ask me for a little swing or a few showtunes, which ordinarily I have to wriggle out of, but Jamie is quite happy to play snippets of ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’ or ‘Singing In The Rain’ and is able to make them sound young, fresh and accessible, while he bangs on his piano lid and thumps on a kick drum with a spare foot.
I’m now sitting at LAX about to baord a plane back to London. It was a terrific TED, and the transition went much better than we could have expected. There’s always a bit of a hangover after the show ends, but this year I’m quite relaxed compared to most years when I’ve just completed 11-12 performances, as we as sitting through the amazing speakers and the emotional roller coaster ride. I am really looking forward to getting home and getting stuck into my own music. From here on I should have a straight shot to the completion of my new album—barring a few promotional bits and pieces to support the upcoming ‘Singular’ album, and the re-release of Golden Age Of Wireless and The Flat Earth.
Jamie Cullum (pic: David Geller)