Herbie Hancock's 'Imagine Project' hits the Vilar Center stage Wednesday

By Real Vail
August 16, 2010

Whether jazz legend Herbie Hancock's latest release, “The Imagine Project”, was a labor of love is open to debate. However, what is certain is that there was a great deal of labor involved.

Hancock, who turned 70 in April, will bring the sounds of “The Imagine Project”, along with a career and a half's worth of hits, to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Wednesday evening, August 25, for a special 8 p.m. show. The Beaver Creek performance marks the lone Colorado stop for Hancock on a nationwide tour that features venues that include Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, along with festivals such as Montreaux Jazz and Newport Jazz.

"The Imagine Project" was the hardest record I've ever made,” Hancock told Billboard.com., “and not just because of the music. Playing the 10 tracks was easy compared to what it took to put (the album) together."

The album features a wealth of guest performers, including Dave Matthews, Seal, Pink, Jeff Beck, the Chieftains, Toumani Diabete, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan and others, as well as recording sessions in several countries such as the U.S., India, England, France, Ireland and Brazil.

"Every song on the record was like putting a while new album together," noted Hancock, who worked on the album with Larry Klein, co-producer of 2007's Grammy Award-winning ‘River/The Joni Letters'. "It's that kind of experience. You had to completely retool for each song. Normally you don't have to do that.”

Herbie Hancock plays Beaver Creek's Vilar Center Wednesday.

"The Imagine Project" includes a version of John Lennon's "Imagine" with Beck, Pink, Seal and India.Arie, as well as the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" with Matthews. Khan, Shorter. Anoushka Shankar teamed up with Indian musicians for the Klein original "The Song Goes On", while Diabete, the Chieftains, Lionel Loueke and Lisa Hannigan were part of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A' Changin". John Legend and Pink joined forces for Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up."

"It's a record that's basically about peace," Hancock added, crediting his attorney with inspiring the concept. "To me, the path towards peace is through global collaboration, so the heart of this record is the idea of making a global record or an international record, in multiple languages and in a variety of places."

The various sessions for "The Imagine Project" were filmed and will become the source material for a documentary and web-based applications, possibly including a site that will allow fans to remix tracks from the album.

Released on June 22, “The Imagine Project” climbed to Number 2 on the Billboard Jazz Charts, currently residing in the Number 8 position.

Tickets for Herbie Hancock and “The Imagine Project” are priced at $98 and $128 and are available online at www.vilarpac.org, by phone at 888.920.ARTS(2787) or in person at the Vilar Center box office in Beaver Creek. Tickets are available online 24 hours a day; the box office is open Monday through Friday from 11am-5pm MST, with additional hours on performance days.

The Vilar Performing Arts Center is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For more information on the Vail Valley Foundation, visit www.vvf.org.

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