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Herbie Hancock (Douglas Kirkland)

Herbie Hancock

(Pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer; born April 12, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois)As far back as ragtime's early days and the birth of jazz, American music's love of the keyboard has never been a casual fling. It's the real thing, and above all it is free. Freedom is at the very heart of that constantly changing, most American of all art forms, and few, if any, jazz masters have made as much of that freedom as Herbie Hancock.Beginning as a classical piano prodigy who played with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11, learning jazz on his own in high school simply by listening, Hancock quickly developed into a major force of change and a dazzling example of sheer musical beauty by expanding the possibilities of the keyboard from the grand piano to synthesizers, iPads and beyond. As the great Miles Davis put it in his autobiography, "Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven't heard anybody yet who has come after him.

Video and Audio

Kennedy Center Honors Highlights 2013

The 36th annual celebration of the arts honors opera singer Martina Arroyo; pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer Herbie Hancock; pianist, singer and songwriter Billy Joel; actress Shirley MacLaine; and musician and songwriter Carlos Santana.