Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington, two of the biggest names in jazz, will join forces for a North American co-headlining tour this summer.
Their initial slew of dates, starting July 30 in Vienna, Va. and ending Aug. 23 in Berkeley, Calif., should go on sale to the general public this Friday. (Tickets for the pair's first date, in Virginia, are already available.)
Hancock, a 14-time Grammy-winning pianist and NEA Jazz Master, will lead a band similar to the one featured a few years ago in a Jazz Night in America concert film: Lionel Loueke on guitars, Terrace Martin on alto saxophone and synthesizers, James Genus on electric bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Their set list will combine Hancock favorites and material from a highly anticipated forthcoming album.
Hancock has long been an exemplar of jazz crossover: he's the rare instrumental virtuoso to credibly break through to a mainstream audience, let alone the pop album chart. He received his first gold record in 1974 with Head Hunters, the self-titled debut by his new jazz-funk band. At the time, the critic Lee Underwood stamped a concert review with a smirk: "Mr. Communicate-With-A-Wider-Audience, Herbie Hancock, opened to a full house recently, again pleasing the funkers while disappointing the more cerebrally oriented connoisseurs."
Washington has earned a similar reputation since the release of his debut triple album, The Epic, in 2015. A tenor saxophonist and bandleader with a talent for the ecstatic, Washington is the key figure in what has lately been touted as a jazz resurgence in popular culture. ("Mr. Communicate-With-A-Wider-Audience" is an epithet he'd probably wear as a badge of honor.)