Herbie Hancock, The Imagine Project

 By: Jeff Becker

The Imagine Project continues the ever evolving and creative ideas of Herbie Hancock. His experiences in jazz are now richly enhancing more pop cultured endeavors. This latest offering embraces the concept of love and world unity, and the diversities from around the world.

“Imagine” features India.Arie, Seal, Pink, and Jeff Beck (on guitar) and is augmented by African chanting and the delicate sensibilities of Hancock’s delicate tinkling of the ivories. A texture change to a more rhythmic feel introduces India.Arie who places her own slice of heaven.

The moody “Don’t Give Up,” features John Legend and Pink, both equally soulful artists who enhance this cut with yearning exchanges and believable performances. The solid continuous backbeat drives the emotion even deeper.

“Tempo de amor” features Céu with a dreamy Latin feel, the loose translation of the lyric is; “Oh, it would be so much better to live in peace without having to suffer without having to cry, without having to want, without having to give yourself. But you have to suffer, and you have to cry and you have to want to be able to love. Oh, deceiving world peace doesn’t mean “love” anymore. Oh, there is no sadder thing than to have peace and to regret and to submit and to protect yourself of a love, of loving.”

A bluesy rendition of “Space Captain” is perfectly matched by the talents of the soulful Susan Tedeschi and groovin’ Derek Trucks, almost reminiscent of the Bonnie and Delaney sound of the early 70’s.

“The Times, They Are a’ Changing” features The Chieftains and Lisa Hannigan, a slow shuffle with sprinklings of horns and sitar, make this cut a motivic half-way mark. “La Tierra” features Juanes and is a beautiful Tango. “Tamitant Tilay/Exodus” is desert Blues with an Arabic touch featuring K’naan, Los Lobos and Tinariwen and a looped sample of Bob Marley’s “Exodus”.

“Tomorrow Never Knows,” has a hybrid psychadelic Middle Eastern feel and features The Dave Mathews Band, “A Change is Gonna Come” is taken as a slowed pace and features James Morrison who is reminiscent to young Stevie Wonder. The closing takes us on an middle eastern journey with sitar-drenched lines running reverently throughout with driving drum crashes this cut is an epic presentation of “The Song Goes On,” featuring luminaries such as; Chaka Khan, Anoushka Shankar and Wayne Shorter giving an Indian sounds and experience. This project is appropriately entitled; the listeners have the opportunity to Imagine and journey to every place in their mind and hear and experience every flavor of the musical rainbow.

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