Closing Concert of the Festival / June 30, 2023

Last night was keyboardist extraordinaire Herbie Hancock’s third attendance at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. Hancock’s repartee with the audience began almost as soon as the musician hit the stage. Asking for the audience’s approval to play his “out there jazz”, and inviting the audience to meet him halfway. He continued, “We’re going to enjoy ourselves. If we enjoy ourselves, you might enjoy yourselves too,” “It’s going to start off really weird. Is that what you guys want, really weird stuff?” The band then launched into his lengthy “Overture”. 

Encapsulating a repertoire that has endured since the 1960’s. The 83-year-old fused jazz recollections with melodic keyboard runs reminiscent of the days he performed alongside Miles Davis. Never at a loss for what direction to take a musical passage, Hancock was at the top of his game last night. Hancock’s musical explorations filled with surprises and forays into Junk and pop and then returning to his jazzy meanderings once again. 

The crowd seemed glued to the sound emanating from the Confederation Park Main Stage. People gawked and gazed into the air on this warm Ottawa night. 

I was really surprised when Hancock introduced his friend and iconic trumpeter / composer Terence Blanchard’s to the audience. Hancock revealed that when he mentioned to Terence that he was going to perform in Ottawa, Terrence quickly replied “I love Ottawa, can I come along”. Rounding out the band were guitarist Lionel Loueke (guitar), James Genus’s (bass) and Jaylen Petinaud (drums). This dependable trio made it possible for Hancock and Blanchard to explore deep passages that orbited around the sensational. 

This was another wonderful night in “The Park, “and sadly the last night of this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival. We look forward to the Fest’s arrival and then it fades into the abyss as quickly as it had arrived, believe it or not I am already looking forward to next year’s edition.

Herbie Hancock June 30, 2023 Setlist:

Actual Proof
Come Running to Me
Secret Sauce