Mr. Hancock featured his "Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Ensemble" and the multiple Grammy Awards winning singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. The jazz band turned out to be very good, doing mostly free jazz (everyone was playing like solo style but somehow still
well together as interplay) and also some classics of Hancock who himself only took part only about the half of the set time. Especially up-right bass player was increadible doing a good job making an connection between the all too diversed drum play and the
melody complex by piano, trumpet and saxon. Hancock himself was appearantly the best even though he wasnt a leading role for the most playtime of the performance, he knows very well how to exactly collaborate with each other musician when they were in lead
whiles remaining in total controll of partly very spontanious interplay. Some times he hammers onto the keys with such a might to show who is the king and some times his fast and seamlessly floating (like the sound of a tiny river) touch up on the scales calmed
down the noisy part of the sound into the right balance.
He only did one solo performance in duet with Dee Dee Bridgwater (something Valentine, forgot the song title) which was very emotional and touching. Unfortunately the audience was to noise for those silent moments (some ppl was almost constantly talking/wispering
about what is jazz and who is who) and the sound volumne was too low for this song, but all in all a very great performance.
In the beginning there was a intro speak by some one from the US embassy, embarrising that the "translater" didnt speak Chinese too well, even though all text was presented on paper, maybe that guy was drunk, he ended up being almost a joke.
The sound wasnt too good, especially for the upstairs seats, a lot echo reflected by the bare walls. Also the microphones are not well handled by the sound guy. One could barely hear the piano and also vocals volumne wasnt right. The entire stage was lit up
all the time, which is kinda boring and unappropriate for such a vivid form of Jazz music.
a good part of the upstairs seats audience were chinese, many were appearantly not real jazz fans or Hancock fans since almost the half of them went home before the set reached its half.
Hancock and his Ensemble will head for Shanghai to perform in the US Pavillion on the 13th and 14th May.