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Herbie Hancock at La Defense Jazz Festival

Just one week ago today, on June 29,08Herbie Hancock performed at La Defense Jazz Festival along with Lionel Loueke, Chris Potter, Dave Holland, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Pura Fe set the mood early in the evening and Herbie Hancock arrived on stage at 8 pm. This has to be one of the most mellow concerts I’ve ever attended.

Karim who posted a comment gave a much more intelligent review of the night whereas I can only speak from the heart (being a jazz illiterate), but I will tell you this much: All my life I’ve heard ABOUT Herbie Hancock, but I’ve never attended a Herbie Hancock concert or listened to one of his albums.

La Defense Jazz Festival was comparable to dying and going to heaven (as I would imagine heaven might be). All these exquisite sounds rose into the sky, drifting around and above the surreal surroundings of the La Defense landscape: skyscrapers and cylindrical sculptures, multi-colored fountains in which kids were happily wading and splashing. La Defense (which is technically outside of the City of Paris) is easily reached by taking the No 1 Metro Line to La Defense. It’s well worth a visit even when there’s no concert just to see the unusual contrast between ‘old Haussmann style Paris and new 20th-21st century Paris suburbs. In not so many years, the newest Jean Nouvel skyscraper ‘The Signal’ will be La Defense’s newest addition to an already mind-boggling array of highrises. This is was the setting for the 31st annual La Defense Jazz Festival. One of the organizers, David Ambibard stated that it took them three years to work out the dates when Herbie Hancock would be able to participate. (It was well worth the effort!) If you still want to catch Herbie Hancock in Europe, he’s headed for Portugal after Istanbul, Turkey.

The last ‘free music festival’ I attended was a ‘Moon Rock Festival’ in Rochester, New York. These days a free music festival with such greats as Herbie Hancock can be as rare as finding a moon rock.
Perhaps what surprises more than anything is the dearth of commentary about this amazing event. Great talent gathered to create great music for no particular cause except to bring joy to those that attend.

The Paris jazz scene has several venues for free concerts. Throughout the summer, Paris parks offer free jazz concerts. If you’re in town, be sure to listen to Jazz Box every Saturday night on the radio station Alligre FM for updates. Looking forward to hearing comments from anyone else who attended this concert.
Here’s another site that helps to locate music events in Paris.