Jazz legend Herbie Hancock's new album to feature Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Thundercat and more

“I’m learning a lot from the young people I’m working with,” says Hancock, who will also be joined by Snoop Dogg, African guitarist Lionel Loueke, Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussein, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter for his upcoming project.

Herbie Hancock's prediction that he’d have a new album out by the end of 2016 unfortunately never came to fruition. Neither did a peep of new music or further details on a proper release date. But now, in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, the jazz fusion legend has given fans a promising progress report on his first full-length feature since 2010’s 'The Imagine Project', which featured collaborations from Shorter, Pink, Jeff Beck, The Chieftains, Anoushka Shankar and more.

Herbie Hancock performs on stage at The 12th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival on March 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Jazz in The Gardens Music Festival)

Yet again, one thing that immediately stands out is the list of long and diverse A-list collaborators that Herbie has called on to assist him in the studio. According to the 77-year-old jazz legend, listeners can expect to hear the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington in his forthcoming album. The four choices could not have been better picked, as they’re all well acquainted with Hancock’s genre-bending, experimental style — especially Lamar, whose highly praised 'To Pimp a Butterfly' played a huge role in bringing the worlds of jazz and hip-hop closer together.

Other big names to feature on the yet to be titled upcoming album include Snoop Dogg, African guitarist Lionel Loueke, Indian tabla maestro Zakir Hussein, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter (with whom Hancock played as part of the Miles Davis Quintet back in the ’60s). The task of stitching together all these diverse musical styles and performers falls upon producer Terrace Martin, known for his work on Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly'  as well as his 'untitled. unmastered.' mixtape.

There couldn't have been a better pick than Kendrick Lamar since his 2015 album, 'To Pimp a Butterfly' played a nuge role in bringing the worlds of jazz and hip-hop closer together. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Hancock, a 14-time Grammy winner is known for never settling and his constantly evolving sound, and he admits that the younger generation's influence is not lost on him.

“I’m learning a lot from the young people I’m working with,” he said in the interview with The Union-Tribune. “Because they built the new structures, social media and that whole arena, and that affects how you get things out in front of the public to let them know you’re working on something… So I’m still learning, which I’m very happy about.”

“So I’m still learning, which I’m very happy about. I never want to stop learning. And I’m not even thinking in terms of: ‘I’ll do this record, get it out there, promote it, do some concerts, and then at some point I’ll work on the next record.’ These days, you can put out two tracks, then something a little later that’s connected to the other two. So where you draw the line is up to the artist. It’s a new day.”

Snoop Dogg will also be making a cameo in Herbie Hancock's upcoming yet-to-be-titled album. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Hancock’s assortment of special guests reflects his messages promoting diversity and collaboration in these much divided times. “I want to make records that point toward the concept of bringing people together and working toward encouraging people to aspire to be global citizens, and not just American citizens, or Italian citizens or Japanese citizens,” he explained.

Driving home the message of solidarity, Hancock added: “To be global, or world, citizens is vital. Because that’s what we’ll be facing in the future and this whole thing of pitting one country against another — that stuff has to die. So, one way to do that is if you have people from different cultures, races, ethnicities and backgrounds in general, and put them together. They can come up with something no single person could possibly come up with… We need to dialogue. Music is dialogue to musicians and that’s how you can solve a lot of problems we have in the world today, through dialogue and mutual respect. So, if anything, those are the hidden messages in my new recording.”

Hancock still doesn’t have a confirmed release date on the forthcoming album, but we can rest assured that it'll blow us out of the water when it does eventually release. Stay tuned for more updates and release dates.

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