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Musicians to pay tribute to Herbie Hancock at Orillia Jazz Festival

Local musician Lance Anderson and 'all-star group' of performers to take the stage at St. Paul's Oct. 20; 'I think it will be stunning'
Lance Anderson by LPPhotographs
Lance Anderson. Photo courtesy LPPhotographs

When Lance Anderson performs, he goes beyond the music.

The local musician is known for delving into the history of the music he’s playing and those who wrote it.

That’s what he’s been doing for the past few years at the Orillia Jazz Festival through his Words and Music shows, and he’ll be back to do it again Oct. 20 at St. Paul’s Centre.

Anderson and four other musicians will present Maiden Voyage: The Music of Herbie Hancock.

“To do something special instead of doing just a simple concert, I put this together,” he said.

Woven throughout the musical performances will be stories about Hancock — “he was quite a prodigy,” Anderson explained — his music and the inspiration for some of the songs.

“It informs the audience. It gives them some background,” he said. “Everybody tells me afterward how much they appreciate the information. A lot of jazz performers get up there and just play and don’t talk to the audience until the end of the show, when they introduce the band and say goodnight.”

While Anderson doesn’t consider himself a jazz musician, but more blues and roots, he appreciates the style and knows how to play it well.

Also, he’ll have some experienced players on stage with him: John Johnson, an internationally known sax player who has played with Molly Johnson, Holly Cole, Diane Krall, and Manteca; William Sperendei, who studied in New Orleans with Ellis Marsalis and toured with Harry Connick Jr. and performed with Marcus Roberts, Colin James, Tyler Yarema and his Rhythm, Matchedash Parish and more; Russ Boswell, who just finished playing The Last Ship, Sting’s musical, in Toronto, and has played with Serena Ryder, David Wilcox, Corey Hart, and The Rankin Family; and Charlie Cooley, who has been the drummer for Manteca for 25 years and has played with Leonard Cohen, k.d. lang, The Guess Who, and others.

“It’s an all-star group, really. I think it will be stunning,” Anderson said. “This particular group has never played together before, and that’s sort of the essence of jazz.”

The first part of the Oct. 20 show will focus on Hancock’s earlier years as an acoustic pianist. In the 1970s, Hancock heard Sly and the Family Stone and was inspired to play electric piano and funk music. The second half of Anderson’s show will pay tribute to that part of Hancock’s career.

The show at St. Paul’s will start at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 each and can be purchased online or at Alleycats Music and Art in downtown Orillia.

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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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