Aural Anarchy!

Herbie Hancock praises jazz eclecticism, disses Wynton

Marsalis' strong opinions, whatever they might be at the time, have always put him in a bind.

"I remember when he was interviewed and he called Sonny Rollins a charlatan and called Miles . . . I don't remember exactly what he called him, something or other," Hancock says. "He came up and told me, 'Oh, man, oh, shit, I said something about Miles for an article, what should I do?' He went too far with it, got off on a tangent, and he knew it.

"So I suggested that he tell Miles about it before he read the article. And he did that, and you know what Miles said? He said, 'Awww, man, don't worry about that. I did the same thing to Dizzy.' But you know what? Miles did not do that to Dizzy. Miles just said that to make Wynton feel better. Isn't that cool? What a great sacrifice Miles did there. Miles always had a lot of love and respect for people who were trying to do something, even if they had a different opinion than he did. He respected anyone that was being honest about what they believed in.

"But see, I'm not sure what Wynton really believes because I've heard him say so many different things at different times. I don't know where the word 'honesty' fits in with him. I don't know how he defines it. Where's he really at? I know what he says and what he's done publicly, and I don't like what he's done publicly. And for my ears, his attitude affects his playing."

For his part, Hancock admits he might be every bit as extreme in his refusal to see any form of music compartmentalized. But he can't help himself.

"When you have a birthday and someone brings you a present, it's so much fun because you don't know what's in that box," Hancock says. "You have to open the box to see what's in there, to find out whether you like it or not. You have to experience it before you can make that decision. That's what I feel like: music is a birthday, like Christmas or something."

Herbie Hancock performs with Cut Chemist at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Mon., 8 p.m. $32.50.
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