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Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (Unrated)

Release Date: April 14th, 2006 (Quad Cinema) by Magnolia Pictures.
DVD Release Date: April 18th, 2006.
Directed by Doug Biro and Jon Fine.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Herbie Hancock, a jazz pianist who collaborates with many famous pop artists for his new album.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: As soon as Herbie (the jazz musician, not the Love Bug) comes onscreen, it’s easy to notice how much charisma and musical talent he has simply by watching him perform. For his latest album entitled Possibilities he collaborates each song with talented singers such as Sting, Christina Aguilera, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Angelique Kidjo, Lisa Hannigan, Brian Eno, Jonny Lang, Wayne Shorter, Greg Phillipganes, Raul Midon, Trey Anastasio, Carlos Santana, Joss Stone, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, and Lionel Louke. If you’re not familiar with Herbie, at least you should be familiar with one of those musicians. Like in Standing in the Shadows of Motown, another music documentary, you can feel the passion and energy in the studio recording room as if you were actually there. Directors Doug Biro and Jon Fine don’t just include the music itself but also the interesting conversations Herbie has with the musicians. He admits from the start that he doesn’t like rap, hip-hop or most of the other popular kinds of music, which he simply feels uncomfortable listening to. Although this documentary fails to provide a background of Herbie’s life outside of the music world, Herbie still comes across as an endlessly interesting, innovative musician. He’s always willing to adapt to new technology—such as synthesizers—which broaden his scope of music and never make his music seem even remotely mundane.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: In an insightful scene toward the end, Herbie says that being a musician is who he is, but rather it’s just his occupation. The ultimate, most valuable role he has in life which defines him is being human. In other words, he puts the virtues of compassion, kindness, respect and peace at his forefront—i.e. when he visits Nagasaki and Hiroshima where he sees image from the atomic bombings of World War II. Fortunately, this film doesn’t delve too much into the complexities of philosophies and goes back to his uplifting music collaborations.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough background information about Herbie.


IN A NUTSHELL: Phenomenal! A highly entertaining, feel-great music documentary!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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