The pianist and keyboardist has been a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, a platinum-selling solo artist, an Oscar-winning film composer and the producer who discovered Wynton Marsalis. He's won 14 Grammy Awards. And, of course, there's the scratching catchiness of Hancock's hit 1983 instrumental single "Rockit," which was a pioneering blend of jazz and hip-hop.
Of course, the Stanford Jazz Workshop already knew all this, which is why Hancock has been signed up as the headliner for this summer's Stanford Jazz Festival.
According to the newly announced schedule, Hancock will bring his sound to the new Bing Concert Hall on June 22, for a solo show on piano and electronic instruments. It's his first performance at Stanford Jazz.
Now in its 42nd season, Stanford Jazz combines big-name performances with shows by up-and-coming musicians. Many of the performers are teachers or students in the workshop's jazz-education program for kids and adults; some hang out at the university's coffee house for more informal jams throughout the summer.
This year, the festival's concerts run June 20 through Aug. 10. Most of the performances are at Dinkelspiel Auditorium or Campbell Recital Hall on campus, with Hancock and the Chucho Valdes Quintet bookending the season.
Valdes, an Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and bandleader, is also a Grammy Award-winner several times over. He'll perform with his quintet on Aug. 10 at Bing Concert Hall. The season begins with one off-campus performance: the SJW Faculty All-Stars play Stanford Shopping Center on June 20.
Other starry performers include: organist Chester Thompson, formerly of Tower of Power and Santana, in a multi-artist "jazz organ blowout" on June 28; bassist Stanley Clarke with his trio on July 20; New Orleans pianist Henry Butler on July 24; and jazz-tap performer Savion Glover with his trio on Aug. 3.
Local folks include the duo Tuck & Patti on June 29, and pianist Taylor Eigsti, a workshop graduate and Menlo Park native, on July 28, July 31 and Aug. 6.
Theme concerts include "Jazz in the Magic Kingdom" on July 25, in which pianist and violinist Victor Lin will play music from Disney films. Stanford Jazz founder and director Jim Nadel will also lead his customary "Early Bird Jazz" music-education event, on July 13, with another "Early Bird" on June 29 with Doug Goodkin and the Pentatonics.
Info: Ticket prices range from $28 to $150, with some free events. ("Early Bird" events are free for kids and $5 in advance or $10 at the door for adults.) For a full schedule of concerts and more information, go to stanfordjazz.org.