Herbie Hancock: ‘Miles Davis told me: I don’t pay you to get applause’

At 82, the jazz legend will this weekend be one of the oldest performers ever to grace Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage. He recalls his career highs, from making his hip-hop classic Rockit to working with Thundercat

When the pandemic took the now 82-year-old jazz legend Herbie Hancock off the road, his half-century passion for Nichiren Buddhism came to the rescue. “I could have been miserable over what I was missing out on,” he says, from his Los Angeles home, “but for the first time in 50 years, I ate dinner with my own wife every night, and slept next to her in my own bed. It was a blessing. Music is what I do, but is not what I am.” With his Glastonbury slot on the horizon – making him one of the oldest ever to grace the Pyramid stage – Hancock reflects on his work with Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, plus his own groundbreaking innovations in funk, soul, hip-hop and more.

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