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Herbie Hancock returns to his classical roots

(Kyle O’Brien, Special to the Oregonian) After decades as a professional musician — one who has helped invent or mold many sub-genres of jazz and popular music — pianist and composer Herbie Hancock is returning to the setting where he began his career: the symphony.

When Hancock first took the stage to perform Mozart with the Chicago Symphony, he was an 11-year-old phenom. Now, at 71, Hancock comes back to the orchestral setting, including Friday with the Oregon Symphony, to play George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”

“There’s a whole story behind that,” Hancock said over the phone from Los Angeles.