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Herbie Hancock takes on a new challenge with solo tour

(Joe Klopus, Kansas City Star) Herbie Hancock reserves the right to go anywhere in music.

And the pianist is going to use it any way he can when he makes a rare solo appearance Sunday in the Lied Center at the University of Kansas.

“There are advantages to playing solo,” he says. “You’re not bound to a single tempo. Same thing with the harmonies. Same thing with the structure. Whatever you want. Wherever you want to go, you can go there all the time.

“You’re doing everything yourself, including the silences. That’s a very important part of music.”

At 71, Hancock is one of the wise father figures in jazz. But he’s always been looked up to, even when he was young man.

He’s been heard in an astounding variety of settings in his 50-year career. Early on, he made a mark as a creative and challenging acoustic jazz artist and Miles Davis sideman who had also written a hit song, “Watermelon Man.”