Entertainment Weekly - 10/9/98, p.85
"...Herbie Hancock's striking tribute runs deeper and wider than most, clearly revealing Gershwin's cross-stylistic imprint, from jazz to pop to classical...a feat Hancock is familiar with--and adding snippets of Ellingtonia and other seminal jazz references for historical resonance..." - Rating: A-
The Wire - 1/99, pp.51-2
"...the album works, mainly because old rogue Hancock is copping the latest trends injazz rhythm....Hancock is totally at ease...playing pleasantly clanging chords, his sophisticated timing and dissonance signalling a pert intelligence..."
Rap Pages - 5/99, p.1464 (out of 5)
- "...Hancock has always been one to do what he wants musically....you're liable to find Hancock stretching out in just about every direction you can think of..."
GERSHWIN'S WORLD won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Individual Or Group. "St. Louis Blues" won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s).
Personnel: Herbie Hancock (piano, organ); Herbie Hancock; Bakithi Kumalo (guitar, bass instrument); Eriko Sato , Eric Wyrick, Renee Jolles, Asmira Woodward-Page, Richard Rood, Ellen Payne, Clavin Wiersman, Ronnie Bauch, Naoko Tanaka, Martha Caplin, Catherine Cho, Jennifer Frautschi, Joanna Jenner, Todd Phillips, Peter Winograd, Nicolas Danielson (violin); Toby Appel, Katherine Murdock, Ahling Neu, Nardo Poy, Sarah Clarke, Karen Dreyfus (viola); Susannah Chapman, Melissa Meel, Mina Smith (cello); Elizabeth Mann (flute); Charles Neidich (clarinet, e flat clarinet); David Singer (clarinet); Brian Greene (oboe); Matthew Dine (English horn); Cynde Iverson, Michael Finn (bassoon); Chris Komer, William Purvis (horns); Ira Coleman, Alex Al (bass instrument); Gene Jackson (drums); Madou Dembelle (djembe); Cyro Bapista, Bireyma Guiye (percussion); Robert Sadin (programming, drum programming, percussion programming); Kathleen Battle (vocals, soprano); Stevie Wonder (vocals, harmonica); Joni Mitchell (vocals); Marlon Graves (guitar, percussion); Charles Curtis (cello); James Carter , Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone); Eddie Henderson (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chick Corea (piano); Terri Lyne Carrington (drums); Massamba Diop (talking drum); Cyro Baptista, Cheik Mbaye (percussion); Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Audio Mixers: Marlon Graves; Brian Vibberts; Bruce Swedien.
Liner Note Authors: Herbie Hancock; Robert Sadin.
Recording information: HIt Factory (03/1998-06/1998); Master A Work Studios (03/1998-06/1998); Masters At Work Studios (03/1998-06/1998); Ocean Way Recording (03/1998-06/1998); O'Henry Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA (03/1998-06/1998); Right Track Recording (03/1998-06/1998); RPM Sound Studios, New York, NY (03/1998-06/1998); RPM Studios, NY (03/1998-06/1998); sony Music Studios (03/1998-06/1998); The Hit Factory, New York, NY (03/1998-06/1998).
Author: Duke Ellington.
Illustrator: Istvan Banyai.
Photographers: Robert Zukerman; James Minchin; Jimmy Katz.
Unknown Contributor Role: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Arrangers: Herbie Hancock; Stevie Wonder; Robert Sadin.
The epitome of a 20th Century musician, Herbie Hancock has always traversed wildly divergent stylistic paths, finding his way easily into jazz, funk, fusion, dance-pop and more. His ability to make valid individual statements in all these genres is part of what makes his compositions and performances so rich. So it doesn't seem at all incongrous for Hancock to interpret the work of George Gershwin, redefining much of the Gershwin canon in the process (with assistance from some world-class compatriots). Hancock's stated aim for GERSHWIN'S WORLD is to get inside the pieces, illustrating their essence rather than knocking off rote versions of these standards. Towards that end, "St. Louis Blues" is transmogrified by the soulful vocals and funky chromatic harmonica of Stevie Wonder; "It Ain't Necessarily So" becomes an ominous, angular jazz vamp, with saxmen James Carter and Kenny Garret trading arch, sly interjections. Another genre-buster, Joni Mitchell, makes a case for a potential career as a jazz vocalist via her performance on "The Man I Love" and "Summertime."