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Published: 2010/12/10

Kyle Picks Herbie

Kyle Hollingsworth’s Hoppy Holidays tour kicks off tonight at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, with DJ Logic & Liza Oxnard joining the Kyle Hollingsworth Band. In the days leading up to these shows, the String Cheese Incident keyboard player has delivered a countdown of those keyboard players who have had the greatest influence on his playing. He named Stevie Wonder to the number five slot, followed by Brent Mydland, Bernie Worrell and Bill Payne. Hollingsworth has now brought his countdown to a close, in identifying Herbie Hancock as number one.

First Hollingsworth acknowledges other influences such as Red Garland, Brad Mehldau, Chester Thompson, Matt Rollings, and “of course, my college teacher Greg Hatza, had a big influence on me and helped me get started on my journey so many years ago.” Then, he writes, ” So yes, every keyboard player is expected to cite Herbie as an influence. And with good reason, he is sooo the man. I first found him in college after my piano professor turned me on to Speak No Evil (a Wayne Shorter album). Of course I had heard of Herbie from the Eighties hit “Rockit,” but the earlier Miles Davis side of him was so was so soulful. Every note had so much feel and intention. And although in college I was studying all the greats, such as Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bud Powell, etc., I kept coming back to Herbie. The live Miles Davis 1964 discs Four & More + My Funny Valentine_ were constantly playing in my room. It was, and remains to be, one of my favorite recordings of all time. There is great compositional improvisation on that record, so much musical intuition between the players. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the Headhunters’ records. This was another level for me as well. Not only funky playing, but also that tone coming from the Rhodes was something I had to have. Herbie’s feel is always at the center of his playing whether a piano, Rhodes or Clavinet. He was a great inspiration for me.”

The entire series can be found at Hollingsworth’s blog.

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