Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter Beseech Next Generation of Artists

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com | Mar 11, 2016 10:25 AM EST
(L-R) Recording artists Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock attend the Thelonious Monk Jazz Tribute Concert For Herbie Hancock at the Kodak Theatre on October 28, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo : Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

It's a large benefit for an artist when they can listen to and understand the advice of their elders. As Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter said in an open letter penned to young and budding talent, your elders "are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom."

But taking advice from the generation that walked before you is just one of the topics Mr. Hancock and Mr. Shorter covered in their letter. Everywhere from abstaining from ego to living in a constant state of wonder, the musical giants have shared what they feel are the most essential qualities that an artist can possess.

This advice, too, is predicated on the notions of our ever-changing world. In a time where gun laws and race relations are toiling in the balance, it can appear that the U.S. and the world abound are in, as the duo said, "upheaval."

It's a complex and creative world and the basis for an artist to thrive exists internally. Prefacing their main thesis of the letter, the jazz legends wrote:

"We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.

From the horror at the Bataclan, to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.

While it's true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don't have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.

We'd like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession."

So while you try and find something to read that isn't rooted in defaming the political frontrunners, be sure to read the rest of the letter at Nest HQ.

But in the meantime, listen to both Shorter and Hancock below to keep your mind moving and constantly wandering.

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