Ever since Prince’s death musical tributes from artists have been pouring in and we are not complaining. The most recent homage comes from Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul performed a jazzy rendition of “Purple Rain” during the White House’s celebration of International Jazz Day on Friday (April 29).
The all-star concert featured jazz legends like Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves and many others.
While many may consider Prince a pop or soul icon, his music actually transcended a multitude of genres including jazz. So a tribute to him at a jazz celebration like this is so apropos.
Herbie Hancock wanted to present a jazz and hip-hop performance at the White House to show the two art forms similarities in musical styles and global impact. But he felt it was important to honor the Purple One at this rare occasion.
“Last week we lost a legend, an icon,” said Hancock of Prince. “The son of a jazz pianist whose music inspired a new generation of artists to create without boundaries.”
“Courageous, playful, wise, brilliant and a feast for the eyes and ears, Prince epitomize the word music,” he said.
Joining Hancock for his Prince tribute was musicians Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Terri Lyne Carrington and Rapsody. The group performed jazzy renditions of “1999” and “Kiss” (with Rhapsody) before Franklin’s rendition of “Purple Rain.”
Although the veteran songbird’s performance was brief, it’s touching enough for anyone to realize what a great loss the music world has suffered within the past couple of weeks.
The entire 90-mintute jazz celebration is a feast for the eyes and ears. At the end, there’s an all-star performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” featuring Esperanza Spalding, Sting, Hancock, Jarreau, Reeves and many other vocalists.
Watch Aretha Franklin’s tribute to Prince above.