Herbie Hancock ’60, winner of 16 Grammy awards and an Oscar, was one of five honorees for this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, along with Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Martina Arroyo, and Shirley MacLaine

Herbie Hancock sitting on a piano at Grinnell

“At 73, Hancock is still further ahead of the technological curve than counterparts a third his age,” said the Vancouver Sun when reviewing Herbie Hancock’s closing concert at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival this year. No surprise to Grinnellians — Hancock had an interest in electrical engineering while at Grinnell and graduated with a degree in music.

CBS reported on the Dec. 8 award ceremony — which they will broadcast at 9–11 p.m., ET/PT on Dec. 29, 2013 — saying:

Bill O’Reilly of Fox News led the tributes for Hancock. “I know, I’m surprised too,” he said.

Hancock stands out as a “remarkable American” and “remarkable artist,” O’Reilly said. Though he said he’s no expert on music, “I just know what I like.”

Jazz greats Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, and others played a tribute for Hancock’s work. And Snoop Dogg took the stage and brought some rap into the mix to celebrate Hancock’s influence on the birth of hip-hop.

“Herbie, we love you, baby,” he said. “Thank you for creating hip-hop.”

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