By Annie Reuter
President Obama and the White House celebrated International Jazz Day on Saturday (April 30), with an all-star lineup that included respected jazz pioneers Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin as well as special performances by Aretha Franklin, Sting and Esperanza Spalding.
An hour into the concert, Herbie Hancock launched a tribute to the late musical icon, Prince.
“My original idea [was] to link two of my passions: there’s jazz and there’s hip hop,” he told the audience. “These improvisational art forms changed the course of music history and continue to impact culture around the world. But last week we lost a legend, an icon. 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 epitomized the word music. Tonight we celebrate his incredible virtuosity and pay tribute to his legacy that spans every musical genre.”
The Prince medley featured a special appearance by Franklin, who performed a short portion of “Purple Rain.” Th audience cheered loudly as Franklin walked out, clad in a gold gown, but her warm, soulful vocals left the audience silent.
The she shouted, “Everybody come on and sing,” and the crowd joined in.
Watch Franklin’s performance at the 74-minute mark on the video below.