Chaka Khan, Carl Craig Join Herbie Hancock On Future 2 Future

Jazz keyboardist also nabs Bill Laswell, Rob Swift, others for new LP.

Herbie Hancock, a jazz keyboardist consistently ahead of his time, continues his forward thinking on his new album, Future 2 Future.

With saxophonist Wayne Shorter, electric bassist Bill Laswell (who also produced the album) and acoustic bassist Charnett Moffatt rounding out Hancock's ensemble; guest DJs Rob Swift, A Guy Called Gerald, Carl Craig and DXT providing the cutting edge; and Chaka Khan and Imani Uzuri adding classically soulful vocals, Future 2 Future seamlessly bridges the gaps between electronica, cool jazz, hip-hop and funk. The set is scheduled for release September 25, according to Hancock's publicist.

Future 2 Future marks the first time Hancock and Laswell have collaborated since 1983's scratch-loaded "Rockit," which earned a Grammy award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. The project stands as Hancock's first contemporary jazz project since his 1995 fusion album Dis Is Da Drum.

Additional cameos are made by spoken-word poet Dana Bryant and drummers Jack DeJohnette, Karsh Kale, and the late Tony Williams, with whom Hancock played in the Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-'60s.

While Hancock is scheduled to tour in the fall with tenor-saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpet player Roy Hargrove, a jaunt to support Future 2 Future is being planned for 2002, his publicist said.

Hancock, who began his musical career with 1962's Takin' Off, joined Miles Davis' group a year later, remaining with the innovative trumpeter for the next five years. Davis became Hancock's mentor, and the pair equally influenced each other's progression throughout their residency together. After leaving the Davis group, Hancock fully immersed himself in synthesized funk, recording albums with his own group and forming the Head Hunters in 1973. However, unlike Davis — who never looked back once he forged into fusion — Hancock periodically returned to his conventional jazz roots.

Hancock's last album of new material was 1998's Gershwin's World, an LP featuring the songs of composer George Gershwin interpreted by Hancock and a slew of collaborators, including Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and pianist Chick Corea.