What type of star-speckled musical vistas are in his future? His last record, a globe-trotting collection of imaginative covers called The Imagine Project, was released in 2010, and he's been teasing a follow-up in interviews for the last few years. In 2015, he told Billboard he was in the studio with Kendrick Lamar-affiliated artists like the bassist Thundercat and the producer Flying Lotus. Earlier this year, saxophonist Terrace Martin, who is currently touring with Hancock's band, mentioned in a Rolling Stone interview that they'd been recording with younger jazz luminaries like Kamasi Washington, Derrick Hodge, and Robert Glasper. Martin promised "some gangster shit."
Hancock doesn't exactly put it that way. He describes the recording sessions for the upcoming project as a workshop-like environment where ideas flowed freely. There's no official release date yet -- he's touring this summer, testing out material on the road, and he says they're still trying to get some rappers who he can't mention yet on the record, too -- but he thinks it might end up getting released in bits and pieces rather than all at once. "Because of technology today, there is no single method of releasing a record project," he says. "There's a lot of flexibility in doing that."