James Tisscione “Rockit Man Herbie Hancockthst's Shanghai November 2013, p.55


Yet his greatest connection to Asia is of the spiritual kind. Hancock was playing a gig in Seattle in 1972, when he experienced “something mystical” during a jam with bassist Buster Williams. After the show, Williams introduced him to the Japanese sect of Nichiren Buddhism and its rhythmic chanting, something he says he wouldn't have been open to if he had “not experienced it first through the music.”

Now a devout practitioner of 41 years, Hancock says his faith led him to stop thinking himself “as a musician – that changed everything. If I see myself fundamentally as a musician, there's a division between me and other human beings. But if I see myself as a human being, there are no divisions.”