Herbie Hancock’s secret of great musicianship: Do your math and science homework!

Reed Johnson in the Los Angeles Times:

ScreenHunter_01 Jul. 20 10.40 Hancock has placed his mark on modern music like few other performers.

Now he's got a new gig as creative jazz chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In that capacity, he'll be responsible for programming jazz concerts at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, bringing in guest artists and possibly commissioning new pieces.

So what are some keys to the professional success and longevity of Hancock, who turned 70 in April and seems as occupied as ever?

Well, one of them is: Study your math and science. As a self-described “techie,” Hancock says his lifelong embrace of electronic experimentation has helped him stay on top as well as take advantage of evolving musical developments.

Here's part of what he had to say on the subject during a recent interview at his Westside home:

“I've always been interested in science. I used to take watches apart and clocks apart, and there's little screws, and a little this and that, and I found out if I dropped one of them, that thing ain't gonna work. When I was a kid, I put things back together and they never worked anyway! But just, like, going into those details, it's kind of a scientist's thing. And I have that kind of [mind], it's part of my personality.”

“I'm one of the people who helped push it in the beginning. It was easier for me because I was an engineering major in college for two years. So when synthesizers came in, they used terminology I knew.”

More here.