1st NW Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of Feb. 25, 2008
... when it came time for the final announcement, album of the year, the award went to 67-year-old jazz legend Herbie Hancock for "River: The Joni Letters," his album of Joni Mitchell interpretations. The decision appeared to shock many, though Hancock wasn't caught off-stride.
In his acceptance, the pianist, who had earlier co-performed George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," paid tribute to a number of his predecessors, most notably mentor Miles Davis.
"I'd like to thank the Academy for courageously breaking the mold this time, in doing so, honoring the giants upon whose shoulders I stand, some of whom like Miles Davis, John Coltrane ... unquestionably deserved the award in the past," Hancock said. "But this is a new day, that proves that the impossible can be made possible."
"River" is the first jazz album to win album of the year since Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's 1964 "Getz/Gilberto" pulled off the trick. The two works are the only jazz albums to have done so.