Furthering the King Crimson Connection
After corresponding with Bill Bruford, I was able to reach John Wetton. John recalls having also been what he describes as “mortally struck” by the Mwandishi band’s recording, ‘Crossings’ (Bill had spoken of it having it made his hair stand on end). Clearly the impact was strong! John’s experience was that it was the Mwandishi band that rendered distinctions between jazz and rock indistinguishable.
John Wetton recalls having discovered by chance that King Crimson and Herbie’s Mwandishi band were playing the same night in Kansas City, in Spring 1973. Driving by, he noticed a theater marquee with Herbie’s name “live tonight on stage 7:30.” Since Crimson’s show was later in the night, Wetton and Bruford called the theater and were happily greeted backstage by Hancock, where they talked about many things, including the fact that Crimson would be playing in Long Beach, California, twelve weeks later. It was at that subsequent show that Herbie Hancock returned the favor, and visited King Crimson backstage, continued their conversation, and introduced the band to Nichiren Buddhist chanting. John Wetton still has Hancock’s card on which the chant is written.