“I'm learning a lot from the young people I'm working with," Hancock said. He added, "I never want to stop learning. And I'm not even thinking in terms of: 'I'll do this record, get it out there, promote it, do some concerts, and then at some point I'll work on the next record.' These days, you can put out two tracks, then something a little later that’s connected to the other two. So where you draw the line is up to the artist. It's a new day."
The 77-year-old musician is also collaborating with artists leading the new jazz vanguard, like saxophonist Kamasi Washington and keyboardist and saxophonist Terrace Martin. Martin is producing the as-yet-untitled record, and over the past decade, he's bolstered his jazz playing with production work for artists like Lamar, Snoop Dogg, YG, Travis Scott and Talib Kweli. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Martin noted that the collection of musicians working on Hancock's new album also included Robert Glasper and Derrick Hodge.
Wayne Shorter – the saxophone legend and Hancock's former bandmate in the Miles Davis Quintet – has also been involved with the record, as have West African guitarist Lionel Loueke and acclaimed Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain.
"I want to make records that point toward the concept of bringing people together and working toward encouraging people to aspire to be global citizens, and not just American citizens, or Italian citizens or Japanese citizens," Hancock said. "To be global, or world, citizens is vital. Because that's what we'll be facing in the future and this whole thing of pitting one country against another – that stuff has to die."
Hancock's next album will mark his first since 2010's The Imagine Project.