It’s been almost two weeks since Prince’s untimely passing and the tributes are still pouring in. The latest tribute to Prince came from a Queen—the Queen of Soul that is. Aretha Franklin paid tribute to Prince by covering “Purple Rain” at The White House for International Jazz Day. Also performing and emceeing the event was jazz legend Herbie Hancock who had this to say about the late, great musical genius.
“Courageous, playful, wise, brilliant, and a feast for the eyes and ears, Prince epitomized the word music. And tonight, we celebrate his incredible virtuosity and pay tribute to his legacy that spans every musical genre.”
Obama made the opening speech and rightly touted Prince as a “creative icon.” The night also included performances by Rebirth Jazz Band, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, and 12-year-old piano prodigy Joey Alexander. Hancock delivered a stunning recreation of a Prince guitar solo on the keyboard, a very difficult thing to do (see photos of Hancock and Shorter's set at Jazz Fest) But the highlight of the evening—as it always is when the Queen of Soul is around—was Aretha Franklin singing “Purple Rain.” Before she began singing, Franklin eloquently remarked that, “God sent down a rainbow to Prince’s house so he could walk up to heaven." As is always the case, the crowd was hanging on Aretha’s every note.
You can check out the whole show embedded above. Franklin’s tribute comes at about the hour and ten-minute mark but the entire show is incredible. Also check out Obama's opening speech below.