Herbie Hancock – The Piano (1979/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 52:06 minutes | 757 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy
“The Piano” is the twenty-sixth album by Herbie Hancock. As with “Directstep” (recorded one week previously), this album was recorded, and originally only released, in Japan. It was one of Hancock’s most successful albums in Japan, perhaps because it was entirely solo piano. Hancock tackles Jazz standards such as “My Funny Valentine”, “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Some Day My Prince Will Come” while also composing/performing four original songs. This album was initially released exclusively in Japan and first issued there on CD in 1983. In 2004, over 25 years after its recording, the album was released with four additional alternate takes of the same session. It was the first and only (until 2014) of Hancock’s Japanese releases available internationally.
Recorded after the funky fusion of Head Hunters, Thrust, Sextant, and other electric albums, and before the dawn of “Rockit” and more commercially viable and hip-hop-oriented material, Herbie Hancock took time out in 1978 to touch base again with his piano. Recorded completely solo, this set was issued only in Japan as the truly awful Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now was issued stateside. A curious set, the first half of the album features Hancock playing jazz standards in truly elegant and restrained fashion. His treatments of “My Funny Valentine,” “Green Dolphin Street,” and “Someday My Prince Will Come” — all tracks he performed as part of the Miles Davis Quintet — are elongated, morphed, and beautifully woven together as a suite. The latter half of the recording is comprised of four tracks, “Harvest Time,” “Sonrisa,” “Manhattan Island,” and “Blue Otani,” all of which are originals. These pieces are concerned with Hancock’s preoccupation with the piano as a solo instrument. They are composed as formalist treatments that are extrapolated upon at several different junctures, or “turning points,” within them. They embody notions of classical music à la Anton Webern, blues, Erroll Garner’s lyrical phrasing, and Bill Evans’ harmonic sensibilities. They are, in sum, inseparable from one another and are usually performed as a suite. This is a stunning triumph for Hancock, and it’s too bad that the album has never been issued in the U.S., as it would undoubtedly be a popular addition to his vast catalog. About the closest one can come are the tracks from here included in The Herbie Hancock Box. Maybe someday. ~ Thom Jurek
01 – My Funny Valentine
02 – On Green Dolphin Street
03 – Someday My Prince Will Come
04 – Harvest Time
05 – Sonrisa
06 – Manhattan Island
07 – Blue Otani
08 – My Funny Valentine (TK 3 Alternate)
09 – On Green Dolphin Street (TK 3 Alternate)
10 – Harvest Time (TK 3 Alternate)
11 – Someday My Prince Will Come (TK 3 Alternate)
Produced by David Rubinson. Engineered & Mixed by Fred Catero.
Recorded on October 25–26, 1978 at CBS Studios, Tokyo, Japan.
Herbie Hancock – acoustic piano