Friday, 18 May 2018

Herbie Hancock - The Piano (1979)

How 'bout a proper, old-school-SGTG jazz piano Friday, courtesy of an old master who I don't listen to nearly enough these days, especially not in pure, acoustic-jazz format.  At the end of the 70s, as his funky fusion era was beginning to dip in quality, and his proto hip-hop future shocks were still a few years away, Herbie Hancock got right back to his roots in this Japan-only solo piano LP.

Recording for a famously audiophile, tech-savvy market, Hancock made his second foray into the then state-of-the-art Direct to Disc recording technique.  A one-shot deal for each 16 minutes max album side, Herbie got the nod from the engineer that they'd started cutting direct to the master that would be pressed straight to vinyl, and started to play each of these two suites.  The first was three jazz standards associated with his career-making time in Miles Davis' band - masterful renditions of My Funny Valentine, On Green Dolphin Street and Someday My Prince Will Come.

The second was a gorgeous run of four originals - the sweet and lovely Harvest Time, the more groovy Sonrisa, then a similar variation in mood between the perfect closing pair Manhattan Island and Blue Otani.  As perfect an album as this was, the wider world wouldn't get to hear it for over 20 years, unless prepared to fork out for an import copy.  Thankfully though, The Piano is now much more accessible and remains ageless and fresh sounding, much of which will be thanks to the live-in-the-studio, against the clock limitations of the original recording.  This is quite possibly my favourite Herbie Hancock album, full stop.

link

3 comments:

  1. THanks for this! Never heard this one before

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  2. I remember on that two disc solo/duo set he made with Chick Corea for Columbia with the light blue cover in the late 70s, Herbie's solo side was my favorite. Looking forward to this, a new one for me too.

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  3. Great! Thank you! Probably my favorite pianist.

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