Friday, 18 May 2018
Herbie Hancock - The Piano (1979)
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.