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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
The Piano
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 January 2018
This little-known solo piano album by Herbie Hancock(b. 1940) was one of the first Direct-To-Disc recordings made in Tokyo on October 25 & 26, 1978 and previously available only as a limited-edition album in Japan.
Hancock plays inventive versions of standards associated with Miles Davis plus four originals.
This CD reissue adds three alternative takes of the standards and one of Hancock's originals, 'Harvest Time'.
Superbly recorded with stunning clarity this neglected gem should be heard by all fans of solo piano jazz.

Btw ~ On my copy track 10 should be titled 'Harvest Time' not 'Someday My Prince Will Come' and vice versa for track 11.
One person found this helpful
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on 24 April 2015
This is a sublime and masterly piano playing and I particularly like the eclectic Otani Blues track. This refers of course to the famous Tokyo hotel of the same name. I was slightly disappointed that there were alternate versions of all the tracks apart from that one.
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on 20 February 2018
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on 2 April 2017
Lovely relaxing piano
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on 19 October 2016
Great CD....And in perfect condition
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 March 2005
When records as good as this 1978 recording do not get released for nearly thirty years outside of Japan, you can hardly wonder at the 1970's reputation as the decade that Jazz forgot. As far as I am aware, Hancock does not have a prolific record of solo piano offerings and this CD, excellently recorded despite it's age, demonstrates that this is something that he should do more to rectify. Had it had been released at the time, no doubt this is a record that would have acquired classic status.
As someone who has tried to learn jazz piano, I feel that I am qualified to agree with everything that the other reviewer says, although I would add that the magic that is contained within this disc requires careful listening to fully appreciate. (Unlike Keith Jarrett who probably appeals as much to the non-musician and musician alike.) There is room in my CD collection for all types of pianists, yet Hancock is, for this reveiwer, the most technically accomplished and greatest of them all. The first half of the disc offers some reflective renditions of standards associated with Miles Davis and allows Hancock to explore his rich, harmonic palete. "My funny valentine" opens like a piece of 20th Century Classical music - no surpise really since Hancock is familiar with this repertoire. "Green Dolphin Street" demonstrates a simplification of the harmonic structure a la Coltrane, yet his right hand improvisations seem to explore every harmonic possibility. The control of dynamics is breath-taking. This is even more remarkable given that these tracks are all unedited. Elsewhere, a set of originals is no less involving, ending in some dirty blues playing. Although these tracks are all around the five minute mark, the pianist has carefully crafted them into perfectly contained performances that go well beyond the usual run around the block on the chord changes. Each composition , therefore, has it's own carefully considered architecture. This is the work of a true genius.
At the end of the official release, this CD adds some alternative takes that give a more robust view of the standards that were probably considered contrary to the intended ambience of the original LP. Whereas alternative takes can often be little more that inferior renditions of the selected take, these offer a fascinating window into Hancock's improvisational process and are a valid addition.
In conclusion then, this is a record that every pianist will want to own and will certainly continue to yield new gems with every listen. Absolutely fantastic.
37 people found this helpful
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 March 2017
This album might be one of the more obscure outings from Herbie Hancock, but it must surely be amongst his best. Recorded direct to disc in 1979 for Japanese only release scores heavily in the all the ways that really mater. Firstly, the level of artistry could not be higher. Herbie plays this classy selection of ballads and own material with the touch and taste of a master. Every note is worth the playing and every note is given its due. No show boating, but plenty of melody and interesting musical asides that make for an absorbing and thought provoking listen. Secondly, the sound quality is of a kind that would keep just about every audiophile happy. It really does sound as if Herbie is in the room with you. Thirdly the choice of material is first rate. Great versions of ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘On Green Dolphin Street’ and and absolutely wonderful stomping funky blues in ‘Blue Otani’.

Make no mistake, this is not bland dinner jazz noodling, this prime music making. Essential.
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on 18 February 2007
Recorded in the late 70's, but only widely issued fairly recently, the piano is an essential disc for fan's of herbie hancock. Whilst not necessarily the first cd a curious listener should pick up (blue note discs like maiden voyage and empyrian isles, or the funky headhunters album are the best starting place), it comes highly recommended.

Basically falling into 2 sections, the cd consists of 3 unique readings of jazz standards (my funny valentine, someday my prince will come and on green dolphin street) and 4 originals. The approach to the standards is very laid back and modern in outlook (especially in terms of the voicing) , but with the driving sense of ryhthm common to herbie's playing.

The originals show the most stylistic variety. Harvest time & Sonarisa continue the laid back feeling of the standards, but with a more pastoral sound.

Manhattan is a slightly moodier affair, with the most definitvely 'hancock' sound, rich 'jazzier' harmony and gorgeous runs. The disc then ends with Blue Otani, a more 'rooty' affair, as bluesy as the title suggests, but contains the same elements that bind the whole of the album and Herbie's piano style. Alternate takes are a great addition at the end.

It goes without saying that any piano student intrested in Herbie should really buy this album, being that it's virtually a masterclass on unaccomponied modern jazz piano, but in no way is this simply a 'pianists' album(especially as the focus is on the overall sound, and not just overtly 'choppy' playing, of which herbie is more than capable of, but choses not to overdo), but for anyone that likes the sound of a piano being played with the skill, grace and focus he brings to it.
11 people found this helpful
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on 5 January 2011
Out of many piano solo cd's I had the pleasure to listen, this is surely one of the most pleasant ones.
On top of Hancock technique that doesn't need any introduction, the entire cd has a lovely rhythm, tracks are blended very wisely an and Hancock sounds in very good shape.
Definitively a good buy.
3 people found this helpful
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on 21 November 2004
I'll keep it short:
This is THE most important and incredible CD I've ever bought/heard!
Originally recorded 1978 in Japan - and only available in a very limited Japan LP edition.
Hancock's interpretations of the jazz standards are no less than amazing.
However, his own compositions: Harvest Time, Sonrisa, Manhattan Island and Bluer Otani are AWESOME!
This is a MUST HAVE CD - thank god for the 2004 CD release, digitally re-mastered - does pay a little more respect to Herbie Hancock and this fairly unknown/underexposed masterpiece.
More melodic, jazzy and floating than Jarret will ever be.
Listen for yourself and learn!
Herbie Hancock - a true genius on The Piano...
28 people found this helpful
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