JazzTimes (p.101) - "THE PIANO is a rich, vivid sonic documentation of an individual piano at a specific moment in a particular acoustic space in the hands of a special artist."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.124) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[F]ull of riches..."
Herbie Hancock never really focused on solo piano. However, this 1978 release, which was previously only available in Japan, is a rare gem in the Hancock discography. Thanks to this overdue 2004 reissue, the listener is invited to explore the musical mind of this pianist in an up-close and intimate setting.
All 11 tracks on THE PIANO are quite reflective, with Hancock employing many rich chordal textures and winding melodic gestures throughout. On "My Funny Valentine," Hancock combines the harmonic palette of Bill Evans with his own distinctive phrasing and unexpected modal shifts. His own composition "Blue Otani" is the only bluesy piece on this disc, and here Hancock slyly suggests the stride piano tradition without ever really playing in this style. "Harvest Time" is the most atmospheric piece on the album. As Hancock's fingers glide over the keys, one can almost envision the first blush of daybreak on a farm. For anybody seeking to better understand the conceptual and technical wizardry of Hancock, THE PIANO is a priceless find.