Two rare Herbie Hancock albums will be released Aug. 17 via Columbia/Legacy.

Two rare Herbie Hancock albums will be released Aug. 17 via Columbia/Legacy. Originally released in 1979, "VSOP Live Under the Sky" has been expanded for its maiden CD issue with 10 previously unreleased tracks taped July 27, 1979, in Tokyo. The Hancock solo studio album "The Piano" was previously available only as a limited release in Japan and is also appearing on CD for the first time.

"Live Under the Sky" finds Hancock backed by Miles Davis Quartet regulars Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, plus trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. The group offers extended versions of original compositions such as "Tear Drops," "Eye of the Hurricane" and Domo," plus Williams' "Pee Wee," a holdover from the Davis years.

The second disc features different, mostly shorter versions of some of the previous day's concert selections, plus the standard "Stella by Starlight." Hancock has also penned new commentary for the liner notes.

"The Piano" was Hancock's first solo piano release. It includes the Davis-associated tracks "On Green Dolphin Street," "Someday My Prince Will Come In" and "My Funny Valentine," plus four originals improvised on the spot: "Harvest Time," "Sonrisa," "Manhattan Island" and "Blue Otani." Four alternate, previously unreleased takes round out the set.

Hancock has four more dates on 2004 touring schedule, beginning tomorrow (July 22) in Zurich. Beginning Feb. 3 in Eugene, Ore., he will hit the road with Directions In Music, featuring saxophonist Michael Brecker, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade.

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