Andrew Hill Jazzpar Octet + 1: The Day the World Stood Still (2004)
Every year the Danish Jazzpar Prize is awarded to a jazz musician selected by the Jazzpar Committee, and a series of concerts is produced to celebrate and showcase the artist. In 2003, Andrew Hill was selected for the award. Stunt Records, a Danish label, has issued a selection of these live performances at venues in Denmark and Sweden.
Pianist and composer Andrew Hill's trio with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Nasheet Waits is featured with a stellar group of European horn players on this freewheeling set of Hill compositions. Andrew Hill has been a uniquely individual artist on the scene since his classic Blue Note recordings in the 1960s. His approaches to rhythm and harmony are unorthodox, even now. This means his music can be challenging, but also quite invigorating and energizing. The music on this disc bristles with the energy typical of free jazz. There are moments of wild abandon but also moments of reflection, questioning, and beauty.
Andrew Hill seems to be a point of triangulation connecting Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk with the free jazz concepts of the sixties. His highly original musical palette is expanded beautifully by this group of highly talented European reed and brass players. Check out Liudas Mockūnas' burly baritone sax on "Not Sa No Sa," followed by a Scott Colley solo excursion where his sound and ideas on bass are deep, rich, and satisfying.
Hill's piano is featured prominently in "Flying In The Sky. The piece begins with some gorgeous harmonized horn lines reminiscent of the Duke, flows into a beautiful piano/bass/drums section, then to a baritone/alto/tuba/trumpet conversation and back to the original motif. The pointillistic composition "Ghetto Echoes seems to reflect unsettled emotions. "Yesterday Tomorrow takes the listener on a poignant, then intense journey, again featuring splendid bass work from Scott Colley and a dynamic performance from the entire ensemble. This continues through the final track, "When the World Stays Still, Pt. 2, an elegiac statement that closes the disc on a hopeful note.
Those who have followed Andrew Hill's fascinating musical journey will hear this as an essential document of his continuing vitality and vision.
Track Listing: Not Sa No Sa; Flying in the Sky; Ghetto Echoes; Yesterday Tomorrow; Hermano Frere; Do To; When Peace Comes; 11/8; When the World Stays Still (Part II).
Personnel: Staffan Svensson (tp), Klaus L�hrer (b-tb / tuba), Peter Fuglsang (as / cl / b-cl), Thomas Agergaard (ts / fl), Liudas Mockunas (ss / bars / cl / b-cl), Andrew Hill (p & cond), Scott Colley (b), Nasheet Waits (d). *Lenora Zenzalai Helm (voc) on Track 5.