Andrew Hill: Compulsion!!!!! (2007)
What makes this album sound so fresh after decades is the consistently intricate and emotionally galvanizing interplay between Hill, his polyrhythmic rhythmic section, and the horns. John Gilmore, here on bass clarinet and tenor sax, always had an astute way of pushing Hill into playing at the top of his intelligence, making me believe that the best Hill recordings were those with Gilmore contributing. As for trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, this was the kind of session that also challenged him deeply, as his freely searching and scorching solo on "Premonition" illustrates.
As for Hill, you can sense that this was his moment of heeding Cecil Taylor's dictum that a piano consists of eighty-eight tuned drums. His percussive attack on the title track is a furiously rhapsodic soundtrack to the mid-1960s. The four compositions tend to run together with repeated listening as if this is one suite of sound and fury, with "Premonition" as a pensive, meditative interlude.
This long-overdue CD reissue helps heighten the presence of the superb contributions of bassist Cecil McBee, and drummers Joe Chambers, Nadi Qamar, and Renaud Simmons. I recall my original vinyl copy had a murky sounding smear of bass drum sounds, not that it stopped me from wearing out the grooves quickly. This recording is a core document of 1960s jazz.
Track Listing: Compulsion; Legacy; Premonition; Limbo.
Personnel: Andre Hill: piano; Freddie Hubbard: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Gilmore: tenor sax, bass clarinet; Cecil McBee: bass; Richard Davis: bass (3); Joe Chambers: drums; Nadi Qamar: African drums, thumb piano, percussion; Renaud Simmons: congas, percussion.
Record Label: Blue Note Records
Style: Modern Jazz