"My name is Andrew Hill--pianist." With humility characteristic of his long career in music, these words open Solos: The Jazz Sessions. Hill's avant-garde contemporaries like Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton often pushed the boundaries of their music in directly experimental and mathematical ways and the affect is sometimes intentionally discordant. Hill's unique ability was to embrace melody even as he took it to the breaking point. His capacity to cast it off and reel it back in seamlessly was a gift. In Hill's unique creative process he danced his way inside and outside harmonies and despite comparisons to Thelonious Monk ...read more
The folks at Music Matters have been reissuing classic Blue Note albums of the 1950s and 1960s at an aggressive clip, and have been careful to include virtually every style of music the label recorded, including some of its more challenging material. Pianist Andrew Hill's Point of Departure (1964) will never be mistaken for light cocktail jazz, but it's inclusion in this reissue series displays Music Matters' commitment to more adventurous material. In 1964, the term avant-garde could have been applied to any number of different musical angles in jazz. The free experiments of John Coltrane and Ornette ...read more
More than anything, music is similar to line. Music is also unidirectional; it cannot back up within the same context and repeat what has just been done. Excluding the shallowness or depth of the resonance of sound, the dimensionality in music stems from the intersection of lines as one instrumental line overlaps the other. An example of this interrelationship comes in a 1993 duo date with drummer Chico Hamilton and the late, unsurpassable pianist, Andrew Hill, on Dreams Come True.
Those familiar with Chico Hamilton's impervious pulsations will recognize his equally adept skill at chasing seemingly non-rhythmic musical curves as ...read more
Until Mosaic issued the limited-edition, seven-disc box set, The Complete Blue Note Andrew Hill Sessions (1963-66), pianist Andrew Hill's remarkably prolific and consistently excellent Blue Note recordings languished in obscurity, especially on CD where only his masterpiece, 1964’s Point of Departure, was available with any certainty. Since then at least ten titles recorded between 1963 and 1970 have seen individual release (most with alternate takes), with Change being one of the most recent to be made available on its own.In a sense, all of Andrew Hill’s Blue Notes sound alike. This is by no means ... read more
Completed only five months after Compulsion (Blue Note, 1965), pianist Andrew Hill's creative free-form breakthrough, this quartet session was recorded, edited, titled and cataloged, but never officially released under his own name. Unceremoniously shelved at the time, like a number of recent reissues documenting Hill's more experimental 1960s work, the six principle cuts were eventually issued under Sam Rivers' name as Involution (Blue Note, 1976). The two alternate takes were included in The Complete Blue Note Andrew Hill Sessions 1963-1966 (Mosaic, 1995).
Available for the first time in its entirety, the aptly title Change is a rich and ...read more
The news of Andrew Hill's passing Apr. 20, 2007 at age 75 has shaken the jazz world to the core, bringing many to pause and reflect, then head straight for the pianist's extensive now-available discography. Blue Note Records documented his every step from 1963-70 with over a dozen recordings and, with his most recent return to the label--the critically acclaimed Time Lines (2006)--his status as a giant of this music is without question. Most of those Blue Note titles were not released until decades after the fact, however, so Hill only recently reaped the benefits of this ...read more
The five exclamation marks following the word Compulsion are completely appropriate for a title. Of all the distinguished albums of Andrew Hill's career as a pianist/composer, this is arguably the most passionately executed. The monumentality of this recording can best be realized by looking at its recording date of 1965. Coltrane was leaving his classic quartet and experimenting with multiple drummers. Archie Shepp was likewise experimenting with heavily augmented percussion sections. Art Blakey's earlier recordings with various African and neo-African drummers were popularly circulating in jazz circles, as was Babatunde Olatunji's popular and influential Drums of Passion. Into this drum-laden ...read more
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