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Andrew Hill

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A confession: I've never really understood Andrew Hill's music. My preference has always tended toward straightforward hard bop and away from anything close to avant garde.

I do own four Andrew Hill CDs. I picked up Passing Ships first and kind of liked it. I followed that album with Dance With Death, Black Fire, and Point of Departure, but I rarely listened to any of them. I felt like I should have some of his work in my jazz collection, but I just never enjoyed the music that much.

It’s probably been two years or more since I touched any of the albums, but for some reason, yesterday I put on Dance With Death…and I thought it was awesome! Today, I followed that up with Point of Departure…and again, I really liked it. So, I’m not exactly sure what clicked in my brain, but suddenly I seem to have “gotten” his music.

That leads to my question: Where do I go next? What other albums would you recommend?

Thanks for any advice to a new Andrew Hill convert!

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Unfortunately, Andrew Hill died in 2007. But there's lots of material to listen to! I think there was another thread that covered this:

But my favourite is "Judgement" with Bobby Hutcherson and Elvin Jones.

Happy listening!

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My first Andrew Hill was "Shades" on Soul Note. It's arguably the easiest to take of all his albums. But it ain't fluffy. And his solos provide a lot of information about his playing, if you know what I mean.

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A confession: I've never really understood Andrew Hill's music. My preference has always tended toward straightforward hard bop and away from anything close to avant garde.

I do own four Andrew Hill CDs. I picked up Passing Ships first and kind of liked it. I followed that album with Dance With Death, Black Fire, and Point of Departure, but I rarely listened to any of them. I felt like I should have some of his work in my jazz collection, but I just never enjoyed the music that much.

It’s probably been two years or more since I touched any of the albums, but for some reason, yesterday I put on Dance With Death…and I thought it was awesome! Today, I followed that up with Point of Departure…and again, I really liked it. So, I’m not exactly sure what clicked in my brain, but suddenly I seem to have “gotten” his music.

That leads to my question: Where do I go next? What other albums would you recommend?

Thanks for any advice to a new Andrew Hill convert!

I had a similar thing happen twice with him. I started with Point Of Departure as at the time I was starting with jazz and some list had it as the greatest jazz album ever. I loved Dolphy but it just wasn't clicking. Picked up another, didn't go gaga over it, but eventually the Black Fire reissue came out and ding ding ding! Picked up one or two more albums, then cooled off, for some reason returned to those albums and again, wowee it was all I wanted hear.

I would say regarding the '60s Blue Notes you might as well let price or convenience be your guide for the next one, as you'll likely want all of the recently RVG or Conn reissued ones. Something different happens on all of them, be it 2 bassists (Smokestack), or Sam Rivers, Hutcherson/Davis/Elvin (Judgement)...RoosterTies can go on & gush more than I can regarding Mr. Hill, but it's hard to pick your favorite child (sometimes). ;) As far more recent releases I'm sadly lacking in experience there, but Dusk is one to look for.

Edit - Sorry, I had intended to mention the 2 Mosaic Selects as well. A bit more expensive, but if you're still feeling it after a couple more albums give it them high consideration. One is Andrew Solo (the latter higher numbered set), the other is different group projects that (mostly) weren't released.

Edited by Quincy

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My first Andrew Hill was "Shades" on Soul Note. It's arguably the easiest to take of all his albums. But it ain't fluffy. And his solos provide a lot of information about his playing, if you know what I mean.

Not my first, but one I recommend to anybody, anytime.

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You should not fail to explore more of the early Andrew Hill Blue Notes Smokestack, Judgment!, Compulsion to really absorb the width of Hill's musicianship.

Don't forget to check his Arista/Freedom volumes Spiral and Live at Montreux if you can find them!

They're worth the search!

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My first Andrew Hill was the hitherto unreleased stuff on the Blue Note twofer LP One For One (currently available in the Mosaic Select). I liked it from the first note. I'd even recomend the Select as a first as it covers the whole range from the accessible to the weird.

Edited by mikeweil

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Andrew's music is confounding to me. I don't always like it - indeed, his playing and some of his composing leaves me cold a lot of the time. But for whatever reason, I buy and listen to everything of his I can get my hands on, feeling that someday I'll "get it."

Point of Departure is the first AH I bought, back in the days of Manhattan CDs (now I've got a super-clean mono vinyl). I used to really dig it, but now I feel it's probably one of his least "successful" BNs.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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A confession: I've never really understood Andrew Hill's music. My preference has always tended toward straightforward hard bop and away from anything close to avant garde.

I do own four Andrew Hill CDs. I picked up Passing Ships first and kind of liked it. I followed that album with Dance With Death, Black Fire, and Point of Departure, but I rarely listened to any of them. I felt like I should have some of his work in my jazz collection, but I just never enjoyed the music that much.

It’s probably been two years or more since I touched any of the albums, but for some reason, yesterday I put on Dance With Death…and I thought it was awesome! Today, I followed that up with Point of Departure…and again, I really liked it. So, I’m not exactly sure what clicked in my brain, but suddenly I seem to have “gotten” his music.

That leads to my question: Where do I go next? What other albums would you recommend?

Thanks for any advice to a new Andrew Hill convert!

The safest choice is Grass Roots since its his closest-to-hard-bop recording, with a front line of Lee Morgan and Booker Ervin (and you get an earlier attempt at the same material with Frank Mitchell and Woody Shaw in the front line). I'm surprised this stayed off your radar since you say you "always tended toward straightforward hard bop and away from anything close to avant garde".

I never found my way into Hill's music and now, thanks to DrJ, I feel especially good about the fact that I kept Grass Roots and Black Fire, ditched the rest and never looked back. I don't need Daddy to tell me to eat my broccoli.

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Grass Roots is one that I do return to often. The unissued session on the CD is nice, too. "Bayou Red" is the shizz.

Roy Haynes totally kills on Black Fire.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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Thanks to everyone!

I did take the timing of the Mosaic sale as a sign and order the earlier of the two Selects (the group album).

As for Grass Roots being off my radar, I think I never really considered it. At some point, I just assumed that all of Hill’s albums were in a similar vein to the ones I didn’t really like. Not particularly fair to the artist, but there you go. Looks like Amazon has a CD-R version of this, so I’ll check it out (along with the other suggestions throughout this thread).

Thanks again.

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I'll throw a slight curveball and recommend DUSK, which, to my ears, is one of the most satisfying of Hill's later recordings. The other players aren't quite household names, but they really understand Hill's music, and give some inspired performances (I think Billy Drummond in particular sounds great here.)

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I think for accessible releases to move forward on I would try Grass Roots, Shades and his last one Time Lines.

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Given what you already have, I'd go for the following next...

Judgment! (1964) - no horns, just Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis, & Elvin Jones. A little thorny at times, but never the least bit "noisy" to my ears. In my experience, the tunes deepened over time, so give it three or four spins at least over a short period of time (with the same couple weeks). It probably won't grab you the first or second time even, but (IMHO) it's a sublime album that's worth the effort to get into.

Pax (1965) - Joe Henderson & Freddie Hubbard on the front line, with Richard Davis & Joe Chambers. A little busier, and somewhat more knotty - but never quite "crazy" (but maybe close a time or two). Some of Joe's finest "in & out" playing, in my book (Freddie too, for that matter).

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Or, if you want to hear Hill in a more "accessible" context, check out his early sideman appearances...

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Hank Mobley, NO ROOM FOR SQUARES

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Walt Dickerson, TO MY QUEEN

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Joe Henderson, OUR THING

No Hill compositions, but, there are insights to be had from a close listen to his accompaniments.

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Others here will likely disagree, but I would avoid "Smokestack" as your very next purchase. It's piano, two basses, and drums -- and for some reason, that there are two basses has made this one of Hill's albums that grew on me the most slowly. And maybe not "Lift Every Voice" just quite yet, which has a wordless vocal choir, and is an album people seem to love or hate.

The "Grass Roots" BONUS session is (IMHO) the better of the two dates on that disc, and is unique as it's Hill's only recording with Guitar (Jimmy Ponder) -- really something special, in my book. (Both dates are good, the 2nd one is better!!)

Be interesting to see what you think of the Mosaic, most of which was previously unreleased. The last disc is totally crazy, including the session with Woody Shaw (and Sam Rivers) that is one of my alltime favorite Blue Note dates (warts and all). Woody totally goes for broke on that date. Stuff doesn't all fit together (and the heads are a mess at times), but I love it all the same. :wub:

And...

Or, if you want to hear Hill in a more "accessible" context, check out his early sideman appearances...

e26912nz9oa.jpg

Hank Mobley, NO ROOM FOR SQUARES

...make sure you get the earlier 1989/90 'McMaster' edition (NOT the RVG from 2000), because only the McMaster has the entire session with Hill all on one disc. (Several Mobley albums around this time were bits from several sessions, and the recent RVG's restored the original "mishmash" non-session oriented style of release.)

This appears to be it on Amazon.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Andrew's music is confounding to me. I don't always like it - indeed, his playing and some of his composing leaves me cold a lot of the time. But for whatever reason, I buy and listen to everything of his I can get my hands on, feeling that someday I'll "get it."

I hear you. It's only by repeated listening to the Mosaic box that I really got it (although latched on to 'Black Fire', 'Our Thing' and 'Grass Roots' on first hearing). Listening to him in concert on solo piano at the QEH was when it all gelled for me. His conception of elastic time is both strange and unique.

With 'Passing Ships' it's a shame there wasn't another session or two to iron out the rough spots - however much of the music is moving and inspired.

Edited by sidewinder

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Get Bobby Hutcherson's DIALOGUE. It's a mid-'60s accessible Blue Note that is essentially Hill's music with Hill present on the date, but somehow the nominal leader of the date is Hutcherson. Features Sam Rivers, Freddie Hubbard and includes Richard Davis & Joe Chambers. Well worth picking up.

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By the time we get to the fourth page of this thread we'll probably have listed his entire catalog, someone recommending each of them as "something you should listen to."

And really. . .a case could be made for each!

What an artist. I've found lately I really like the work he did in his final three or four years. I really like "Time Lines" and love his work with Greg Osby on "The Invisible Hand."

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I hate to quote myself but:

Andrew Hill Mosaic, currently 'Black Fire'

edit: what a magnificient player! His solos, though 'modernist' never loose the drama or the lyricism, the expression of the emotions.

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A confession: I've never really understood Andrew Hill's music. My preference has always tended toward straightforward hard bop and away from anything close to avant garde.

I do own four Andrew Hill CDs. I picked up Passing Ships first and kind of liked it. I followed that album with Dance With Death, Black Fire, and Point of Departure, but I rarely listened to any of them. I felt like I should have some of his work in my jazz collection, but I just never enjoyed the music that much.

It's probably been two years or more since I touched any of the albums, but for some reason, yesterday I put on Dance With Death…and I thought it was awesome! Today, I followed that up with Point of Departure…and again, I really liked it. So, I'm not exactly sure what clicked in my brain, but suddenly I seem to have "gotten" his music.

That leads to my question: Where do I go next? What other albums would you recommend?

Thanks for any advice to a new Andrew Hill convert!

Obviously this is personal taste, but I still think the very top tier of Andrew Hill albums is Point of Departure and Black Fire (also Dialogue if you count it as an Andrew album), followed very closely by Judgment, Andrew!!! and Passing Ships.

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Does anybody know what Palmetto has done with the extensive live recordings that they made of Andrew Hill? There were rumors flying around at one time about a lot more releases.

I ask that because, although I like the Palmetto releases, I have heard concerts and other live recordings from Andrew's last decade that I find much more exciting.

Edited by John L

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I saw him in maybe 2002 in Chicago with a quartet and it was excellent. From what I could determine/understand at the time, it seemed very 'free.'

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As for Grass Roots being off my radar, I think I never really considered it...I’ll check it out..

Check your PMs...sent one RE Grass Roots

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