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Andrew Hill

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I can't think of any bad Hill albums, but some may disagree. Compulsion!!!!!, Judgment, Andrew!!!!, Smokestack, Dance with Death, Passing Ships in that order, and that's just the BN's. Andrew was an amazing artist and he is a treasure trove that will probably take years to cover. You can't go wrong with any Hill album.

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I think Andrew Hill's that kind of artist. All of a sudden you just get him, and from then on you realise what an incredible body of work he created. Like sidewinder I was at his amazing concert at the QEH. You can hear some extracts on Andrew's official site:

http://www.andrewhilljazz.com/mp3.html

There are very few duds but my choices would be: Black Fire, Smokestack, Judgment, Point of Departure, Dialogue (Bobby Hutcherson), Compulsion!!!!!, Passing Ships, Pax, Nefertiti, and three solo records - From California with Love, Verona Rag and Les Trinitaires.

There's a good survey of some of Hill's best work by pianist Vijay Iyer at:

http://www.jazz.com/dozens/iyer-selects-hill

and (if you can find it) the April 2008 issue of Jazz Review - a now defunct UK jazz mag - had an excellent survey article of his records.

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When I was about 19, a friend came around with "Judgment" and "Point of Departure". They stunned me right from the word go.

Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet sure does add a lot to "Point of Departure". It's possibly my favorite album with him.

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For you Andrew Hill fans, MVD has just issued a solo DVD session, which was taped in HD.

I haven't yet had a chance to view it.

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Hill's music didn't capture my attention immediately, by any means.

I bought the big Hill BN Mosaic back in May of '95 (just checked the receipt), mostly for all the sidemen that were on it that I loved (and not really for Hill as such). I think it may have only been the third Mosaic set I'd ever bought, and the only Hill I knew was Point of Departure. Couldn't make head nor tail of it for two or three years. (If this tells you anything, back then, Dolphy's presence on Point of Departure was so prominent, that I actually used to file my single-disc issue of POD under Dolphy, and did so for years.)

Then somewhere along the line, things started clicking. Not everything all at once, but little by little, more made sense. I'd put on two or three discs of the big Hill Mosaic in succession, and drink it all in. Then I'd go months without the urge to hear any of it again, sometimes even as much as a year. But when I came back, I always found the music more rewarding that I'd remembered.

Even now, I'm still amazed at how new, fresh, and exciting each Hill date sounds, especially the longer it's been since I've listened to them.

I've said before, it's as much the PROCESS of listening to Hill's music that has me hooked (that process of repeated rediscovery), as much as the music itself. Don't know how to say it more clearly than that - but the music has been more rewarding to me over the years than I could have ever possibly imagined.

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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.

Seconded. I think I have all of Hill's albums and sideman appearances, but this is one of my very favorites. In fact, I'll make sure I play it tonight when I get home.

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To me, Andrew is one of the absolute greatest visionaries in jazz...right up there with Monk in my book. His work on Blue Note in the 1960's is one of the finest creative streaks in contemporary music that I've ever heard. They are ALL essential. "Point of Departure", "Black Fire" and "Judgment" are my favorites.

I love his last three studio albums "Dusk", "A Beautiful Day" and "Time Lines". He finished his life on a peak.

And I'm glad folks are mentioning "Dialogue". I know its a Bobby Hutcherson-led session, but in my mind I always think of this date as another Andrew Hill album. Its an amazing recording.

It always brings me happiness when I read these "ahhh, now I get it!" posts about Andrew. The world is a better place with more people who dig his completely unique and captivating music.

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I have been a HUGE Andrew Hill fan since I first heard "Black Fire". Probably got hooked since his sound differed so much from the standard Blue Note fare that was my constant companion. While the attraction grew slowly, the more I heard Andrew the more I appreciated his subtlety and the uniqueness of his sound. Like others have said, the best parallel that I can think of was when I first listened to Thelonious Monk. Not only did I not get his sound, but I was convinced that Thelonious couldn't play! Just like Thelonious, Andrew Hill gets better with each listen and it is difficult now, in retrospect, for me to remember the time when his sound was not so profoundly important to me.

Subsequently, buying the Mosaic Blue Note box was a landmark purchase that I go back to for comfort all of the time. The music is simply sublime and it is hard for me to pick one favorite LP of the bunch. No need to either as the entirety of the box itself is very cohesive and satisfying.

You can imagine my bliss this last weekend when I was finally able to find a new copy of the much sought after Les Trinitaires to complete my collection.

LWayne

Edited by LWayne

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To me, Andrew is one of the absolute greatest visionaries in jazz...right up there with Monk in my book. His work on Blue Note in the 1960's is one of the finest creative streaks in contemporary music that I've ever heard. They are ALL essential. "Point of Departure", "Black Fire" and "Judgment" are my favorites.

I love his last three studio albums "Dusk", "A Beautiful Day" and "Time Lines". He finished his life on a peak.

And I'm glad folks are mentioning "Dialogue". I know its a Bobby Hutcherson-led session, but in my mind I always think of this date as another Andrew Hill album. Its an amazing recording.

It always brings me happiness when I read these "ahhh, now I get it!" posts about Andrew. The world is a better place with more people who dig his completely unique and captivating music.

Good said. "Grass Roots" and "Dance with Death" are 2 of my greatest enduring favorites of Andrew Hill's music.

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I don't really get Andrew Hill, but I love trying to figure him out. I love all the Blue Notes (from the first time around). I have them all. Judgment, Compulsion, Grass Roots and the Mosaic box get the most spins.

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These 4 albums seems to have been reissued recently:

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Veronica Rag, Faces of Hope, Strange Serenda, Lift Every Voice

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The only one of the Soul Notes that I have is Strange Serenade, where he borrows Bill Dixon's rhythm section at the time. Apparently they did a quartet gig in Italy - what a gas that would have been to hear.

I also like Hill's Steeplechases for what it's worth.

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I haven't listened to it in a while, but I remember for a while thinking that Strange Serenade was one of my favorite Hill discs. I think it circumvents the chastened "Blue Note free" sound that keeps even some of the craziest sessions on that label--with the obvious exceptions of Ornette, Cecil, Cherry, and maybe some McLean--professionally in check. That disc, in a way, amalgamates the powerhouse "free" Hill of the Chained sessions or Compulsion with the grainier, more unstable ESP-disk sound. I'm glad you pointed out, Clifford, that he's using the Bill Dixon rhythm section; Waits and Silva retain that airy, floating quality here, but Hill forces them into a sort of emotional "active" state (approaching some of the general elements of energy music but retaining clarity of line and some degree of harmonic scrutability) . It all sounds kind of like a Dixon-less Bill Dixon session on steroids, in a way.

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Not to derail, but I need to go back and listen to some of Bill's piano playing with that (and other) rhythm sections (In Italy; Son of Sisyphus). He's expressed that there was an unfulfilled wish/idea to do some recording with Andrew Hill. If I recall, they did an impromptu duo in Italy as well.

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Yes, not to derail, but... Hill is not Monk and in the burly baroque-ness of his lines probably has as much to do with Herbie Nichols or Waldron (maybe more with Waldron?)--but--he does have an almost-Monk-caliber mastery of space and time--not to mention an air of detachment that is deeply, darkly un-Monkian (not to be confused with passivity, btw). Dixon, too, has a preternatural control of space and a similarly detached character. They could have done some wonderful things together. You could go one route and pair for contrast (Hill + Shaw, or--more diabolically--Hill + Hubbard), but Dixon and Hill share an emotional and sensory space that is really singular to me. (I was going to say that they were on the same "page," but I think Mobius Strip makes more sense.)

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I'm going to have to think about this some more and get back to you.

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I'll admit that while I've always followed Hill I actually am rarely convinced by what I hear. Though I love the avant-garde, mainly things further 'out' than Hill, I still find Grass Roots a more appealing listen than any of the other Blue Notes. I passed on the Mosaic group Select as I had the One on One LP set and figured I didn't need any more from those sessions. Like others I find Point of Departure a bit over-rated. I'd tell anyone to ignore Lift Every Voice. In the light of this thread I might pull all that stuff out and try to work out what I am resistant to - maybe I find too much of that Jarrett-like romantic-impressionistic wandering in his work, albeit without the often flaccid Jarrett harmonies and figures.

Edited by David Ayers

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I have gone through periods of really not liking Hill's music, but like I've said elsewhere, it still feels like there's something there that I'm not getting and consequently find hard to put into words. Otherwise, why would I keep buying his releases?

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That's wild David as I really love Lift Every Voice. Wish one of the audiophile labels would make an SACD or XRCD of this one.

Ep1: I really enjoy your observations re: Hill.

Clif: It took me a while to get deeper into Hill, and I did eventually. In part I think it was because my first item and attempt was with Point of Departure. I just still genuinely don't enjoy that album. When I moved on to other titles I kept wanting to hear more. I won't say I ever "got it." But I did find myself wanting to hear his music and learning a bit with each listen.

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I love Andrew Hill. Sometimes I find his solo work difficult to connect with, and I believe its because of rhythm. The pulse can change over and over again, and I start to get lost. I tend to prefer Andrew working with a good rhythm section. That grounds in my listening those off-centered accents of his that I like so much. That said, one my my most memorable musical experiences was sitting next to a piano in Paris and hearing Andrew Hill play solo.

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hey, like some of you i had to wait a lot to get into Andrew's music, just a couple of months ago i was still far from dig it, but now i been quickly turning into a fan, for now i just have Compulsion, Dance With Death, Change, Point of Departure and Passing Ships but i think eventually i will have to reach more recordings to sate my "Hill's hunger"

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I'm curious what you folks think about Andrew Hill's '70s and '80s albums. Any recommendations? I've really been enjoying Divine Revelation with Jimmy Vass and I quite like Hommage. I've also got Spirit and From California with Love, but was wondering what you all thought about the rest?

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I enjoy the Black Saint / Soul Note box (1980-86 material, Strange Serenade + Faces of Hope + Verona Rag + Shades). I prefer the 2 trio/quartet albums (Strange Serenade + Shades) to the two solo albums, but consider them all worthwhile.

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I really like the 1975 "Live at Montreux" on Freedom.

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22 hours ago, felser said:

I really like the 1975 "Live at Montreux" on Freedom.

One of his best, IMO. Montreux seemed to bring something special out of pianists in the 70s, as it was also the setting for Cecil Taylor's SILENT TONGUES.

More Hill + Jimmy Vass can be heard on BLUE BLACK, originally issued only in Japan (IIRC) on the East Wind label, but fairly easy to find now. The other East Wind date, NEFERTITI, is also fine: a trio with Richard Davis (reunion!) and Sun Ra associate Roger Blank on drums. 

Edited by Joe

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