Playlist 11 July 2013

This week’s show was a mixture of classic and contemporary jazz. Take Three featured revered pianist Andrew Hill who recorded most of his work for the Blue Note label.

Neil notes: Hill was unique: his main influences were pianists Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Art Tatum. Monk’s like Ravel and Debussy to me in that he put a lot of personality into his playing […] it’s the personality of music which makes it, finally. he said in a 1963 interview.

Certainly, Hill’s playing is distinctive enough to be immediately recognisable. He created a andrew hillunique idiom that utilized chromatic, modal, and occasionally free improvisation. Although usually categorized as avant-garde, Hill’s music bears little resemblance to the free atonality and extended improvisations of Cecil Taylor and others. Like his contemporaries Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Eric Dolphy, Hill was considered to be a key figure on the edge of free jazz but always grounded in composition and structure. His earlier work, particularly the album Point of Departure, featuring fellow innovator Eric Dolphy, shows Hill’s desire to advance while remaining grounded in the traditions of his jazz predecessors. Throughout, his skill as both composer and leader can be sensed as the band ventures into unknown territory while still remaining precise and controlled. As a pianist, Hill’s style was marked by extremes: he would often play against the rhythmic pulse, or move into different time signatures.

His album Dusk was selected as the best album of 2001 by both the US Down Beat and Jazz Times magazines and we have featured this rarity on CJ before. His earlier work also received renewed attention as a result of the belated release of several unissued sessions made in the 1960s for Blue Note, notably the ambitious large-group date Passing Ships from which Derek played the title track. Also very much worth checking out is what might have been Hill’s 1968 ‘sell out’ release, Grass Roots. Blue Note expected a more easy listeniing Hill but what they got was great melodies and grooves along with some typically challenging soloing from such luminaries as Booker Ervin and Ron Carter. If you can find it, Blue Note’s 2000 CD reissue contains the entire first draft of the album with a completely different band (including Freddie Ponder on guitar).as a bonus.

  1. Gene Ammons – Hittin’ The Jug from Boss Tenor
  2. Joe Henderson – Our Thing from The Best of Joe Henderson
  3. Andrew Hill – Black Fire from Black Fire
  4. Andrew Hill – Dedication from Point of Departure
  5. Andrew Hill – Passing Ships from Passing Ships
  6. Henri Texier – Mad Nomad (s) from Mad Nomad (s)
  7. Jack DeJohnette – Oneness from Sound Travels
  8. Nils Petter Molvaer – Hurry Slowly from NP3
  9. Tord Gustavsen Trio – The Ground from The Ground
  10. Nostalgia 77 – Arora from Everything Under the Sun

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