20 November 2006

Enthusiasms (4) - Andrew Hill

A short while ago I posted on a then forthcoming album - "New Monestary" - by guitarist Nels Cline which I expected to be wonderful. The album is an exploraiton of the music of jazz compser and pianist Andrew Hill and, as expected, it is extremely good. As I noted in that post Hill's 1964 release "Point of Departure" was among the first jazz records (yes, the actual record) that I ever purchased. It is a classic. Well as I went to track down the Cline disc I also bought Hill's new "Time Lines" disc on Blue Note. It too is very, very good - intricate off-kilter tunes that veer here and there without ever runing into the ditch, assertive musicianship that never becomes over-bearing. I highly recommend it.

For most of the 1990s Hill did not record at all. Since 2000 he has released two discs on the Palmetto label, one a live recording of his big band. Blue Note has been re-issuing his early work for them as well, including music from the late 1960s that they recorded but never actually released. One might think that this is simply an effort to capitalize on Mr. Hill's resurgence. But as this review from The New York Times of a recent performance where Mr. Hill's quintet suggests primarily performed the long lost music, they are not simply sweeping out the vaults.

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