Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Blue Note founder Alfred Lion considered Andrew Hill to be his last great discovery, and the reasons are apparent from this fairly obscure 1968 effort. Hill composed demanding yet elastic structures that straddled hard bop... more »
Blue Note founder Alfred Lion considered Andrew Hill to be his last great discovery, and the reasons are apparent from this fairly obscure 1968 effort. Hill composed demanding yet elastic structures that straddled hard bop and free jazz; as a pianist, his abstract comping challenged soloists with elaborate counterpoint and fresh, alternative directions. Hill is joined here by one of the more conservative groups that he recorded with, but there's a high level of interactivity. He enjoyed a close playing relationship with trumpeter Lee Morgan, and Mingus veteran Booker Ervin contributes his personal mix of kicking Texas tenor and harmonic exploration. A rhythm section of Ron Carter and Freddie Waits completes the band, and the result is thoughtful, complex music that still inhabits the edges of the postbop idiom. --Stuart Broomer
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 02/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nice to see this finally released on CD. This was a mainstream effort for Hill, and if you want more challenging Blue Note releases, try, for example, "Point of Departure," "Judgment" or "Black Fire." (The latter two may be difficult to find. The best single source for his music is the seven-CD Mosaic boxed set. "Grassroots" is not included in that collection.) Still, the change of pace makes this one appealing. Any band that includes Booker Ervin and Lee Morgan is going to swing, and the two manage to make Hill's playing less dark and introspective than usual. On the other hand, the compositions themselves, especially "Mira" and "Soul Special," are mostly bright and upbeat, so maybe the material helped to determine the players. Hill's comments on the original liner notes indicate that he was ready with this release to dip more than a toe into the mainstream.In any event, Booker is particularly joyful on the title cut and propels the album along throughout with his powerful, bluesy tone. It's a mark of Hill's keen musicianship that he brought in this criminally underrated player for the session. Lee Morgan rarely missed a note throughout his career and this date was no exception. He delivers solidly throughout.One is generally best rewarded by careful, repeated listening to Hill's music. "Grassroots" is unusual in that it grabs immediately. In my opinion, it isn't as deeply and consistently satsifying as the other releases I mentioned, but it's well worth having if you're a fan of his or if you simply want an easy introduction to his music."
Music from the sixties that is as fresh as today
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 06/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Lick" or "cliche" is not in Andrew Hill's musical vocabulary and this "new"release is no exception. I say "new" because four of the tracks have never before been released including the nine minute MC, and the seven minute Love Nocturne. When I think of the musical dross we were subjected to in the sixties when jazz players were scuffling to get a gig, washing dishes, or filled with despair when they saw their real talent count for little, like Woody Shaw, one can only thank heaven the likes of Michael Cuscuna are around to rescue their legacy. Examples of the quality and variety of this include the solo by Woody Shaw on Love Nocturne, the groove set up by Idris Muhammad, Reggie Workman, Jimmy Ponder and Reggie Workman on MC over which Frank Mitchell, Woody Shaw and then Ponder solo; Soul Special with its propelling groove and its typically fabulous piano solo by Mr Hill. But begin with the title song for a close listen: a majestic joyous solo by Booker Ervin and a conversational restrained masterful one by Lee Morgan, a typically sensitive and interesting solo by Mr Hill ending with the sole sound of the woody bass of Mr Carter. Apart from the exceptional players( I mean dig Lee Morgan's solo entrance on Bayou Red!) this CD has Mr Hill's writing to bring it to a level above just another gig. His guiding genius is all over this release and it's mainly for this reason that this reissue in the Blue Note connoisseur series is worth your attention. It is engineered by Mr Van Gelder with quite clear separation in the stereo which was the standard of the day. The programme of music has enough variety and intelligence to reward many, many listenings."
Ian Muldoon | 05/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is nice finger-popping grooves by a composer who is often more abstract and avant garde.The compositions are first rate and the rhythm sections grooves and there is fine solo work, especially from the trumpet players Lee Morgan or Woody Shaw."