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HOMMAGE (sic) was the first and reportedly only solo piano effort in the artist's long and understated career. Recorded at the Vanguard Studio in New York City on May 19 & 20 and July 31, 1975, six of the seven tracks ar... more »
HOMMAGE (sic) was the first and reportedly only solo piano effort in the artist's long and understated career. Recorded at the Vanguard Studio in New York City on May 19 & 20 and July 31, 1975, six of the seven tracks are Hill's original compositions. Playing his own cerebral melodies that are rhythmically and harmonically complex, it is said that "Naked Spirit" was recorded in complete darkness to let his fingers be guided by his spirit and heart.
Not for Beginners but a Must for Hill Fans
Ryan Wepler | Waltham, MA | 05/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Simply because it features Hill on solo piano, this album is of interest to any Hill fan (it is the only recording of Hill on solo piano that I know of). I tend to prefer Hill's recordings with larger groups because they allow him to show off his unique mastery of rhythmic and harmonic complexity. Though much of that musical interplay is absent here, there is still a lot to love about this album.
Stylistically, Hommage is akin to some of Hill's more avant garde Blue Note sessions (albums like Change and Compulsion). He uses a lot of clustering of percussively played chords interspersed with bits of melody. Despite his consistent use of percussive playing, the feel of the music is rather quiet and understated. The real excitement here is generated from the consistently unpredictable rhythmic and harmonic structures that shift repeatedly throughout these pieces. Hill never establishes any rhythm or melody consistently enough to sustain an entire song, leaving the listener with an acute feeling of each songs' unpredictablility. For those familliar with Hill, this uncertainty can be exhilirating, as we wait to be taken into musical territory whose terrain is unknown but whose arrival is imminent. For others, the songs can seem rather disjointed and overly abstract.
The album clocks in at just under 38 minutes, so it getting more music for your money is important, there are definitely better options available. Those new to Hill should start with some his Blue Note sessions with Joe Henderson, but for those already familliar, Hommage is a unique and worthwhile piece of his discography."