Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop
(5 out of 5 stars)
"According to the liner notes written in 2003, Andrew Hill recorded a number of sessions for Blue Note which never went to press, so to speak, due to questionable sound recording quality. In the case of "Passing Ships" - which sat undisturbed in Blue Note's vault since it was recorded in 1969 - a second stereo tape was discovered in which the sound quality was preserved. Thankfully, Blue Note decided to bring this recording to disc after all these years. The compositions on this recording are what one would expect from Hill: colorful orchestration, ingenious use of poly-rhythms, and an almost dialectical development of ideas underneath solos. The players assembled here - Joe Farrell, Woody Shaw, Dizzy Reece, Julian Priester, Bob Northern, Howard Johnson, Ron Carter, and Lenny White - provide excellent work, turning out some ferocious solos in many places that surprise the ear. The recording is excellent and sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday. Hill's solos do not disappoint either, as "horizontal" and percussive as they have been in other Blue Note dates. It is interesting to listen to this music which is over 30 years old and compare it with similar ventures from the likes of Rodney Kendrick, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, or, in some ways, Dave Holland. While some of these ventures have been successful in their own right, it is amazing how far ahead of the curve Hill was and the extent to which his writing 30 years ago supersedes that of those writing today, particularly Mr. Marsalis, who would be wise to revisit this music. Having said as much, there is continuity here too, as one can hear the echo of Mingus inplaces. All in all, this is an amazing recording."
A masterwork of American music
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 12/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the opening notes of Mr Farrell's robust tenor solo after the chorus of horns, interjections by trombone, and tuba, all backed by the groove of Lenny White, then a sterling quirky but swinging solo by leader, composer of all originals, and piano, on Track One we KNOW we are in good company. What resonates a little longer are the bass lines. We relisten to track one and envelop ourselves in the wonder of Mr Carter who must have have been at the height of his considerable powers at this time. Absolutely stunning bass playing. PASSING SHIPS the second track has echoes of works by Mr Hancock - such as Canteloupe Island - in terms of the rhythmic figures and features some wonderful solo work from Mr Shaw. But enough. Those who have any of Mr Hills' works can rest assured that this CD is up there with his very best from one of his most creative, productive and under-appreciated periods featuring 7 original compositions given life by some masters of their respective instruments - especially noting Mr Woody Shaw, Mr Julian Priester, Mr Howard Johnson and Mr Ron Carter. But I have to say I cannot recall a stronger program of playing by Mr Joe Farrell on soprano sax, tenor, alto flute, bass clarinet and English Horn whose efforts among other things add amazing colour to the compositions. This is music "as serious as your life", which will reveal its considerable pleasures for a long time to come. Although I have no qualifications for saying so, I consider this a masterwork of American music, regardless of genre."
An Amazing Recording. Highly Recommended. Essential.
x | USA | 07/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Andrew Hill's "Passing Ships" is a remarkable recording. It is hard to believe that such provocative, engaging music took so long to release. It is a glimpse into Hill's large ensemble pieces performed by a great group of musicians: Woody Shaw (tp), Dizzy Reece (tp), Julian Priester (tb), Howard Johnson (tu, bcl), Ron Carter (b), Bob Northern (French horn), Joe Farrell (sax, fl, cl), Andrew Hill (p), and Lenny White (d). If you are a fan of progressive jazz, or generally enjoy Hill's thoughtful, well-crafted, occasionally angular compositions, this recording is one that will likely be hard to get out of your CD player. The disc opens with "Sideways" which swings like mad, with interesting cross-currents and fantastic solos by Farrell, Hill, and either Reece or Shaw (I'm not sure). The combination of Priester's trombone and Johnson's tuba are beautiful additions to the ensemble. The second track, "Passing Ships," is a slower, intricate piece that features White's skillful touches on the cymbals. There is also a nice solo by Priester. It is nice to see the trombone get a chance to share the spotlight, and Priester's playing is magnificent. "Plantation Bag" is a medium tempo, angular composition that is incredibly tight and features a great solo by Farrell. The players' execution of the piece is flawless and enthralling. The rest of the pieces on the disc are unquestionably of the same high standard in terms performance and composition. Overall the music reminds me a little--though only a little--of some of the large ensemble work that would be composed by Anthony Braxton in the 70s (particularly the 50s series compositions that are on "Creative Orchestra Koln 1978" and "Creative Orchestra Music 1976"), or some of the large ensemble stuff by the JCOA such as Roswell Rudd's "Numatik Swing Band." If you like those recordings, "Passing Ships" will be something you will probably enjoy as well. This is a limited edition recording, which is unfortunate because music this fantastic should be permanently available. Consequently, this is a disc that you will want to pick up relatively soon. Slowly but surely it looks as though Blue Note is starting to release some of Hill's work for the label domestically as RVG remasters (i.e., "Point of Departure" and "Black Fire"), and I sincerely hope they continue the trend to include recordings like "Smokestack" and "Judgment!" which are only available as over-priced Japanese imports. (Why Blue Note makes us pay import prices to obtain classic American music is beyond me. Get a clue, BN, and release his entire BN catalog domestically too. Mr. Hill is a very profound composer.) Nevertheless, it is great to see "Passing Ships" rescued from the vaults and finally made available to the public. Thank you Blue Note, and please keep up the good work with regard to Mr. Hill's impressive catalog."