Andrew Hill: Decades Ahead of His Time
Tyler Smith | 08/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hill was in his twenties when he recorded this great session, and arguably, many pianists--jazz or otherwise--never reach the level of playing represented here. Already his exemplary horizontal writing style was in evidence, a style which would not reappear until the late 1990s, with the emergence of Vijay Iyer.Hill's voice is fiercely individual, and his harmonic sense, strongly rooted in 20th century classical music, is antithetical to the fake book/vertical approach advocated by most jazz educators today. Little need be said about the formal aspects of the compositions. Suffice it to say that many "jazz" musicians would be baffled by the ascending chromatic line of "Reconciliation", and its sophisticated harmonic implications. This CD is a worthwhile addition to one's collection. It's a work of genius, from one of the great musical minds of the century."
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 03/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While many Hill fans (there aren't enough of them) choose "Point of Departure" as his quintessential release, I'll take this one. "Judgement" blends Hill's dark, sinuous piano lines, and his enigmatic and often haunting melodies with Bobby Hutcherson's ringing vibes, Richard Davis's flawless bass lines, and Elvin Jones churning drums. The result is an utterly satisfying, consistently stimulating release.The joys of "Judgement" are many: the group improv on "Siete Ocho"; the surprising humor of "Yokada, Yokada"; the probing lyricism of "Alfred." The entire release, in fact, capitalizes on the element of surprise, so essential to a great jazz recording. Listen, for example, to "Reconciliation": after a fairly convention opening, Davis and Hutcherson converse on bass and vibes before Hill returns for an angular solo that keeps the listener off balance with its choppy attack. Meanwhile, Jones somehow manages to communicate an off-center sense of swing. The disappointment, of course, is that the release is out of stock. Why Hill has gotten such poor exposure is a mystery that only Blue Note can answer. In the meantime, prowl your local secondhand stores, search the auctions, or try to run down "The Complete Blue Note Andrew Hill Sessions (1963-1966)" released by Mosaic a few years back. "Judgement" should be on the short list of great '60s Blue Note (and of all jazz) releases. If enough people demand this and all of his work, perhaps Hill will finally get the recognition he deserves."