Sound Quality: 320 kb/s
Record Label: Blue Note
Year Released: 1968
Album Covers: Included
About Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill (June 30, 1931 – April 20, 2007) was an American jazz pianist and composer.
Hill is recognized as one of the most important progenitors of Free jazz piano, though he is considered more mainstream jazz than Cecil Taylor, two years his senior. His most-lauded work was recorded for Blue Note Records, spanning nearly a decade and a dozen albums.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Hill took up the piano at the age of thirteen, and was encouraged by Earl Hines. He was referred by jazz composer Bill Russo to Paul Hindemith, with whom he studied informally until 1952. While a teenager he performed in rhythm and blues bands and with touring jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
Hill first recorded as a sideman in 1954, but his reputation was made by his Blue Note recordings as leader from 1963 to 1970, which featured several other important post-bop musicians including Joe Chambers, Richard Davis, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Woody Shaw, and Tony Williams, as well as John Gilmore. Hill also played on albums by Henderson, Hutcherson, and Hank Mobley. His distinctive compositions accounted for four of the six pieces on Bobby Hutcherson's classic Dialogue album.
Hill rarely worked as a sideman after the 1960s, preferring to play his own compositions. This may have limited his public exposure. He obtained a doctorate in music from Colgate University of Hamilton and served as the university's composer in residence from 1970 to 1972. He later taught in California and was an associate professor on a tenure track at Portland State University. During his time at PSU, he established a Summer Jazz Intensive program in addition to performing, conducting workshops and attending residencies at other universities such as Wesleyan University, University of Michigan, University of Toronto, Harvard University and Bennington College. Hill returned to New York City in 1990. His final public performance was on March 29, 2007 at Trinity Church in New York City. Andrew Hill suffered from lung cancer during the last years of his life. He died at his home in Jersey City. In May 2007, he became the first person to receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.
Hill created a unique idiom that utilized chromatic, modal, and occasionally "free" improvisation. Although usually categorized as "avant-garde", Hill's music bears little resemblance to the free atonality and extended improvisations of Cecil Taylor and others. Like his contemporaries Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, and Eric Dolphy, Hill was considered to be a cusp figure: too "out" to be "in," but too "in" to be "out." His earlier work, particularly the album Point of Departure, featuring fellow innovator Eric Dolphy, exhibits Hill's desire to advance while remaining grounded in the traditions of his predecessors. Throughout, his skill as both composer and leader can be sensed as the band ventures into unknown territory while still remaining precise and controlled. Hill's compositions sometimes have a contemplative mood. He was known for the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of his performances and compositions.
As a pianist, Hill's style was marked by extreme chromaticism, complex, dense chords, flowing, legato phrasing, and frequent rubato. He would often play against the rhythmic pulse, or move into different time signatures. His album Dusk was selected as the best album of 2001 by both Down Beat and JazzTimes; and in 2003, Hill received the Jazzpar Prize. Hill's earlier work also received renewed attention as a result of the belated release of several unissued sessions made in the 1960s for Blue Note, notably the ambitious large-group date Passing Ships.As a consequence of his renewed prominence, a new Blue Note album titled Time Lines was released on February 21, 2006.