July-2nd-2012, 09:58 AM
Is Andrew Hill among jazz’s all-time greats? I am talking about being in the top 25 artists of all time. I have come a little late to the party here, though I did over the years acquire 4 CDs—two from the Blue Note days (including the much admired Point of Departure) and two later ones. But I have now added a lot more: the overwhelming 3-CD Mosaic set (still trying to digest everything here), Judgment, the long-lost Passing Ships, and the big band Beautiful Day. And you can be sure more will follow.
Hill’s strengths were in every area: composer, player, band leader. It’s amazing how much he recorded in the 60s, with seemingly half of it not even released until decades later. It’s hard to describe his work as a composer, but it is excellent stuff, and his inspiration never flagged. I would say he was the greatest composer on Blue Note in the 60s, even eclipsing Wayne Shorter. He did not repeat tunes from record to record, nor did he repeat formats. Thus we have trio work (most notably on Mosaic) interesting quartets (such as the one with Hutcherson), quintets and sextets, mid-size groups, strings, voices, etc. Hill had no trouble bringing in a who’s who of the best jazz players for his projects: Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes (three of the greatest drummers), Joe Henderson, Eric Dolphy, Sam Rivers (wielding even more instruments than Dolphy), Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, Booker Ervin, Greg Osby, Joe Farrell, and I could go on much longer.
Andrew Hill was an awesome creative force. He went a bit under the radar for decades, before producing some nice stuff in his last years. But based on the Blue Note stuff alone (especially once it was all released), he produced one of the most important jazz legacies.
July-2nd-2012, 10:01 AM
I have him at 26.
Originally Posted by BlueMiles
July-2nd-2012, 10:27 AM
He's one my all-time favorites. There have been three Mosaic sets of his work: The complete 1963-66 sessions (now OOP), the groups Select set and the solo Select set. All are great. He did some nice work for Soul Note as well. He's definitely in my top 5, although that's based on personal preference, not overall historical significance.
July-2nd-2012, 11:47 AM
Not an innovator or pace setter on a par with Duke or Bird or Trane or Miles, but again I have to say he's really impressive as a triple threat--composer, leader, player.
July-2nd-2012, 07:06 PM
He is so on pace with those giants - as a composer there is no better innovator than Hill. One of my favs, I like him as much as Henry Threadgill.
"Salt and pepper are to unrefined cooks what over saturation and high contrast is to unrefined photographers."
July-2nd-2012, 08:57 PM
Definitely in my top 25. An underrated genius IMO. I'm a BIG fan.