April-24th-2004, 09:37 PM
Andrew Hill - Hartford, CT
Tonight I caught Andrew Hill in the first concert of the Hartford Jazz Society’s Jazz at the Atheneum Series at the Wadsworth Atheneum Aetna Theater in Hartford. With Hill were Greg Tardy on tenor, bassist Brad Jones and drummer Leroy Williams. I confess that when it comes to Andrew Hill I am not altogether objective. He is one of my favorites. I have heard him live about ten times in the past 16 years and I have never been disappointed. This concert was no exception. I got the sense that Hill made an attempt to keep the music somewhat accessible for this audience – most of whom I assume were unfamiliar with Hill’s music. Nonetheless, Hill’s characteristic sense of adventure was on display. Most of the compositions were familiar to any Hillaholic, but the arrangements were entirely different. Everyone played well – in particular Tardy. I have heard him with Hill on three occasions and this was the strongest I have heard him yet. Hill also played a considerable amount of piano, which I have heard he has not done much of recently. He stretched out a bit and always his distinctive playing was just as imaginative as ever. I spoke to Jones briefly after the show and he revealed that this was his first time playing with Hill. At times I did notice him paying close attention to the music sheets as if he were a little confused, but when he enjoyed himself and played he created some strong vamps – which are common in Hill’s music – and interacted very well with the rest of the group. The drummer was decent, but I must confess I would have preferred Nasheet Waits, who I saw play with Hill a little over a year ago.
Overall, a memorable experience right in my backyard. For once I did not have to drive to New York to hear one of my favorites. The next two concerts are in May - Dave Douglas & Vacation Blues with Roswell Rudd, Brad Jones and Barry Altschul; and June - Greg Osby quartet with Megumi Yonezawa, Matthew Brewer and Eric McPherson.. I purchased tickets for the entire series as well as a membership to the jazz society for a total of $71 dollars. A very good deal if you ask me.
April-25th-2004, 12:45 PM
Brad Jones strikes me as a great choice to play with Hill. Be sure to write up that Douglas gig.
April-25th-2004, 03:11 PM
For his first time playing with Hill, Jones sounded very good. Hope he continues playing with him. I think it took Scott Colley a little while before him and him developed a nice rhythm as well.
Originally Posted by Captain Hate
April-26th-2004, 06:57 AM
Ronald, would that be Leroy Williams, the veteran hard-bop drummer who used to play with Junior Cook, Bill Hardman et al.? Interesting choice for Hill - I've never heard Williams try for anything more modern than straight-ahead bebop drumming, but he can cook, in a lean and focused way. I've never seen him live. I sometimes think Hill's music is a little loosely wrapped, so I wouldn't have minded hearing him with someone like Williams.
April-26th-2004, 09:27 AM
Judging from the gray hairs on his head I would venture a guess that he is a veteran. His drumming definately was more straight ahead than some of the other drummers that I have heard Hill with. That may be part of the reason that I found the performance more accessible than others.
Originally Posted by Tom Storer
April-26th-2004, 09:28 AM
Hill Makes Jazz Connection
By JEFF RIVERS
Courant Staff Writer
April 26 2004
Moments after Saturday's concert, Andrew Hill wondered aloud whether he and his Friends had connected with the audience at the Aetna Theater in Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum.
Perhaps the pianist and composer was too busy weaving rich musical tapestries from the stage to notice the audience's murmurs of delight, the head bobs, the cries of "woo" or even the standing ovation that followed his performance.
Hill and his musicians - Brad Jones on bass, LeRoy Williams on drums and Greg Tardy on reeds - began to connect with the audience as soon as they drifted into "But Not Farewell," the up-tempo title track from Hill's early 1990s album.
The song set the tone for an evening of spare and purposeful playing by Hill that was supported by the passion of Tardy on sax, Williams' tight and assertive drumming, and Jones' sweet and buoyant sound on bass.
During the 82-minute, eight-song concert, the four men listened intently to one another. Their musical ripostes were always succinct.
Tardy stepped into his solos as if he were Denzel Washington entering a movie scene.
Sometimes, Tardy twisted his torso as he played, as if he sought to layer the audience with notes, much as Hill's compositions are layered with sophisticated and compelling ideas.
Although Hill holds a doctorate from Colgate and has taught at many colleges, his music is free of adornment that showcase the composer's erudition rather than his musicianship.
Saturday night, Hill and his band swung. They played with joy and passion. And they connected with a respectful and sated audience, even if Hill was too busy making outstanding music to notice.
Saturday's concert was the first of three Hartford Jazz Society-sponsored events at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Trumpeter Dave Douglas & Vacation Blues perform May 22, with the Greg Osby 4 on June 12.
Young area musicians open each concert.
On Saturday, despite missing their bassist, who is also their adult instructor, four members of The Greater Hartford Academy Jazz Ensemble played a resourceful set.
April-26th-2004, 11:28 AM
Sounds like a good set. I hope they record.
Leroy Williams also played with Barry Harris quite a lot. A good man to have on drums.
May-1st-2004, 07:55 AM
Reevaluating @ 500k
Ronald, I saw that group last year. In spite of Douglas being the nominal leader, I think Rudd was really the leader--he made most of the announcements and the choice of repertoire (lots of Monk & Nichols) reflected his career-long obsessions. I love Altschul--it's great to have him back in the States.
Originally Posted by relyles
May-1st-2004, 02:26 PM
I am looking forward to that one. Since I came down to NYC to hang out with you, its your turn to take trip to Hartford and hang out with me. Compared to some of the other places you travel to hear music, that should not be such a burdensome trip.
Originally Posted by Pete C
May-3rd-2004, 01:43 PM
So, I'm walking the dog early Sunday morning and stop in the local bodega to pick up the Times. An older black gentleman precedes me and I think to myself, "I bet that's Andrew Hill..." Shortly after moving to my neck of Jersey City about three years ago, I was informed that Hill lived in the neighborhood but I'd never, to my knowledge, caught sight of him. Yesterday, I still wasn't completely positive (hadn't seen any recent photos that I could remember) and wouldn't particularly know what to say anyway, so we exchanged polite chitchat and left the store. He walked around the corner and into a townhouse that I later confirmed, via the phonebook, as the address of Mr. Hill. Next time, dammit!
May-3rd-2004, 01:57 PM
skirting the issue
"He walked around the corner and into a townhouse that I later confirmed, via the phonebook, as the address of Mr. Hill"
Maybe we should inform Mr. Hill that he has a stalker.
May-3rd-2004, 02:40 PM
Yeah, but the good kind of stalker. And one with a cute doggie.