Saturday, January 14, 2006

'Point of departure:' Andrew Hill's classic from 1964... a dash of Coltrane from 1962...

Point of departure' is (vaguely) similar territory to Dolphy's classic 'Out to Lunch' – Blue Note was doing some interesting stuff round this time for which Dolphy and Hill would be two similar and overlapping paradigms maybe – battering up against the walls of tradition and in Dolphy's case often going through in gaping rents here and there but crossing back to keep a foot firmly planted inside.

'Refuge' – after the theme a rolling Hill solo – reminds me of a cross between Monk and early Cecil – then – Eric Dolphy comes blasting in, crashing exuberantly through the starting gate, as ever sounding fresh and charmingly jagged (if that makes any sense - Dolphy wears his transgressions lightly, without the angst-ridden heaviness of Coltrane, say). Kenny Dorham – poised and assured, bopping across the harmonies of Hill. Richard Davis solos masterfully. Joe Henderson lays out his credentials, sounding secure in Hill's world. Williams the young Turk drummer everywhere in the best sense.

'New Monastery' is even more reminiscent in its theme of 'Out to Lunch.' Kenny Dorham starts the solo round – if you think about it, playing the Freddie Hubbard straight man role from that album. Then Dolphy again, barrelling in – his unique harmonic/melodic/rhythmic take instantly heard as different – a short sharp shock here. Hill plays a marvellous solo – those echoes maybe of other players – as in Monk looking back to James P Johnson and oddly at times Art Tatum - but distinctly his own man. On this track Joe Henderson sounds a bit back in the mix with Hill's comping to the fore which makes him sound more tentative than he is. A few bars of bass then into a few bars of drums – oddly, you wait for more but the theme comes back in

More Coltrane... could there ever be enough? I think not... from the 1962 Paris Concert, one of my favourite tunes – 'Every time we say goodbye' - essayed here on soprano with a keening sad-tinged wailing, a bitter sweet version of a bitter sweet song. A reflective 'inside' reading, backed up with Tyner's mainly double-timed solo ending on some two-fisted keyboard work. Out with Coltrane, still sticking near to the contours and melody of the song. Maybe one of those that demand it – and/or a lesson learned from Monk who always required his musicians to consider the melody as much as the harmonies beneath.

Andrew Hill



New Monastery


Coltrane Paris Concert


Every time we say goodbye


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