Andrew Hill
Point of Departure


4.5
superb

Review

by ZIG USER (25 Reviews)
February 4th, 2023 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1965 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The blend of traditionalism and avant-garde

Andrew Hill was a jazz pianist who only made the music he wanted to make. He only sought out musicians who could agree with his vision of the future of jazz. Hill's complex constellations in the early and mid-1960s stretched widely between well-known post-bop and avant-garde jazz. On the recordings for this album released in 1965, the group was among the best in jazz history: Tony Williams on drums; Richard Davis on bass; Joe Henderson on tenor saxophone; Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone, flute and bass clarinet; and Kenny Dorham on trumpet.

The first bars of Refuge already indicate the direction in which the journey is to be taken. A hard-bop cocktail with a touch of blues, while the intoxicating 6/8 rhythm highlights the twisted polyphony of the melody. The trumpet solo is still very closely based on traditional hard-bop. Dolphy enters the scene and strictly cuts the music to a more avant-garde sound. New Monastery is a kind of minimalist bop. Dorham's solos perfectly complement the melody line and give everything a friendly charm.

However, there is enough room for Dolphy, who obviously likes to fill it. Hill also comes up with a blues in his solo, but always with his unique sense of harmony and clearly unpredictable rhythmic concept. On the B-side, Dolphy switches to bass clarinet in Spectrum, since Hill intended to show a wide range of emotions. The piece is episodic, with each soloist trying to express a different mood. This time, the variation comes in the form of bars that change frequently, but within the constraints of static harmony. The music is apt to highlight the incredible flexibility and imaginative execution of the rhythm section.

With a two-tone modal structure, Flight 19, positions Hill as the leader in its entirety. The winds improvised throughout, spiraling through Hill's entire structure to the pulsating rhythm of Williams and Davis' walking vamp. It is the shortest piece on the album, but probably the most musically profound in terms of effective composition and interaction of the entire group.

Finally, Dedication is intended to express a sense of great loss, according to Hill, and is carefully orchestrated to highlight its rather lyrical melody, with the winds alternating between polyphony and unison. It is a mark of the remarkable maturity of Tony Williams, then only 18 years old, who adds only the most subtle background color to the piece with his light strokes. Dolphy's melancholy bass clarinet solo is surprisingly lyrical, while Hill creates a bit of melodic abstraction and colorful stirrings.

All in all, "Point of Departure" is a masterpiece of avant-garde jazz and definitely an essential listen for any fan of the style, though it remains accessible, especially for those who like to listen to an adventure. The accuracy and precision of the musicians go hand in hand with contributing the necessary spices to create music of strange beauty. In particular, Eric Dolphy's contributions add extra color to the complex music, but in his solos each band member adds something unique and helps shape the music.



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excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Zig
February 4th 2023


2747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

such a flawless line-up on this

Ryus
February 4th 2023


37518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2023


5104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yeah [2]



Like Compulsion better but this is a stone cold classic

Zig
February 4th 2023


2747 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@DadFungKu, sorry for ruining your nomination on Mort’s list. Total clueless.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2023


5104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All good, I'm just happy it has a review

VlacDrac
February 4th 2023


2629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How did this album not have a review? Pos'd.

foxblood
February 4th 2023


11159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice, this is a classic



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