December 19, 2014

Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure (1964)

Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Tony Williams, Richard Davis, Joe Henderson, and Kenny Dorham together; if that doesn't scream classic I don't know what does. There are some cool looking lineups on paper that end up being a disappointment, but this is not one of those. Andrew Hill already recorded two albums for Blue Note--Black Fire and Judgment--one an inventive saxophone quartet and one a gloomier modal album with Bobby Hutcherson. By the time of Point Of Departure, the pianist already picked up a large following in the 60s jazz scene and was regarded as an influence by many. On this third album for Blue Note, the compositional genius was able to toy with a larger horn section (including the already legendary post-bop multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy) and to test his luck with the challenging young phenomenon Anthony Williams.

Right off the bat we see Hill applying the stellar horn section he was granted to some fantastic music. Dolphy, Henderson, and Dorham all dart out in all different directions, one heading up on the staff, one down, one something else I really don't know jack shit about music in that regard, but they're doing something real cool here. Hill uses pauses and quick speedups to his advantage, but this isn't even comparable to Monk or Taylor since he has such control of that cerebral melody. Shit, I mean Andrew Hill has got to be the only guy in the world to meld the hard bop elder Kenny Dorham the most fascinating rhythm section ever (including an 18 year old kid), recording novice Joe Henderson, and the musical controversy of Eric Dolpy into something this progressive.


Point Of Departure