Andrew HILL – Mosaic Select 2005

Andrew HILL – Mosaic Select 2005
Recording Date: Nov 8, 1963-Sep 16, 1990
Mosaic Select 16


All but six of the 31 tracks on this 3-CD boxed set from Mosaic have never been issued before. Recorded between 1967 and 1970, the mainstream jazz on Andrew Hill’s Mosaic Select 16 represents the last remaining unissued sessions from his Blue Note years. All the compositions are Hill’s.

Using a sextet, trio and septet format, the pianist creates torrents of improvised sounds that bring his ensembles together with clarity and a cohesive interface. Hill communicates with his audience through a driving rhythmic groove and through the music’s myriad impressions. Like a suite of ideas, each piece casts changing moods along the way. Ensemble phrasing and individual soloing combine to layer each piece with spontaneity.

With saxophonists Pat Patrick and Bennie Maupin, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Ben Riley, Hill creates seven tracks that whisper the essence of jazz. Nothing can be taken for granted. Each bend in the trail calls for a surprising lift.

With bassist Richard Davis, saxophonists Maupin or Carlos Garnett, drummers Freddie Waits or Mickey Roker and strings, the pianist lays down seven tracks that continue to push the envelope. Dramatic intensity increases, as Hill explores the thrills of communicating openly with the element of surprise at hand. He reaches for the piano’s uppermost and bottommost keys, as he swirls the ensemble’s emotions around solid themes. As “Soul Mate” romps evenly at a hip tempo with its cool rhythmic stride, the pianist toys with the string section. He draws upon the artists in his ensemble to create a relaxed scene where the audience can feel at home while witnessing refreshingly original material.

With drummer Teddy Robinson and bassist Carter, the pianist creates seven exciting tracks that place more emphasis on his solo artistry. His off-center rhythmic phrases and multi-dimensional chording define the individualistic qualities of his music. Bass and drums lend strong support and climb out eagerly with improvised bouts of passion. Hill’s use of organ lends a dramatic flair, while his soprano saxophone outing on “Six at the Top” adds an exotic touch. As he trades fours with Carter, Hill’s saxophone sings out in the manner of a snake charmer at the local bazaar.

With trumpeter Woody Shaw, saxophonists Robin Kenyatta, Howard Johnson and Sam Rivers, bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Robinson, the pianist creates five tracks that stretch boundaries. Kenyatta’s hot approach lends a significant twist to “For Blue People Only,” while Shaw’s “Oriba” solo flows evenly with a beautiful luster. With Johnson on tuba, the piece comes in two versions, each capturing the best part of Mosaic Select 16.

Rivers and Kenyatta help Hill create a powerful storm of emotion that lets his audience absorb and relate. They return for the compilation’s final five tracks, along with drummer Robinson, bassist Cecil McBee, and Nadi Qamar at the thumb piano. Somewhat more mellow, the ensemble lounges for a while with graceful postures. Rivers’ flute solo on “Awake” and his tenor solo on “Now” provide stirring examples of the heartfelt emotion that goes into his performances. “I” proves cacophonous, while “Yomo” moves sensuously behind a graceful thumb piano introduction designed to evoke natural emotion. The compilation ends with “Prevue,” a hawkish monster of free jazz that includes the use of organ to disseminate dramatic forces throughout the ensemble. Cohesiveness breaks down, as the artists each go their own way with emphasis.

These previously unreleased sessions provide an all-encompassing look at the eclectic nature of pianist and composer Andrew Hill.
Of all the volumes in the Mosaic Select series, this one, and the Big John Patton box, are the most satisfying, though for very different reasons. This one is a true collector’s gem. For starters, all but six of the 31 cuts on this three-CD box are previously unreleased. For Hill fans who knew there was more in the can, this is a most welcoming find. The material here was completely composed by Hill and was recorded in five sessions between 1967 and 1970. The pianist and composer is found in three different settings, from trio to sextet and septet with some octet sides. The personnel here varies, too. The sextet sessions feature Hill with Bennie Maupin, Pat Patrick, Charles Tolliver, Ron Carter, and either Paul Motian or Ben Riley on drums. These are the earliest cuts here and they are solid as solid can be. They are tight compositions that come out of both modal and hard bop and push the envelope with fine improvising from each player. They move, jump, and in their own way, swing. There are at least two sessions here with string quartets and different personnel. Some contain Carlos Garnett with Freddie Watts and Richard Davis, while others feature Maupin, Carter, and Mickey Roker. The music here is dark, swirling, and edgily dissonant while never departing form the authoritative use of the tradition that has been Hill’s trademark since Black Fire. Again, elements of swing are ever present as are the blues — check “Monkash,” or “Soul Mate” for examples of each band — split at the end of disc one and the beginning of disc two. The classical vibe added by the string quartet is one that is far from overbearing, but plays a great anchor role during the other group improvisation.

Other sessions here, like the trio sides with Carter and Teddy Robinson, are fluid, streamlined and extremely direct while still lyrical. The septet music contains two versions of “Oriba,” and the personnel here includes Sam Rivers, Woody Shaw, Robin Kenyatta, and Howard Johnson for a stellar horn section with the rhythm section of Herbie Lewis and drummer Teddy Robinson. The final band, where the horn section shrinks to just Rivers and Kenyatta, is subsequently expanded in the bottom end with bassist Cecil McBee and Spaulding Givens on percussion. These five cuts with their fiery rhythmic drive end the proceedings on a decidedly different note than where they began, but some elements remain: Hill’s sense of melody and harmonic extrapolation are ever expansive without losing their center of gravity, the rhythms are always circular, and the sound of the tradition is never far away. The track to listen for here is “Yomo.” This is a fine set to complement the previous Mosaic Blue Note set of unreleased material, and rounds out and extends the seemingly ever more expansive portrait of Hill as a composer, a pianist, and a bandleader.
By Thom Jurek, AMG.
(A1) Charles Tolliver, trumpet; Pat Patrick, flute, alto clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax; Bennie Maupin, flute, tenor sax; Andrew Hill, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Paul Motian, drums.
Recorded on January 16, 1970.

(A2) Charles Tolliver, trumpet, flugelhorn; Pat Patrick, flute, alto clarinet, alto sax; Bennie Maupin, flute, bass clarinet, tenor sax; Andrew Hill, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Ben Riley, drums.
Recorded on January 23, 1970.

(B1) Carlos Garnett, tenor sax; Andrew Hill, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Freddie Waits, drums; Sanford Allen, violin; Selwart Clarke, Booker Rowe, viola; Kermit Moore, cello.
Recorded on June 13,1969.

(B2) Bennie Maupin, flute, tenor sax; Andrew Hill, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Mickey Roker, drums; Sanford Allen, violin; Selwart Clarke, Al Brown, viola; Kermit Moore, cello.
Recorded on August 1,1969.

(C) Andrew Hill, piano; Ron Carter, bass, Teddy Robinson, drums.
Hill plays soprano sax on a section of “Six At The Top” and organ on sections of “Resolution” and “Nine At The Bottom”.
Recorded on May 17,1967.

(D) Woody Shaw, trumpet; Robin Kenyatta, alto sax; Sam Rivers, soprano sax, tenor sax; Howard Johnson, baritone sax, tuba; Andrew Hill, piano; Herbie Lewis, bass; Teddy Robinson, drums.
Recorded on October 31,1967

(E) Robin Kenyatta, alto sax; Sam Rivers, flute, soprano sax, tenor sax; Andrew Hill, piano, organ; Cecil McBee, bass; Teddy Robinson, drums; Nadi Qamar (Spaulding Givens), thumb piano, African drum, bells.
Recorded on February 10,1967
Original sessions produced by Francis Wolff (A,B,D) and Alfred Lion (C,E)
Recording engineer: Rudy Van Gelder
All sessions recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

“Ocho Rios (first version)” (listed as “One For One”) (A1), “Diddy Wah” (A1), “Without Malice” (A2), “Illusion” (B2), “Poinsettia” (B2) and “Fragments” (B2) were previously issued on ONE FOR ONE (Blue Note BNLA459-2). All other selections are previously unissued.

Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna Sessions A & B were remixed from the original eight-track tapes in 2003 by Malcolm Addey at the Malcolm Addey Studio, New York City.
Mastered in 24 bit by Malcolm Addey
Session E has survived only in the form of 7 ½ ips mono tapes. All other sessions are stereo.
From Mosaic Records.
Disc 1:
01. Without Malice (A2) 4:50
02. Ocho Rios (first version) (A1) 10:27
03. Diddy Wah (A1) 6:48
04. Ode To Infinity (A2) 4:52
05. The Dance (A1) 5:32
06. Satin Lady (A2) 7:56
07. Ocho Rios (second version) (A2) 7:31
08. Monkash (B1) 6:28
09. Mahogany (B1) 6:51

Disc 2:
01. Illusion (B2) 6:57
02. Poinsettia (B2) 6:21
03. Fragments (B2) 5:01
04. Soul Mate (B2) 6:20
05. Illusion (alternate take) (B2) 6:26
06. Interfusion (C) 7:23
07. Resolution (C) 6:22
08. Chained (C) 5:37
09. MOMA (C) 5:32
10. Nine At The Bottom (C) 5:49
11. Six At The Top (C) 9:07
12. Nine At The Bottom (alternate take) (C) 6:12

Disc 3:
01. For Blue People Only (D) 9:34
02. Enamorado (D) 6:07
03. Mother’s Tale (D) 9:27
04. Oriba (first version) (D) 5:38
05. Oriba (second version) (D) 6:12
06. Awake (E) 7:05
07. Now (E) 4:40
08. I (E) 7:30
09. Yomo (E) 10:02
10. Prevue (E) 6:14

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