Our seventy-third feature for Blue Note 75 for 75 is Andrew Hill’s Time Lines, a stunning return to the label, though sadly Hill’s final album. It is a powerful, moody, mysterious work of art from a unique artist whose piano work perfectly bridges all the gaps of the post-bop framework. Check out Hill’s stunning, haunting ode to his friend Malachi Favors:
Andrew Hill had been an obscure, neglected figure in jazz for quite some time. His best known album, Point Of Departure, was known more for the contributions of sideman Eric Dolphy than for the leader’s own compositions and playing. That started to change in the late 80’s and by the time of Time Lines release in 2006, Hill’s reputation had been thoroughly rehabilitated. It was the perfect moment to release a new record, one that bridges the gaps of his career. The title track nails the sort of shifting post-bop that marks Hill’s innovation in genre:
Trumpeter Charles Tolliver had played with Hill on-and-off for decades and is a welcome voice here. Multi-reedist Greg Tardy harkens back to Dolphy with his bass clarinet work particularly and the rhythm section of John Hebert on bass on Eric McPherson on drums nail the sliding scale of time signatures and halting swing. As for Hill himself, his piano playing is as elusive yet engaging as ever.
I had the good fortune to see Hill perform just weeks before his passing in 2007 and this album is a bittersweet reminder of just how much music Hill still had inside him.
Stay tuned for more Blue Note 75 for 75… (two more to go!)