Album of the Day: Andrew Hill, "Time Lines"

Album of the Day: Andrew Hill, “Time Lines”

Andrew Hill
Time Lines (Cd Blue Note 094633517028)

After years spent in solitude playing concerts around university colleges and having made records for minor record labels, Andrew Hill, thanks to this excellent work, finally returned home to Blue Note where he had begun his career creating masterpieces such as “Smokestack” , “Point of Departure” and “Passing Ships”.
Thanks to producer Michael Cuscuna, Hill was finally able to enjoy the promotional support he deserved; the result of “Time Lines” was to renew the interest of the media around the world in the figure of this authentic Master of jazz improvisation.

A masterful pianist and even more excellent composer, Hill has never looked for easy shortcuts; his music is challenging, often angular, requiring several listens to reveal itself in all its poetic beauty.

Compared to the classics of the past, “Time Lines” has a decidedly softer instrumental and writing approach and accessible to a wider audience; the whole recording seems veiled by a poignant melancholy that materializes from the first song, dedicated to the memory of Malachi Favors of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (also proposed at the end of the album in a beautiful version for solo piano).

The elegiac character of many songs gives the album a delicate flavour, imbued with memories that not even the rhythmic convolutions of the
title track of the album they manage to dissipate completely. Hill savors his solos, weighs each note, distilling the lesson of Monk and Nichols in an even more essential and spartan way, always highly original: each note is loaded with meaning, often deviating towards unexpected regions inspired by an explicit cantability that the young Hill, intent to elaborate harsher language, perhaps he would not have allowed himself.

All the songs are magnificent, perfect vehicles for the masterful improvisations of Hill and the members of his band where another old lion stands out, the trumpeter Charles Tolliver, whose soloism is still full of ideas.
No less exquisite is the creative contribution of Greg Tardy (sax and clarinets), John Ebert (double bass) and Eric McPherson (drums),
which delicately and without prevaricating counterpoint the melodic curves of the leader, supporting him with intelligence.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.