Andrew Hill: California Tinge


California Tinge


Andrew Hill (piano)


Solo (Mosaic Select, MS-023)

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Andrew Hill (piano).

Recorded: San Francisco, October 2, 1978


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

This is a great example of Andrew Hill’s abundant solo piano music from the ‘70s and ‘80s. It has a unique quality—this kaleidoscopic polyphony—that you come to recognize from him. I guess it wasn’t documented prior to the ‘70s; it may be that he’d already achieved these sorts of techniques much earlier. A lot of this stuff emerged later on. For example, this wasn’t issued until last year. There’s a previous record, From California With Love, which is from the same sessions. It may have been that no one was paying for him to make ensemble records any more after the eighteen sessions he did for Blue Note, with only a third of those released. Anyway it’s nice to see his solo concept start to emerge with such flair, virtuosity, and majesty. At any moment you feel like you’re hearing something that’s authentically part of the jazz piano tradition, but it’s unique in the persistent irregularity of how the moments string together. It takes such an unexpected path: ambling, lurching, sly, dazzling. It’s like a history of jazz piano atomized, a deconstruction of the piano tradition. Yet there’s a real throughline, too. You really hear the song being played; it’s just that he’s strolling through the music’s unconscious, letting it all speak through him.

Reviewer: Vijay Iyer


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