Andrew Hill: Illusion
Andrew Hill (piano)
Mosaic Select: Andrew Hill (Mosaic Select 016)
Sanford Allen (violin); Selwart Clarke, Al Brown (viola); Kermit Moore (cello).
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 1, 1969
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
This is Andrew with a funky rhythm section and string quartet, and Bennie Maupin enters pretty far into the song. At first I thought that he wasn’t even on this track, but he is. What grabbed me about this is, on the one hand, the way Mickey Roker plays, which is this kind of low-down groove, steady and centered, with a lot of character to it, like James Brown at two-thirds speed—a mellow James Brown groove. Then there’s Ron Carter, who is very good at handling this sort of thing—he can play the same thing over and over again and give it life, and find subtle and interesting ways to vary ostinato basslines. That rhythm section is in interesting contrast to the very graceful and lilting string writing that feels almost incongruously elegant across that groove. It sets up a nice space, and Andrew straddles those two textures or tendencies. A nice, unexpected delicacy.
Reviewer: Vijay Iyer