Andrew Hill: Refuge




Andrew Hill (piano)


Point of Departure (Blue Note 84167)

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Andrew Hill (piano), Eric Dolphy (alto sax), Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Richard Davis (bass), Tony Williams (drums).

Composed by Andrew Hill


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, March 21, 1964


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

This opening track from Andrew Hill's Point of Departure LP may not have made as much money for Blue Note as its other hits from the era -- such as "The Sidewinder or "Watermelon Man." But make no mistake, this is one of the defining moments for the Blue Note sound. Hill clearly understood the label's hard-bop tradition, as he demonstrates on this music, but his album was also (as its title states) a point of departure. It mixes old-style hard swing with an incisive probing attitude that seems to want to break free from the constraints of the music, but never really lets go. This paradoxical combination may be an even more powerful influence today than when this album first hit record-store bins. The front line of Dolphy, Henderson and Dorham share the bandleader's vision, and every solo on this 12-minute track furthers the composition's relentless, aggressive ambiance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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