Andrew Hill: Siete Ocho

Track

Siete Ocho

Artist

Andrew Hill (piano)

CD

Judgment (Blue Note 63841)

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Musicians:

Andrew Hill (piano), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Richard Davis (bass), Elvin Jones (drums).

Composed by Andrew Hill

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Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 8, 1964

Albumcoverandrewhill-judgment

Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Most of Andrew Hill's Blue Note sessions of the '60's featured horns, but on Judgment only Hutcherson's vibes joined up with the pianist's trio, and the Hill-Hutcherson pairing worked so well that Hutcherson included Hill, and his compositions, on his own debut album as leader (Dialogue) the following year. The challenging "Siete Ocho" is, as the Spanish title indicates, in 7/8 time, but the track possesses a natural and inevitable flow. A bass ostinato launches the piece before Hill and Hutcherson take up the tense, staggered theme. Hutcherson's solo is restlessly provocative, stimulated by Hill's repeated chordal figure and Jones's fiercely aggressive drum work. Jones's own forceful solo makes apparent his emotional commitment to Hill's conception. When Davis reintroduces his opening ostinato, Hill improvises while Hutcherson utilizes the pianist's earlier insistent chordal accompaniment. Hill's narrative is essentially a series of unresolved, abstract phrases that drift through a harmonic landscape populated by dissonant trills, tone rows and pounding chords, all of it sounding like a cogent and controlled mixture of Monk, Herbie Nichols and early Cecil Taylor. As demanding on the listener as on its players, this music is nonetheless accessible, rewarding and forever fresh.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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