Andrew Hill: Mist Flower


Mist Flower


Andrew Hill (piano)


Blue Black (East Wind 9034)

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Andrew Hill (piano), Jimmy Vass (alto sax), Chris White (bass), Leroy Williams (drums).

Composed by Andrew Hill


Recorded: New York, February 26, 1975


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Andrew Hill has the extraordinary ability—with both his composing and improvising—to make everything sound like a ballad. That is to say, he invests a tune like this mid-tempo swinger with all the best qualities of a ballad: lovely, unpredictable chord changes and unconventional form; an infinitely varied touch on piano, and a flexible manner of dealing with rhythm (he spreads his composed and improvised melodies over the changes like a beautiful patchwork quilt). Hill is joined here by Jimmy Vass, who solos on both flute and alto sax. Vass is unusually aggressive on the former. He's grittier than most flutists, though not in a rough-hewn Jeremy Steig kind of way. Indeed, Vass' tone and technique are both very strong. On alto, he's simultaneously fleet and lyrical, free and disciplined, manifestly comfortable with the material. The rhythm section is solidly creative. This performance has an attractively untethered quality, as if the band is holding onto the tune only as tightly as is absolutely necessary. Like a freely-interpreted ballad, the music exudes emotional abandonment. That it's not strictly a ballad is, in the context of Hill's work, mere coincidence.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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