Andrew Hill: Noon Tide
Andrew Hill (piano)
Passing Ships (Blue Note 90417)
Composed by Andrew Hill.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, November 14, 1969
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Featuring a nonet of odd yet brilliantly selected instrumentation, Passing Ships was one of many challenging Andrew Hill sessions that Blue Note shelved in the late 1960s but thankfully reissued in the early 2000s. On "Noon Tide" Joe Farrellís haunting, wraith-like alto flute melody contrasts the urgent ensemble figures and propulsive, polyrhythmic Latin groove, creating a wonderful compositional juxtaposition of ethereality and earthiness. Hillís constant riffing and crunchy dissonance builds the tension from one soloist to the next, though self-effacing trombonist Julien Priester encounters some distracting and sloppy backgrounds during his otherwise well-played chorus. Farrell barrels aggressively through his tenor solo and trumpeter Dizzy Reece benefits from the least obtrusive backgrounds and peaked energy, boldly riding above the group, stimulated by the Hillís provocative exoticism. Hill sounds strangely Horace Silver-like in his percussive solo, yet with hints of his signature detachment. Though not a flawless recording, it is nonetheless essential for fans of Hillís ambitious and exciting music.
Reviewer: Matt Leskovic