Monday, April 23, 2007

So Long, Andrew

I learned of the passing of one Andrew Hill, of my all time favorite jazz pianists, on my way home from work on Friday. I don't remember exactly how I discovered his music. I picked up Point of Departure about 10 years ago on a whim and I was immediately hooked. Hill's music was a unique synthesis of 20th century classical composition and free improvisation. Normally, I'm not all that impressed with attempts to fuse jazz and classical traditions together, but Hill was an exception. His large group recordings are masterpieces for the way he utilizes every voice in the band to its fullest potential and creates a sound that is even bigger than the already augmented group. With the exception of John Coltrane, Hill created more hauntingly beautiful music than any of his contemporaries. It's too bad that I never got a chance to hear him play live in concert, but I'm pleased that his genius was finally recognized before he passed away.

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