Friday, March 03, 2006

Andrew Hill - Time Lines (Blue Note, 2006)

Andrew Hill is back on the famous Blue Note record label for his third tour of duty, and has put together a great band made up of a mixture of veteran musicians and younger up-and-coming talents for this disc of all original Hill compositions. Hill (on piano) is joined by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, clarinetist and saxophonist Greg Tardy, bassist John Herbert, and drummer Eric McPherson. "Malachi" (version one) is a somber tune, undoubtedly meant to memorialize Malachi Favors of the Art Ensemble of Chicago who passed away last year. "Time Lines" is a wearily upbeat tune with colorful percussive comping from Hill and great solos from Tardy, Tolliver and the drummer McPherson. "Ry Round" has a nice Dolphy-ish bass clarinet solo and some wonderful Monkish piano from Hill along with a firey Tolliver trumpet solo.

"For Emilo" has nice 'woody' sounding bass clarinet solo to open, and a lengthy hushed drum solo, in fact, all members of the band get significant solo space throughout the album, and they take full advantage of it, stepping up with great performances. "Smooth" is hardly a piece of radio-friendly fluff, but features a jagged and memorable trumpet solo. Some nice solo space for the leader as well, backed by bass and drums and then a zippy clarinet solo rounds things out. A quiet and haunting solo reprise of "Malachi" finishes the program on a haunting note. This is a very good record and should go a long way to cementing Hill's status as one of jazz's most relentless pioneers.

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