ANDREW HILL — Divine Revelation (review)

ANDREW HILL — Divine Revelation album cover Album · 1976 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Sean Trane
I’m not sure what happened to AH during the early 70’s, as there is almost five years between recording, with the Blue Note period ending in 70 and his return for the label Steeplechase Records in 75 , of which I believe this is his second album upon his return. In the light of his new wave of albums’ titles, his retreat might have been of a spiritual nature, but I wouldn’t bet on it. If Invitation was recorded as a trio (as would Nefertiti a while later), DR is recorded as a quartet that includes Vass on sax and flute. And indeed, this writer prefers the quartet format as it allows for some variety, although I’d say that AH is in a fine form, playing up a storm on tracks like East 9th Street.

While most of the tracks on the opening side may appear rather standard 60’s stuff (or at least not in the avant-garde peak), both the highlights of July 10th and East 9th Street show that Andrew’s inspiration is certainly intact, even if not extremely sharp. Obviously it is the 25-mins title track that is the album’s foundation stone, an overlong solo piano intro that doesn’t see Vass’ sax & flute intervention until the 11th minute, White’s bass until the 13th, and Williams’ drums until the 15th for an unwelcome solo, the group finally playing together from the 17th minute onwards. Once the group is indeed together, the track does reach some interesting moments (around the 21st minute), but it sounds more improvised than written.

BTW, the Cd reissue holds an alternate take of July 10th as a bonus track. Well if AH’s return to business is definitely worth a listen, I’m not sure I would call it an essential oeuvre in Andrew’s discography. Depending on how you assess Hill’s importance in the overall scheme, you may want to have DR in your shelves or (like me rent it out from the library every decade or so.

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