ANDREW HILL — Mosaic Select 16 (review)

ANDREW HILL — Mosaic Select 16 album cover Album · 2005 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Mosaic Select #16 Andrew Hill, is easily one of the best of the select series of reasonably priced 3CD sets that the company has put out in the last 10 years, The sets focus on obscure or neglected artists, and Mosaic produces these sets limited to 5000 units, and all their sets can bring 2 or 3 times what the originally sold for, though in recent years the prices have dropped considerably in the secondary market, so if you have your sights on any of the out of print sets, don't wait, if the economy improves, the prices will rise, in fact, I have noticed many of these 3 CD sets selling at original cost to just 25 to 50% above that price.

Many of you may not know, and here is a tip, many of the Mosaic Select issues are available for download at major on line retailers as "The Capital Jazz Vaults Series" including this one, I suspect that is another reason for the bottom falling out of the market on these, If your some one who doesn't need the physical product or the quite good liner notes, discographies and essays, that may be the way to go, I did purchase the Don Pullen set in this format, it cost less than 20 dollars, wow!

Michael Cuscuna, Co founder of Mosaic, contributes the fantastic liner notes, he gives a first hand account of the music, why it laid in the Capitol vaults for 30 plus years, and many thoughts from the late pianist on the music, Liberty Records had bought out Blue note in 1967, and Liberty went a much more commercial direction, therefore artists like hill were on the out side looking in.

Disc 1 is music that reminds me of Point Of departure from 1964 on Blue Note, with the exception of "Diddy Wah" and "Ocho Rios" which bring to mind the Grass Roots session, the last 2 tracks "Monkash" and "Mahogany" and the first 4 tracks on disc 2 "Illusions","Poinsettia", "Fragments" and "Soul Mate" are Quartet performances augmented by a string quartet, these are all interesting, with a few tracks being focused on the string quartet, and a few funkier pieces that seem to not really need the strings, but still an interesting experimentation.

Disc 2, after the 4 string quartet numbers, we have some very interesting trio music from 1967, With Ron Carter on bass and a drummer named Teddy Robinson, he played on Donald Byrd's Chant album, and disappeared into obscurity, This Robinson is no slouch and offers fine support for some very free sounding piano music, very complex, and any Hill fan needs to hear these trio performances, Andrew actually plays some soprano sax on "Six at the Top" and Organ on sections of "Nine at the Bottom" and "Resolution", again, very interesting hearing the the experimentation in the music.

Disc 3 is the main reason to acquire this set in my opinion, both of these sessions from 1967 are stellar, free jazz, but not completely free from melody or structure, very much in the vein of Some of Sam Rivers Mid 60's Blue Notes, in fact it's a shame this music was not released until this set, for both sessions feature Sam Rivers to great affect, The Oct. 1967 session also features Woody Shaw on trumpet and Howard Johnson of Tuba and baritone sax, This music is tight and crisp and definitely lifts the legacy of Andrew Hill, The Feb.1967 session features Rivers again with Robin Kenyatta on alto, and Nadi Qamar playing African Thumb Piano and assorted bells to add some color to the music, unfortunately this session could only be found in the original mono Van Gelder session tapes, no stereo copy could be located, but the sound is still remastered and each instrument is clear, the latter session is a little more laid back than the previous, especially on track 6 "Awake" which reminds me of some of the music on Bobby Hutcherson's Dialogues album with Andrew.

I highly recommend this set, It is now out of print, but can be had a reasonable prices, and that Capitol Jazz Vault Download, Any one who likes advanced hard bop that borders at times on free will enjoy this wildly varied set, this set cleaned out the vaults, with the Passing Ships issue and a few others, every ounce of Hill's music with Blue Note is now available to the public.
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