Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Andrew Hill found a rhythmic reconciliation in the swinging avante-garde vibes of this flea flop postbop yakety yak.  He had switched around his backing band with his first two albums on Blue Note Records ('Black Fire' and 'Smokestack'), retaining only bassist Richard Davis for the  January 8, 1964 session at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs that produced 'Judgement!'.  The album features Andrew Hill on piano;  with Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone;  and the rhythm section of Richard Davis on double-bass and Elvin Jones on drums.  The lack of horns and the harmonic interplay between Hill and Hutcherson reveal a deeper, more complex percussive dynamic that opens up the sound.

 Hill would later reveal:  "It was basically drafts written off my interpretation of someone else's playing, so that really was the catalyst...[All the music] was set up for [Elvin Jones' style]...While I was at Portland State, and then I came into this phrase "African retention" (all this after the fact). To me, it's more like an alternative approach to music...In Western civilization, melody is the major voice. Rhythm and harmony is just an accessory.  I’ve always, especially since emerging on accordion with the Blues groups and the Boogie Woogie, approached rhythm as the predominant voice, with harmony as an accessory. Though many things have changed traditionally, that dynamic hasn’t changed.  Always check the rhythm to hear the integrity of the music then and now, whether it’s retrospective or trying to go ahead.  If it’s static and stagnant, that means the music is dead, because they have such an academic approach, and they learned all the melodies but they have no rhythmic interaction.”

Hutcherson considers:  “Andrew’s music is very heavily mental...You go into rooms you wouldn’t normally enter.  There’s always a little story in the melody, a reason why this tune is being played; it’s your own story, what you’re seeing as you play.  He’d give you melancholy, long notes, you’d think, ‘man, how long can you hold this note so that there will be this texture?’ — then all of a sudden it burst into a chant, a hope within the note.  Religious, I guess you can say…well, the religion of the bandstand…of someone’s thoughts.  It was very challenging, just because of its openness; the melody could be loose as a rubber band.  But just remember that it’s going to come down; the bar line is still moving at the same pace.”


full album:

"Siete Ocho" - 8:58
"Flea Flop" - 7:21
"Yokada Yokada" - 5:17
"Alfred" - 7:04
"Judgment" - 6:53
"Reconciliation" - 7:24

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