Andrew Hill - Compulsion!!!

Blue Note RVG Edition 0946 374230 2        ***** RECOMMENDED
Hill (p), Freddie Hubbard (t), John Gilmore (ts, bcl), Cecil McBee, Richard Davis (‘Premonition’ only) (b), Joe Chambers (d), Nadi Qamar and Renaud Simmons (perc). Rec. 1965
Andrew Hill - Compulsion!!!
One of the great jazz albums. This is the one I’ve been moaning for years about not having ever been reissued on Blue Note CD before now when other of the label’s titles have been reissued four or maybe five times over. This is so good, it’s burning. Just burning. I can’t believe I have to write this review in the same month the news came through that Andrew Hill died. We had to wait that long. Point of Departure (and to a lesser extent Black Fire) has the kudos, and probably always will have, but this is its equal. It is an astounding disc, driven by wildly exciting percussion from Qamar and Simmons and galvanic piano playing by Hill: if anyone ever displayed the untamed fire of Bud Powell and Cecil Taylor at their best from another contemporary perspective entirely, it was Hill. He drives Hubbard to staggering levels of invention and eloquence on the title track and deeply moving but in-your-face lyricism on ‘Premonition’.

On the latter track Richard Davis pulls off what is equivalent to an avant verismo aria on doublebass. Elsewhere McBee brings almost demoniac passion to his bass playing. Gilmore’s tortured logic fits the music perfectly. The RVG remastering is excellent, allowing me to hear details I had to surmise on my old LP. I know the music’s been out before as part of one of those gigantic Mosaic boxes, but that doesn’t count. For me, on account of its rarity and its undimmed brilliance, this has to be a strong candidate for reissue of the year. Get it while you can: it might be another long wait for the next time around. Keith Shadwick

This review is taken from Jazzwise Issue #110, to read the most comprehensive review section of jazz and beyond and receive a  Free CD, subscribe here…