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Andrew Hill: Passing Ships

Andrew Hill illustration

In the past three years composer and pianist Andrew Hill made two new records for Palmetto-2000’s Dusk and 2002’s A Beautiful Day-that were among the most highly regarded of their respective years. With the first release of this 1969 recording, Passing Ships, Hill has accomplished the same thing in 2003 without even having to book rehearsals.

In his excellent notes, reissue producer Michael Cuscuna tells of having been disappointed with the tape of this session when he first got into the Blue Note vaults some time ago, not realizing that the problem was a poor mix. Now that the music has been reassembled, it can take its place in the pantheon of great Hill sessions, particularly intriguing for the ways in which it foreshadows the big-band writing on A Beautiful Day. Here he is heard with a nonet that includes multireedist Joe Farrell, trumpeters Woody Shaw and Dizzy Reece, trombonist Julian Priester, Bob Northern on French horn, Howard Johnson on tuba and a rhythm tandem of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lenny White.

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