Andrew Hill's Point of Departure Sextet


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Andrew Hill's first album since 1990's But Not Farewell is also his first for Palmetto, a daring indie label for which his unorthodox music is perfectly suited. A fascinating song cycle inspired by Jean Toomer's 1923 book Cane, Dusk finds the veteran pianist at the helm of a phenomenal new sextet comprised of Ron Horton on trumpet, Gregory Tardy and Marty Ehrlich on saxophones, Scott Colley on bass, and Billy Drummond on drums. The somewhat lengthy title track, built upon a repeated bassline, has the horns executing thick harmonies and darting unison passages. "Sept" and "15/8" are extended, frenetic forays into odd meter. "Tough Love" and "Focus" are unaccompanied piano solos that offer new insights into Hill's unpredictable musical language. "ML" and "Ball Square" are two relatively brief selections: the former a waltz, the latter an uptempo swing with a half-time interlude that strongly evokes Charles Mingus. "T.C." is a tribute to the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin, featuring Tardy and Ehrlich on dueling bass clarinets. (No bass clarinet credits are given on the CD jacket.) With Dusk, Andrew Hill makes it plain that his uncompromising musical vision is intact, undiluted, and perhaps more advanced than ever.

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