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Andrew!!! (1964)

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John Gilmore

Anyone familiar with Andrew Hill's music will find the cover to Andrew!!! a little bizarre, to say the least. Hill was one of the most intense and cerebral musicians on Blue Note's roster, incorporating avant-garde and modal techniques into his adventurous post-bop. The cover to Andrew!!! apparently is an attempt to humanize Hill -- it's a soft-focus close-up of a smiling Andrew Hill, who looks more like a teen idol than a serious jazz musician, and the first-name title is adorned with no less than three exclamation marks and a subtitle, "The Music of Andrew Hill," which suggests that it's an album of romantic, easy-listening standards. It's not. Andrew!!! is just as adventurous and challenging as any of his other albums, which is to Hill's credit. The pianist leads tenor saxophonist John Gilmore, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Joe Chambers through a set of six original songs. Often, the music has a floating, hypnotic quality, which only makes Hill's dissonance, unusual voicings, and complex arrangements more compelling than usual. Andrew!!!, if anything, is even less accessible than the previous Point of Departure, but its restless, searching quality and endlessly provocative music makes it just as successful. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine