Andrew Hill

Compulsion
(Blue Note Records: RVG Edition)

Compulsion is one of those albums that makes you scratch your head with wonder at how it could ever have gone out of print in the first place. Maybe we can blame the overabundance of jazz albums in the stratosphere, or maybe it's because the late pianist Andrew Hill didn't carry star-studded status like contemporaries Cecil Taylor or Sun Ra. Whatever the reason, jazzheads are advised to pick up the reissue of this 1966 album, remastered by Rudy Van Gelder. The disc is a showcase for heavy-handed leftie Hill, as he concentrates on quoting complex avant-garde passages on the album's four original compositions. The title track features trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's discernible high-pitched phrasing and a stripped-down, hard-bop rhythm section that showcases drummer Joe Chambers, African percussionist Nadi Qamar, conga beater Renaud Simmons, and one of jazz's most underhyped bass players, Cecil McBee. Compulsion also marks one of the few times that Sun Ra allowed the late major league tenor saxophone great John Gilmore to record outside the Arkestra orbit, and it's great hearing him blow in another context for the first time since his famed 1957 Blowing In From Chicago session with Clifford Jordan. Really, we can't recommend this high-octane effort enough.

 
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