If Redundant Chicanery has taught you nothing during its tenure, the one thing you will have taken away from this place is that I often take into consideration personal experience when listening to music (either the maker's or mine — it's interchangeable, really).
Andrew Hill —one of the most original and resonating voices in modern music— recorded nearly three hours worth of newly composed material in the late summer and fall of 1978 amidst a cross-country move in the wake of his wife being determined terminally ill.
So, the contents of this box set?
Yeah that's what he was playing in the shadow of all of that change.
A move to the inner-Bay Area and an acceptance of his surroundings are basically what's documented here.
Is it sad? No.
Is it happy? No.
Is it boring? No.
Is it rewarding? Double yes with a side of yesrings, please.
He is absolutely playing his heart out for the duration here. If you have the patience, you will be converted to the church of Andrew Hill. I was already here, so I guess take my words as those of a true believer.
He seems to be playing life in all its profound glories and equally as profound sadness here with a cool and pronounced ability that simultaneously says, "I know that heaviness in your heart" and "Hey, cop this!"
Two songs from the sessions documented here were actually released on a seldom heard, independently released album. Those two songs are finally reissued here along with everything that was considered along with them.
It's astounding really.
A pianist goes into a studio and decides to play obsessively introspective material for three hours and the masters simply get handed over to him. Years later, we finally get to hear how a tune like 'California Tinge' (in two versions) finally evolved into 'Reverend Du Bop' — and not to mention that all three versions are excellent.
I don't really have much else to say here expect that it is an absolute joy to hear these sessions of Andrew unaccompanied and uninterrupted.
He sounds full of creativity. Full of life.
Wonderfully soothing music.