Andrew Hill Lift Every Voice

This is a reissue of a long out-of-print album by the unique Andrew Hill. Hill always represented one of the most "new thing" sympathetic artists on Blue Note, drawing on Monk, and going on to have a profound influence on the likes of Matthew Shipp. This was one of Hill's last albums for Blue Note and the mood isn't quite as hypnotically forward as such landmarks as Point Of Departure. Here he works with a choir of seven voices that mostly vocalise alongside some excellent playing. The original album is joined by an entire album's worth of further sessions with an expanded vocal group. The choir is a double-edged sword; there are times when the complex harmonies and dissonance are truly involving but elsewhere the choral arrangements are the height of '60s cheese, almost distracting from the exceptional tunes. Although this reissue is excellent all the way through there is an interesting contrast between the original album and the bonus tracks. The original album has a more intriguing band - Woody Shaw on trumpet, Richard Davis on bass - and sounds like really bent soul jazz with the occasional stuttering beat. The bonus tracks' vocal arrangements are better integrated into the material and Hill sounds particularly good, but the band doesn't live up to quite the same standard, despite the presence of Lee Morgan and Bennie Maupin. This album sounds a lot different than most other Hill recordings and makes for a good introduction to his playing and compositional style.