The result was music so uncompromising that it divided the audience. And the music on this cd certainly does not pander to easy solutions; it challenges the listener by boldly entering the border areas hardly ever visited by the music of today. Meandering and labyrinthine melodies, an unorthodox but never failing rhythmic energy and unusual harmonic structures, crammed with emotional power.
Under Hill’s unconventional direction the music unfolds, fascinating in its embrace of both the calculated form and free playing. And once in a while Hill appears with his deeply original and rhythmically subtle approach to the piano, influenced by, among others, Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor. And when it comes to the sound, this fresh Hill recording outdistances all recent recordings by the American genius.
The other musicians on the cd are Swedish Staffan Svensson (trumpet), Danish Klaus Löhrer (tuba, bass trombone), Peter Fuglsang (alto sax, flute etc.) and Thomas Agergaard (tenor sax), Lithuanian Liudas Mockunas (saxes) and the Americans Scott Colley (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums).
In recent years Hill has won increasingly wide international recognition. He has received a number of distinctions for his long career in music, where he has played with such musicians as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Dinah Washington, Joe Henderson, Eric Dolphy, Tony Williams, Roland Kirk, Sam Rivers and Lee Konitz. He has done his share, it could be said. But the desire to create something new and original is still intact:
“I am looking for freshness in the orchestra. Jazz has always been spontaneous music. Playing for people, cultivating spontaneity and keeping the music alive is what it’s all about. The new jazz audiences expect the music to be an imitation - a repetition of the past. It’s still played live. The problem is that if the new music is not on offer, and the audience doesn’t get a chance to experience innovation, people may believe that things are still more or less what they used to be.”
It may be safely said that in spite of his 67 years and his long career as an artist, Hill is still able to challenge us with music that is nothing like a repetition of the past.
STXCD 20412, STUNT X