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  • Black Fire [180 Gram Vinyl]
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Black Fire [180 Gram Vinyl]

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 9, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heavenly Sweetness Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Pumpkin
2. Subterfuge
3. Black Fire
4. Cantarnos
5. Tired Trade
6. McNeil Island
7. Land Of Nod

Editorial Reviews

Limited 180gm vinyl LP pressing. 1963 Blue Note debut album from Jazz pianist Andrew Hill, edgey brilliance at its best, a lean, stripped-down session that has Hill playing with Joe Henderson, Richard Davis, and Roy Haynes in a mode that's somewhere between his own Smokestack album, and the stark modernism of Jackie McLean's mid 60s ''new thing'' work. The whole set's pretty darn great, one of the more mindblowing Blue Notes you'll ever hope to buy.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By G B on April 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Andrew Hill's leader debut for Blue Note is one of his best recordings. The story is that Hill played piano on Joe Henderson's excellent album Our Thing and was then approached by producer Alfred Lion to make an album of his own music. Hill rose to the challenge, bringing seven strikingly original compositions that didn't fit into either the "free jazz" or "hard bop" categories.

It wasn't unusual in the mid-60s for Blue Note albums to include original compositions, but sometimes these compositions were pretty generic: a modal number, a "Sidewinder" clone, a blues number, etc. But not here -- each of Hill's tunes is distinct from those generic categories, and from the other tunes on the album. Hill's tunes include weird twists and turns, starts and stops, alternating sections with clashing ideas or moods, unpredictable rhythms, and of course a touch of Monk. "Subterfuge" is a percussive, claustrophobic piano trio performance. "McNeil Island" is another trio performance, but this time Roy Haynes sits out. Joe Henderson plays very lyrically on this one. "Black Fire" is a waltz, alternating an upbeat theme with a darker one. It's interesting to see how the soloists adjust to the frequently adjusting moods in their solos. "Pumpkin" (introduced by a striking Richard Davis bassline) and the sorta-Latin "Cantarnos" both feature intense, passionate melodies.

Hill got a major assist from his quartet: Henderson (tenor sax), Davis (bass) and Haynes (drums). Hill had great chemistry with all three guys, and each would appear on at least one Hill recording after this one. Henderson's playing is more avant-garde than on contemporary albums such as Lee Morgan's Sidewinder and Grant Green's Idle Moment.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Andrew Hill's "Black Fire," out-of-print domestically for nearly ten years as a single-disc and often impossible to find used, makes an improbable return to the Blue Note catalog in the RVG series. This November 8, 1963 seesion is the underrated pianist's debut as a leader, and what a fine introduction it is to this unique jazz composer and performer. Joined by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Roy Haynes, this quartet runs through the seven Hill originals (plus two alternate takes) like they'd been playing together for years. Those familiar with Hill's music know this is no easy task, as these songs, with their creative melodies, complex rhythms and intricate interplay make playing together cohesively quite difficult. Many are too quick to lump Andrew Hill into the jazz avant-garde, and while his music is expansive and exploratory, it is certainly firmly grounded in the post-bop jazz tradition. "Black Fire" must have been hard to put out, but now that it is here, listen to it burn!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bluesman From Barcelona on June 16, 2007
Format: Audio CD
While it can be considered that Andrew Hill and his recordings qualify as avant-garde, his music has melody, rhythm and harmony. Hill's sounds are as analytical as powerfully visceral. In some parts of his music it is noticeable the influence of three monsters of the piano: Earl Hines one of the best, the great Bud Powell and the supernatural and influential Thelonious Monk.
"Black Fire", Andrew Hill's powerful debut record for Blue Note, is an impressive and original record which builds from hard bop and even flirts with free music in some of its songs. Perhaps this "Black Fire" is more suitable to begin with Hill's music rather than his allegedly best albums, "Point of Departure" and "Judgement". Here he is backed by a kind of dream team, with Joe Henderson on tenor sax, playing it sensationally, in his usual way, the virtuous bassist Richard Davis, and the highly acclaimed drummer Roy Haynes, all of them leaders in their own bands. None of them are content within the limits of conventional hard bop and that is what makes "Black Fire" an outstanding classical record of modern Jazz. All of the themes, seven originals plus two alternate takes, are very good, so I highly recommend it. It is an essential and a must-have record. You can't go wrong buying it.
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