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Compulsion Original recording remastered

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, March 20, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000NA28AW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,779 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on April 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I agree with most everything in Paul's review and appreciated his suggestion of the comparison between this CD and the Cecil Taylor's Blue Notes. I have been playing Compulsion and Unit Structures on spiral for a day or two now to study the differences. I thank Paul for that. It has been a bit of an education

First off, a few facts: this session was recorded on Oct.8th, 1965 (about six months before Taylor's Unit Structures). The personnel were Hill on piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn, John Gilmore on tenor and bass clarinet (on Limbo), Cecil McBee on bass and Joe Chambers on the drums. To this quintet was added Nadi Qamar on African drums and percussion and Renaud Simmons on congas and percussion. Richard Davis plays bass only on Premonition.

Qamar and Simmons are on every song and they basically provide a dense polyrhythmic background for the core quintet. Their presence on this CD is essential. Hill's music is full of complex meters and counter rhythm. On no other CD of his is this so evident because Simmons, Qamar, McBee and Chambers are providing it all so clearly. This results in many solos where say Gilmore is working with one of the rhythms and Hill is weirdly comping behind him in another rhythm. When I listen to CDs like this or Taylor's from this period I start to wonder how much influence they had on musician/theorists like Steve Coleman.

The soli of Hill, Hubbard, Gilmore and Chambers are brilliant throughout. Hubbard always amazes me when I hear his playing from his period. As I grew up, I knew of Hubbard mostly from his CTI dates (I still love and recommend Straight Life). But his playing in the early and mid-1960s is so powerful. And listen to his ballad skills on the beginning of Premonition. The man was a trumpet god.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Kauffmann on June 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Much has been said about the musical qualities of this album, but I feel like the cultural side of it has been ignored, and considering that the latter informs the former, I thought I might go about offering my two cents on the issue.

Compulsion is by far one of Andrew Hill's more difficult albums. More than just a percussion-heavy blowing session, Compulsion is a concept album with a definite statement to make not only about music, but the culture it belongs to, and the culture it creates. Hill did not set out to create an album to demonstrate that the piano is a percussion instrument, though he uses it as such--it had been done years before him, lessons he learned and absorbed as he endeavored to create an album that displayed the "African kinds of rhythms... field cries... [that are] the basic roots of jazz."

The above quote (and all others) comes from the liner notes for Compulsion, which are excellently written, and in which Andrew Hill is particularly revealing concerning the compositional intent of each song. It seems to be that the only way one can not like this album (aside from just despising music) would be to ignore Hill's own words.

Each track, and the album as a whole, has deep cultural resonance for Hill. "Compulsion" draws on polyrhythmic African percussion as the musicians fluctuate between conversations with one another and statements of their own, drawing a sketch of the creative process, and the compelling need to identify oneself even if it is nothing more than an erratic, improvised screech. "Legacy" is even more indebted to African rhythms, specifically summoning the African past of the African-American experience and drawing it consciously into music.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Greene Jr. on March 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I just got my copy today, so I have only been able to listen to it once thus far, but my initial impressions are very favorable. Hill's compositions have a very percussion heavy African influence, due in part to the presence of percussionists Nadi Qamar and Renaud Simmons. This is perhaps Hill's most exploratory and challenging outing during the 60s, reminiscent in some ways of Cecil Taylor's pair of 1966 Blue Note albums, Unit Structures and Conquistador. Hill's core quintet consists of several mainstays of his 60s recording sessions, including Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Joe Chambers on drums and bassist Richard Davis (on one track only). Oh, and did I mention John Gilmore on tenor sax and bass clarinet? Hardcore Hill fans will not be dissapointed, though if you're looking for an entry point into his work, I would suggest starting with something like Black Fire; be sure that you've at least got a good grasp on Point of Departure before you try this one out.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Lloyd on April 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a remarkable set of compositions, perfomed exquisitely by top notch musicians. It is far and away Hill's finest recording. I first bought it on vinyl in 1977 and was astonished at its virtuosity. The opening piece alone is a landmark in the history of jazz. Never has a piano been played to such percussive intensity. You may make reference to Don Pullen, Dave Burrell, Takashi Kako, Sun Ra, and Cecil Taylor, but Andrew Hill's playing on Compulsion goes beyond all of them, a unique accomplishment. If Hill never recorded anything but the title composition alone, he would still be a jazz legend. What is even more amazing is the performance of the other musicians. This is Freddy Hubbard's finest hour, believe it or not. He does not remain inside traditional jazz but rather explores its outer regions in a lengthy, burning solo on the title cut. Joe Chambers drives all the musicians along with his expressive snare. And John Gilmore, surprisingly, is the most bright and subdued of all, though he adds the necessary depth. Those familiar with Hill will note the continuing influence of classical composer Paul Hindemith, but this album transcends in epic form any constrictive musical boundaries. Hill's blocking, angular, tone clustering approach is mesmerizing, alarming, yet subtle still. At the offered price, this is probably the best bargain in jazz. It's a CD that is not to be missed.
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