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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from an underappreciated master
Andrew Hill is one of the most innovative and enjoyablecomposers I've run across in jazz. Sadly, he has never enjoyed thelevel of success that his skills warrant. This album falls in the middle choronology of his classic recordings for the Blue Note label. While I'm personally partial to "Black Fire" and "Smokestack" this recording date is an absolute...
Published on May 26, 2000 by Tom Aiken

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12 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My ears are bleeding.
Ok, I like this kind of music - avant garde, free jazz. And this music is a great example of quality jazz. However, these Rudy Van Gelder recordings are highly overrated. The first track on this CD sounds like they stripped the bass out the mix and jacked up the treble. Your first response is to bolt out of the listening chair to turn down the volumn. How does a recording...
Published on September 21, 2005 by Manny Hauer


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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from an underappreciated master, May 26, 2000
By 
Tom Aiken (Southern California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
Andrew Hill is one of the most innovative and enjoyablecomposers I've run across in jazz. Sadly, he has never enjoyed thelevel of success that his skills warrant. This album falls in the middle choronology of his classic recordings for the Blue Note label. While I'm personally partial to "Black Fire" and "Smokestack" this recording date is an absolute classic and regarded by many as Hill's best. His supporting cast (Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, Richard Davis, Tony Williams) is seizure-inducing and they deliver. Especially Henderson, who is magnificent throughout. Hill's sessions fall somewhere between hard bop and the avant-garde. Hill's playing has an above-average influence of 20th century European classical music. His playing is dark, mysterious, and percussive yet consistently melodic. His bridging of bebop and avant-garde had a lot to do with his lack of recognition as neither camp wanted to claim him. Perhaps in this new millenium of genre-blending and revision Hill's sound can entice a wider audience.
If you've already heard this disc or other Andrew Hill and are looking for more, your best bet is to plunge into the comprehensive Andrew Hill limited edition boxed-set from Mosaic Records. I consider it to be my personal favorite jazz collection. END
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem, October 10, 1999
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
Andrew Hill is one of the great "unknows" of the jazz world. The album is beautifully remastered, as one would expect from Blue Note. This edition also contains 17 minutes of alternatiave takes. Hill, Eric Dolphy and Joe Henderson are in top form in this fine example of "free jazz" before that idiom degenerated into noise.A young Tony Williams and the relatively unknown Richard Davis are also in top form.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what jazz can be, November 18, 2002
By 
nadav haber (jerusalem Israel) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
There are many kinds of music, all legitimate and serving a purpose. What I love about jazz is its emphasis on creativity and originality. A jazz musician who simply learns the different styles and assembles enough licks to build "improvised" solos may sound good, bring positive feeling to his listeners, but does not utilize the chances jazz music affords him.
All of the musicians on this CD are capable of creative and original jazz. From the more "traditional" Durham to the always modern Dolphy, they are all willing to experiment and create.
Andrew Hill is a musician who is never willing to "go through the motions" of playing jazz. Joe Henderson alwyas sounds like himself, and Tony Williams...
This CD is true to its name. It is not a complete departure from tradition, and it is never content with staying inside the tradition. It is always on the point of departure from tradition, on the verge of new discoveries, new possibilites. These possibilities concern different "Song Structures", different modes and chord changes, different voicings of the instruments - all different yet connected to what existed before them.
It is a pity that 38 years after this music was recorded - it is still regarded as "inaccessible" by most people, and even within those who do listen to jazz, already a minority, there are many who have not opened their ears to what was new in 1964. What does it take to change that ?
Anyway, I recommend this cd...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dedication to greatness, January 12, 2001
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
It is a puzzle to me how a person can lead a group to the greatness contained on this cd and still be so widely underappreciated and underrated as is Andrew Hill. His compositions are enlightening, challenging, creative, and most of all, touching.

Right off the bat I give him a lot of credit for choosing this line-up. It's probably not a line-up I would have ever thought to put together but it works magically well. This group of men bring out every nuance and explore every crevice of Hill's brilliant compositions. I don't read the liner-notes to cds until after I have heard the cd several times, so as to make sure I am uninfluenced by anything other than my own ears. When I did read these liner-notes I was so struck by the part about the song, Dedication. Hill says that Kenny Dorham was moved to tears during its performance. As was I. To this day I feel a certain kinship with Kenny because of that. Dedication is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ballads in all of jazz history. It's a mystery to me why everyone hasn't played this tune.

The liner-notes claim that Dolphy is the star here, and as a huge Dolphy fan that's something I'd hardly ever disagree with, except for the fact that everyone else here plays so beautifully too. This cd isn't one man, it's a profound group effort. Listen to Kenny Dorham's exquisite tone in the early-middle section of Spectrum! Then listen to his yearning and quiet lamentation during Dedication. Dorham is no emotional lightweight. Davis and Williams are probably the only rhythmic tandem who could have pulled this off. They play in, out, and around the "time", exerting a rhythmic movement to these tunes that is quite unique. This is definitely not just a walking bass-line and a tap of the cymbals here. Hill's own playing ranges from modernist leads, to rhythmic counterpoint to the other soloists, all the while staying creative.

I guess the best way to describe this cd is as the sister cd to Dolphy's own cd, Out To Lunch. Very different from each other yes, but there is a similar feel at times. Like sisters, two different people with different qualities and tastes, but related just the same.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic. Please don't overlook the quality of this cd., May 4, 2000
By 
evenmoregeneric (Louisville, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
This is quite possibly my favorite jazz recording, so excuse me if I'm a bit hyperbolic. Nonetheless, this album not only contains some of the best arranged/written jazz I have ever heard, but the musicianship is impressive. Some of my favorite Dolphy solos are on this recording (I've found I like Dolphy more on other peoples stuff than on his own), the drumming is super-inspired and creative and absolutely everybody is more than up to the task at hand. In addition, this is one of the more varied albums, in terms of feel, keys, time signitures, whatever . . . and on that note my only complaint (and some won't agree with me here) is the addition of repetive takes. Without the redundant takes, this album also had an incredible gestalt effect when digested as a whole. Seriously though, I'm not sure why this album is so overlooked, but it is The Real Deal, and you're only denying yourself if you don't pick this disc up.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For experienced jazz listeners, absolutely sublime!, October 10, 2004
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
First off it's important to point out that this album is not for casual jazz audiences, or novices. It's for people who have listened to a lot of jazz, and know how it's progressed over the years from Dixieland to Free.

For those people, this album is an excellent, sublime piece of music that is almost like a suite of avant-garde. The compositions are all first rate, most notably New Monastery (a catchy, witty tribute to Monk) and Spectrum (which is a mini-suite in itself.) While the tunes are structured, the soloing is based on soloists playing around a tonal center, giving them much more harmonic freedom. With Andrew Hill, Richard Davis, and especially the spectacular Tony Williams comping, it also gives soloists a lot of rhythmic freedom too.

The personel is all first rate, with the slashing, pulsating alto sax of Eric Dolpy (along with some bass clarinet and a bit of flute) lined up with Kenny Dorham on trumpet, and the still-developing but already creative tenor saxophone of Joe Henderson. These three musicians all offer great counterpoints to each other, and Dolphy is in especially fine form, as all his solos, just about every measure, is brilliant and passionate. Dorham sounds a bit less comfortable to my ears (and I find myself wishing for Freddie Hubbard) but this is only a personal preference. Joe Henderson offers a more thoughtful approach than Dolphy's, but his solos give a kind of respectability and intelligence to the music.

Andrew Hill, though, is the man here. Not only is his comping and composing extraordinary, his solos are probing, biting, off-centered and ultimately brilliant. You can hear the influences of people like Monk transfigured into a piano style more suited for this kind of freebop kind of music, and you'll find yourself wishing he soloed for a lot longer.

As for Richard Davis and Tony Williams, all I can say is that these two are the embodiment of how a rhythm section should be in the 60's, able to play with the utmost freedom, and yet NEVER losing the beat. Davis I think is often forgotten in favor of bassists like Ron Carter, Scott La Faro, or Dave Holland, and while their musical prowess is undeniable, Davis is every bit the equal. And Tony Williams is a joy to listen to; passionate yet never overbearing, exciting yet never pretentious.

This music might strike some as hard to listen to, due to it's loose rhythms and slightly a-tonal sound. But close listeners will hear that these musicians know exactly what they are doing, and what they are doing is creating sublime music. For anyone who has listened to a lot of bebop, hardbop, cool, modal, and postbop and is ready to make the plunge into avant-garde, this is indispensable. 5 stars for compositions, 5 for Dolphy, Williams and Hill, and 5 for overall sound.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece that Justifies its Reputation, July 13, 2000
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
This is one of the most praised jazz recordings among jazz critics, and it more than justifies such high praise. Dense, complex, exciting, moving, this recording is all these and more. At first glance, Kenny Dorham would seem to be an odd choice for this music, but his contributions are fine, as are those of the rest of the stellar band. Most deserving of accolades besides Hill himself is Dolphy, who was on an incredible roll in the last year of his life.
This is NOT easy music - it demands involved listening, but such listening will bring great reward. Like any truly great music, this stands up to endless listening. I do not believe I will ever put this recording on the stereo without hearing something new and exciting. This CD is indispensable for serious jazz listeners.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced music in the modern World, March 21, 2005
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
Point of Departure is Andrew Hills greatest work, and one of bluenotesbest releases. The presence of the late be-bopper Kenny Dorham may seem odd but after you hear his smoking solo on "Refuge" you will not doubt that kenny could play almost anything. On alto sax and Bass Clarinet is Eric dolphy who was one hell of a musician. Dolphy would play stuff that no other player would dare to try. Joe Henderson who was dorhams running mate at the time and produced such albums as "Page One", is the tenor saxophonist on this date and although it doesn't list, he plays flute alongside dolphy for a part on "Spectrum". Hill of course on piano is as sparkling as ever. Hill was one man to develope his own playing and composing style that was somewhat incomparable. In many ways he reflected Monk and he was affected very much by him but then who wasn't. The only other pianist who could relate to monk and hills style without manipulating them was Mal Waldron. The driving force of a good rhythmn section is what is most inspiring to the soloist, Richard Davis and Tony Williams were the ideal musicians for this date. The opening track, "Refuge", is completely out of this world. Everyone plays like it's their last date and in Dolphy's situation it was his last date. The only man who seems somewhat to be covered in the shadow of his fellow players is Joe Henderson and even he is on fire. Davis's gritty pizzicato lines are tremendously effective alongside Tony Williams implied rhythmic drumming. Hills monk tribute, "New Monestary", has an intersting melody and although no-one really takes a solo everyone is in top form esp Dolphy. My Personal favorite is "Spectrum with a beautiful Bass clarinet solo from Eric. When I say beautiful, I don't exactly mean pretty but filled with feeling and love. Kenny Dorham plays with just Hill and Davis comping behind him, the feeling is awsome. "Flight" 19, as Mr. Hill said in the liner notes, sort of gives you the feeling of birds flying. The last piece is a ballad and is entitled "Dedication" which has been used quite a few times by other jazz musicians. "Point of Departure" is A great piece of music. Hills music was very advanced as was his predecessor monk. As monk would say "My music isn't ahead of my time, people are just 20 years behind me."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE!, March 25, 2005
By 
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
This is not just simply one of the best jazz CDs,but one of the greatest music statements in the 20th century.It's timeless.You can listen to it many times and each time it sounds fresh and gives you deep esthetic satisfaction of something fully and deeply accomplished.Don't be fooled after the first listening!The music will open itself after several listenings.Take your time and you will be rewarded.A true MASTERPIECE!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Result is the Judement of Nature, August 23, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Point of Departure (Audio CD)
Andrew Hill has developed one of the most distinctive and original voices on piano which he guages in a manner that is not be-bop nor free and yet, holding semblance to both schools. His melodic sense runs smooth and linear. His phrasing is sudden and punctuated by chordal spurts. His group accomidate him in surprising and delightful ways, Eric Dolphy (reeds) and Richard Davis (bass) stand out particularly well. This music contradicts itself constantly. Musicians that are capable of being this unconventional and at the same time, inoffensive are few. Andrew Hill is one of the few remaining pioneers in this music and we are blessed to still have him with us. It is difficult to imagine anyone not enjoying this recording.
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Point of Departure
Point of Departure by Andrew Hill (Audio CD - 1999)
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