Andrew Hill “Black Fire” (1963)

Track Selection: “Black Fire” >


Joe Henderson (ts) Andrew Hill (p) Richard Davis (b) Roy Haynes (d ) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 9, 1963


Andrew Hill could be described as “Cecil Taylor Lite”, probably doing an injustice to both pianists. He is musically adventurous without falling off the edge into free, and the quartet is a long distance from free simultaneous group improvisation, rooted in rhythm and melody, allowing Hill scope to explore. He has a freer approach to chord progressions and melodic invention, without leaving them totally behind. Joe Henderson adds his customary rich tenor voice, keeping improvisation within familiar territory, but with a fresh attitude. A great combination.


4151 Andrew Hill’s “Black Fire” brings my total of these “Liberty hybrids” to seven. They all sound very good, and have cost considerably less than chasing originals which rarely come to market. Being mono, it complements my Stereo Japanese King pressing.

An  early Liberty re-issue probably made shortly after its aquisition of Blue Note in 1966,  original Blue Note New York labels, with VAN GELDER machine stamped in the runout (from the aquired Blue Note stampers) but  lack the telltale Plastylite “ear”, having been pressed at one of the Liberty national pressing plants. .  Most of these pressings sound very close to Blue Note originals, unlike the later Liberty pressings on “Division  of Liberty” labels, which became increasingly thin-sounding and dull.

There may be some significance in the matrix code bearing a “1” suffix, as in BN 4051  A –1” Usually, this means it’s taken from a second master acetate.

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