Andrew Hill: One for One (1965-70) Blue Note/UA


Selection: One for One (Numark tt rip)

(Next week the laptop returns from the menders, and hopefully it is back to experiments with a direct feed from the big system, a more sound basis for some  new shoot-outs)



1965 sessions: Andrew Hill (piano)  Freddie Hubbard (cornet) Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone )  Richard Davis (bass) Joe Chambers (drums) recorded February 10, 1965 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

1969 sessions: Bennie Maupin (tenor saxophone, flute) Sanford Allen (violin) Al Brown, Selwart Clarke (viola) Kermit Moore (cello) Andrew Hill (piano) Ron Carter (bass) Mickey Roker (drums)  August 1, 1969 Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

1970 sessions: Andrew Hill (Piano)  Bennie Maupin (tenor, flute & bass clarinet)  Pat Patrick (alto, flute & baritone saxophone) Charles Tolliver (trumpet)  Ben Riley – not Freddy Waits as listed – (drums) 16 & 23 January 1970, Rudy Van Gelder Studio  Englewood Cliffs, N.J.


Hill’s  compositions are highly original and rewarding, and the choice of  musicians for these sessions is just perfect for such intelligent music. In addition to Joe Henderson and Charles Tolliver,  Pat Patrick drops in from the planet Saturn, Bennie Maupin – prior to his stint with electric Miles and Hancock’s Headhunters –  brings in a favourite instrument, the bass clarinet along with flute (Dolphy!), all enhancing the tonal textures around Andrew Hill’s unique ventures in rhythmic and harmonic complexity. He shifts from Hancock percussiveness to melodic airy flights of abstraction, but they are ensemble pieces not just Hill solo showcases. The rhythm section is on a mission, and Andrew Hill is firmly grounded, and personally I think at his best.

Initially I had reservations about Hill’s use of a string quartet – usually an ill-advised pretention to classical music – but as Hill’s strength is in unfamiliar melody and adventurous harmony, it works here quite well in its own way, more as another tonal layer rather than a full-blown classical outing.

Leonard Feathers liner notes capture Hill’s summation (in 1975):

“The music sounds as fresh as anything that is happening today. In fact, in my opinion, it sounds fresher.”

I think that still holds good forty years later.

Vinyl: United Artists BN-LA 459 H2

Blue /white b “Reissue Series” misnomer. In the past I reckoned these as poor audio quality,  but this one upsets all my predictions, great recording. If the recording engineer gets it right in the first place, as long as no-one mucks it up subsequently, chances are you will have a fine listening experience at the other end.

Bright in-the-room presence, no top-end rolloff, drums and symbols slap you, and intelligent stereo placement, this is a collection of excellent vinyl presentations of outstanding music that excite, and stand out from the crowd.

No runout-engravings of any interest, except the  “UA” on every disk.



Hill-sides-3-4- Hill-sides-1-2

Liner Notes (continue inside the gatefold)



Collectors Corner

It’s a Schmidt! The eponymous connoisseur collector, whose records all carry his stylised signature/logo at the foot of the back cover.


Keeping a watching eye on some of the ebay auctions: its always interesting to see how the bidding unfolds and the story it tells, more interesting than the price itself. Here’s a couple that finished  last week that caught my eye.

The Newbie

You would have to have a heart of stone not to feel a twinge of sympathy for this newbie, little feet running as fast as they can to keep up with the blue train for over three hours, to no avail.

Coltrane-Blue-Train-newbie-20-bids-and-losesFor some reason, this picture came to mind:


It’s not the taking part, it’s not how much effort you put in, its not what you desperately want or really deserve. It’s simply about how much money you put on the table. The big guy takes it..

The mid-air collision

An unexpected outcome of a different kind occurred also the other week, when two XXXL snipers bumped into each other playing the same game. Ouch!! It only works when the second-place price-setter is someone sensible. That has turned out to be one very expensive Hutcherson LP.


Free entertainment.


35 thoughts on “Andrew Hill: One for One (1965-70) Blue Note/UA

  1. Thanks for this and all the ongoing, thoughtful impressions. Fortuitous posting for me because I’ve had the MM Point of Departure and Judgement! in heavy rotation and been lamenting what I thought was the lack of any vinyl issue of the string quartet stuff, which was on the Mosaic Select CD set, and which creates such one-of-a-kind musical landscapes. Fine, non-partisan music talk here, as always –

      • No worries, glad I discovered your blog.

        btw, these ‘reissue series’ were a godsend in the mid ’70’s for a young kid in the States hungry for music. Most of the legacy BN catalog was out of print.

        The T-Bone Walker 2-fer is incredible-complete imperial sessions, I think.

  2. I’ve just been given three more of these – nice friends! – and have worked my way through two of them. Freddie Hubbard’ s ‘Here To Stay’ and Horace Silver ‘Trios’ they both sound fantastic. Nice heavy-ish, clean sounding vinyl and well mastered. Maybe a touch bright for some, but just right to may ears.

  3. These Blue note two-fers have amazing music. My Two-Fer Sam Rivers doesn’t sound too good but the music is stellar. I just picked up one of my all time Favorite- Jackie Mclean Hipnosis. What a Cut!!! If you don’t like Jazz after listening to that something is wrong.

  4. Booker Ervin’s “Back from the gig” is really wonderful. Can’t get enough of the “Home is Africa” track.
    Another stand out Blue Note reissue two-fer is Jackie Mclean’s Hipnosis (with the great Grachan Moncur on trombone!)…..

    • Yeah, I’ve really rediscovered the two-fer series. The Booker Ervin is (as someone pointed out), a Horace Parlan session. It sounds stunning, as it should with RVG on the desk.

      The Art Pepper two-fer arrived yesterday – sounds a heck of a lot better than the Japanese reissues of the Intro originals.

      Mclean’s Hipgnosis is another classic van Gelder session that didn’t make it to Blue Note first time ’round.

      I reckon there are at least a dozen two-fers that are absolutely collection essentials.

        • Hipnosis is also available in a 180gm repress from Heavenly Sweetness — very good indeed. The same label is also reissuing the slightly later SOME OTHER STUFF, although I haven’t seen a copy yet.

          • Have 2 LPs on Heavenly Sweetness – Joe Henderson ‘In & Out’ & Bobby Hutcherson ‘Stick Up’, good albums but the audio reproduction seems to lack some punch & separation. Don’t have any other pressings to compare (& i don’t assume that LJC is gonna deal with them here) so i stopped there. I’m sure they are better than the average Scorpio pressing & the vinyl is really nice & clean but with the rest of their releases (always nice titles i must say) i prefer to wait till an older pressing comes along.

  5. Superb choice and a stand-out track — but I even love the cuts with the string quartet. Sadly, I no longer have this. The copy I had was a wretched pressing and I decided not to keep it. I stupidly thought another would turn up in a matter of months, perhaps even weeks…and of course, I haven’t seen it since. The pressing (and sound) quality of these beige twofers is so damned variable, it’s such a shame because some of the music is treasurable.

      • Thanks Dean — yes, I do have the Mosaic box but never play it. For one thing, I never did like the sound of the CD — it always sounded a bit thin to me — but in addition, I don’t currently have a CD player, never remember to listen to it on my iPod, don’t have a way of using my iPod with my stereo and rarely if ever listen to music on my Mac.

        Somehow, what digitised music I have seems never to be in the same place as me… I shall end up buying a better pressing of the two-fee when next I see it instead…

  6. Another re-issue 2-fer to look for is Art Pepper – Early Art. It reissues (a) Jazz West 10 – Art Pepper Quintet; and (b) Intro 606 – Art Pepper Quartet. Both holy grails, impossibly expensive. It appears UA acquired these (which were both reissued by Score, I believe), and repackaged them.

    • Sorry, obviously the title (not just the artist) of Jazz West 10 is The Return of Art Pepper; and the title of Intro 606 is Modern Art.

      • I have “Modern Art” ILP606 on both a King and a Toshiba pressing. Do I need a third copy I ask myself? Just to get the other half of a two-fer, not so attractive. As well you came back as I was on the verge of ordering one online.

        • I would rather have the Japanese pressings. But it’s not a bad two-fer for those who have neither. I’m lucky to have a Score pressing of The Return. Great record.

  7. Nice one LJC, the track selection sounds great & always nice to discover a good album which doesn’t cost an arm & a leg.

    Love the series of unreleased Blue Notes, some real treasures there. My favorites are :

    Blue Mitchell – Step Lightly
    Andrew Hill – Dance With Death
    Wayne Shorter – Etcetera
    Hank Mobley – A Slice Of The Top
    Bobby Hutcherson – Spiral / Patterns
    Grant Green – Solid
    Also the double LP sets from Lee Morgan & Jackie Mclean

    Sound quality isn’t always great (some releases seriously lack bass) but the first 3 albums on my list sound very decent & are some of the best releases from these artists, hard to understand why they weren’t released in real time…

    • The two-fer Reissue Series are sonically all pretty good, but the “Liberty/United” LT Series from 1979/80, can be sonically very muddled and messy. I played Mobley A Slice Of the Top this afternoon briefly and it came off the tt fairly sharply. Quite unpleasant. I recall the Hill Dance with Death being nice but hifi memory isn’t necessarily reliable, all relative to what else you were listening to at the time you last played it.

      • Yep, Slice Of the Top sounds pretty bad…had a copy few years back which i got rid of. A while ago i was checking some Mobley on youtube when at work & listened to few tracks from it which were really nice, couldn’t understand why i let go of my copy until i got another copy & gave it a spin…anyway musically it’s a brilliant album, now i just put my EQ unit to use every time i listen to it. There might be a good pressing of it, maybe the Connoisseur, maybe only on CD, who knows.

        Listening to the Lee Morgan Procrastinator two-fer while i type, fantastic music & good sound quality. Nice !

  8. Love that Bobby record but that sure is pricey. The seller must be happy about that one.

    Thanks for posting this- I’ve been meaning to get my hands on this one. I have the Jackie Mclean and Sam Rivers ‘reissue series’, and I find the music is great but the sound quality lacking. Good to heat this one sounds better.

    As a blue note collector on a budget, I think you have to get into these and also the LT series. I find that a lot of the LT series stand with many classics (Donald Byrd-Chant, Art Blakey-Africaine, Wayne Shorter-The Soothsayer, to name a few), sound pretty good, and cost next to nothing. Also, because they were only pressed in ’79 or ’80- I’m not left dreaming of a better pressing as I am with many of my 1500 and 4000 series.

    Anyhow, there’s my rant. Keep up the good work.

    • Rant is therapeutic, rant away. The LT series is something I think I will have a closer look at, in particular the Three Hail Mobley’s. Acquired them some years ago, and they too haven’t been out for a spin in a good few years. I’m curious myself how they hold up in the light of current listening.

  9. I love this album, and pleased to see you agree on the sound quality. I love the strings in Illusions, one of my favourite Hill tracks.

    • I’m off to listen to it right now.
      UPDATE: I’ve listened – first time in couple of years, lots up hifi upgrades in between time, now it sounds stunning. Or maybe it always did and the hifi is now better able to reveal it.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head with your point that if the original was recorded well nearer the time of release, the re-issue series pressing is not too bad. For actually re-issued LPs (like the Live Messengers set), the pressing pales in comparison to the original. But for first-time-ever-issued, they’re not too bad.

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