When Blue Note released Andrew Hill's label debut Black Fire in March 1964, the jazz community immediately recognized a fresh new voice as bold and distinctive as Thelonious Monk or Herbie Nichols. For the next six years, Hill applied his singular compositional skills to a variety of settings from trio to nonet, even incorporating quartets with string quartets and quintets with six-voice choirs.
So much of Andrew's prime Blue Note recordings had depended on and been written for the interaction of empathetic improvisers, that his first solo recordings Hommage and Live At Montreux, both from 1975, came as a surprise to even his most die-hard fans. Those experiences whetted his appetite for more.
Living in a small Bay Area bedroom community, he began playing a lot of solo concerts at Arts Centers up and down the West Coast. In August and October 1978, he made three trips to the Fantasy Recording Studio in Berkeley for lengthy solo piano sessions. Two extended pieces were issued on the Artists House LP From California With Love. That album quickly became a collector's item when the label folded. Meanwhile over two hours of solo piano music by Andrew remained in the can until Mosaic discovered the session tapes in Hawaii. Now the complete sessions are gathered in this Select.
Hearing a great pianist/composer in solo setting is like eavesdropping on the thought processes of a restless, creative mind. Unfettered by other instruments and input, the artist is free to go wherever his inner logic and imagination take him. Like Thelonious Monk and Randy Weston among others, Andrew Hill's most revealing and fascinating creations are often those made alone at a piano.