Andrew Hill’s records are full of unexpected and intricate harmonies, and the bigger the ensemble the more his writing rewards repeated listening. This song is the opening track on Passing Ships, his 1969 octet outing for Blue Note that remained inexplicably unreleased until 2003. The first time I heard this I had one of those moments where I was totally riveted, frozen to my seat by the waves of organized sound coming through my headphones. I had to play this track over and over again before I could bring myself to move on to the next one.
I learned this fun Frank Foster song for a gig recently. It was recorded 49 years ago this week, so I figured I’d share it with you.
A while back I featured another tune from this same Elvin Jones album.
Here’s an interesting one by Cecil McBee, from the same album as last week’s post. The bassist is in the driver’s seat as the band jumps back and forth between swing and Latin grooves.
Will Pan’s Walk
The tune seems tailor-made for a player like Woody Shaw, who takes the first energetic solo turn. I’m guessing that for recording purposes everyone in the band was supposed to play exactly three times through the form, because the composer starts and then abandons his bass solo when Roy Brooks goes in for a fourth chorus. On a normal night everyone would probably get free rein – even at nine minutes I feel like it could have gone longer. This song reminds me a little of Bennie Maupin’s “Something Like This” from Lee Morgan’s Live at the Lighthouse record.
Speaking of drummer Roy Brooks, here’s a song of his from an album of the same name.
The Free Slave