Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ailing jazz veteran Hill records new album

Jazz veteran Andrew Hill is not letting lung cancer slow him down.

The 68-year-old pianist/composer has just released a new album, "Time Lines," which marks the beginning of his third go-round with Blue Note Records.

"I don't believe in a hope chest of music," says Hill. "This is all new music that I've written over the last couple years, so none of it is old-fashioned or outdated."

In fact, if Hill had revisited music from his classic Blue Note period (1963-66), it would be deemed advanced harmonically and rhythmically. Case in point: his 1964 album, "Point of Departure," a landmark recording that is still considered ahead of its time.

Hill also recorded two discs for Blue Note in '89-'90, which to him means "going full circle" career-wise. As for being off the radar screen for much of his 40-plus years as a leader, he waxes philosophically: "I don't feel overlooked. I feel like I've been supported. I love the music, and that's enough in itself."

Regarding his cancer, which is currently in remission, Hill says that he has had to "adapt to living with a terminal illness." As a result, he says, "Right now, I'm focusing on quality, not quantity."

Dan Ouellette

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