The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of POINT OF DEPARTURE includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal.
Personnel: Andrew Hill (piano); Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet); Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone); Kenny Dorham (trumpet); Richard Davis (bass); Tony Williams (drums).
Producer: Alfred Lion.
Reissue producer: Michael Cuscuna.
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on March 21, 1964. Originally released on Blue Note (4167). Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.
Digitally remastered using 24-bit resolution by Rudy Van Gelder (1998, Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey).
This is part of Blue Note Records "Rudy Van Gelder" Editions series.
Trying to describe Andrew Hill's POINT OF DEPARTURE in words is like trying to explain the pictures made by a kaleidoscope--it's impossible to be completely articulate about something so magically unique. Of course, with an assembled cast that includes Kenny Dorham, Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Richard Davis, and Tony Williams all in their creative prime, Hill would have been hard-pressed not to come up with a masterpiece of these proportions. The result is, indeed, a record that is a beacon of the New Thing movement, which was coming to the foreground in the early '60s.
From oddly swinging cuts like "New Monastery" to the intricately mesmerizing "Flight 19," Hill proves to be a both a pianist and composer of incomparable range as he and his legendary sidemen explore the furthest reaches of group improvisation. The churning waltz "Refuge" offers intense ensemble passages that constantly shift colors and textures as Williams drives the group with hurricane-like waves of cymbals. The closing ballad, "Dedication," is a beautifully esoteric piece that, like the kaleidoscope, must be experienced to truly capture its true nature. For most, this will be a DEPARTURE that will take listeners on an indescribable journey.
Q (9/99, p.132) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "...[Hill] created his own brooding, pulsing, abstract style. There's some miraculous playing on this 1964 date, and Rudy Van Gelder's remastering allows it all to shine through..."