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An analysis of selected improvisations by Andrew Hill and the development of progressive jazz piano, 1959-2005

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Title: An analysis of selected improvisations by Andrew Hill and the development of progressive jazz piano, 1959-2005
Author(s): Reyman, Christopher E.
Director of Research: Stephen, John C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Stephen, John C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Lund, Erik; Solis, Gabriel; Carrillo, Tito
Department / Program: Music
Discipline: Music
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: A.Mus.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Andrew Hill Jazz Piano Pianist Composer
Abstract: Pianist and composer Andrew Hill (1931-2007) made significant contributions to the jazz idiom during the nearly fifty years he recorded, however his compositions and improvisational style have yet to be explored in great depth. His unique style, filled with rhythmic irregularities, harmonic dissonance and abrupt shifts in mood, developed out of the conventions of hard bop. By the time Hill led his second recording session in 1963 (his first for Blue Note), his playing had developed more fully with the incorporation of a freer approach to melody, harmony and rhythm. His compositions often maintain form and make use of traditional chord symbols, but harmonic and rhythmic “looseness” adds a degree of complexity and discontinuity, which may in part account for Hill’s relative obscurity. In 2000, he began receiving numerous awards for his playing and composing from Down Beat, Jazz Journalist and other publications. The main purpose of this study is the presentation of seven previously unpublished transcriptions of Hill’s improvised solos spanning 1959 to 2005. In addition, this paper will provide a biography of Andrew Hill’s early life and recording career and will present several previously unpublished compositions by Hill. For this study, I conducted interview with several of his former collaborators: trumpeters Ron Horton and Charles Tolliver, multi-reedist Greg Tardy and bassist Scott Colley. This contribution, I hope, will help to increase Hill’s prominence as a significant jazz figure and shed some light on this underrepresented artist.
Issue Date: 2011-08-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Christopher E. Reyman
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-25
Date Deposited: 2011-08

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