In late March I did my very first #FirstListen on the album Point Of Departure by Andrew Hill. For this of you who didn’t read my Jazz Loop Update. #FirstListen is a new category on this blog where once a month I will listen to a classic jazz album I’ve never heard before and do a listening of the album from front to back and live tweet the experience. Later that week I will do a blog post about my thoughts and experiences listening to the album that first time as well as how I feel about the album after multiple listens. So without further ado here is the inaugural blog post on #FirstListen.
Listening to Andrew Hill’s “Point of Departure” was an overall good experience. However as a First Listen it was a lot to take in. I didn’t know much about Andrew Hill prior to this listen so I had no idea about what kind of sound to expect. All I knew going in was that people consider this a must listen to album. After listening to this album I can say it has a very “out” sound. This is not a traditional jazz album. I knew that the minute I heard Eric Dolphy play. The instrumentation is also odd or at the very least a wider range than the average jazz album. Here we have piano, tenor and alto sax, bass, drums, trumpet, and bass clarinet. With so many different combinations available the album was never predictable or boring. Here are my thoughts on the album during my first listen via my Twitter account, It is in reverse chronological order.
Now that I’ve been able to listen to Point Of Departure multiple times a lot of my confusion over form has been resolved. This is definitely an album where multiple listens are needed to enjoy it better. This was a challenging first listen due to the intricate song structure, and instrumentation. I had to be very focused and alert to capture everything that was going on and be able to have a cohesive thought on each track instantaneously. This may be the case for every #FirstListen I do, but since this is the first time I’ve done this, it is way too soon to tell. Overall I did enjoy this album and its first listen, but I feel multiple listening’s really helped me understand and appreciate this album better. I recommend this album as long as you enjoy some of the more out there jazz music. Enjoyed Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch. Then you’ll like this. If you hate that kind of jazz then proceed Point Of Departure with caution.