The modern jazz pianist/composer Andrew Hill came from a musical West Indian family in Chicago. A prodigy, he first played accordion, sang and tap-danced before he taking up piano. He studied with Earl Hines, Pat Patrick and German composer Paul Hindemith and as a teenager played clubs, backing artists like Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. He toured in Dinah Washington's band and settled in NYC in '61.
He worked with Johnny Hartman, Roland Kirk, Al Hibbler and others before a series of strikingly original and phenomenal recordings with the Blue Note label brought him acclaim from the musicians' scene. A rhythmic player with extended harmonic concepts, his classics Smoke Stack, Point Of Departure, Judgement, Andrew!!, Black Fire and Compulsion were all recorded in the mid '60s and show a progressive compositional approach and some great soloists (Eric Dolphy, John Gilmore, Tony Williams, Richard Davis and other bright lights helped realize these Hill compositions).
He contributed heavily to Bobby Hutcherson's classic Dialogue album and played on sides by Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley and others during this period. Later recordings were also excellent and included works for vocalists, big band, solo and trio. In fact, they have issued "lost" Hill recordings of great quality on several occasions long after the sessions were logged. He maintained a career as an educator and was able to pick his own projects for the remainder of his career. He died of lung cancer in 2007.