Ron Horton – A Prayer for Andrew – Newvelle Records

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Jazz CD Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Honoring a deserving jazz genius, Andrew Hill…

Ron Horton – A Prayer for Andrew – Newvelle Records #NV035 – Two 180 gm vinyls – 2016 – ****

(Ron Horton – trumpet, flugelhorn; Marty Ehrlich – alto sax, bass clarinet on “Prayer for Andrew,” “Dusk,” “ML,” “15-8,” “Tough Love,” Belleza #1″ – John O’Gallagher – alto sax on all other tracks; Marc Mommaas – tenor sax; Frank Kimbrough – piano; Dean Johnson – bass; Tim Horner – drums)

It often takes the efforts of fellow noted jazz musicians to sing the praises of unsung jazz heroes, who fall under the radar screen of the general public’s interest. The true jazz aficionados recognize their greatness, but it can take their passing, before we realize what true geniuses were among us.

That is the case with the jazz pianist, Andrew Hill (1931-2007). Andrew recorded a dozen albums for Blue Note Records between 1963-1970. He also served as a sideman for many albums during the heyday of that label. However, after the 60s he only played his own compositions as a leader, and served as an educator, having run the jazz program at Portland State University from 1989-1996. Hill then relocated to the East Coast, playing in the New York area until 2007, with limited recordings under his own name.

His compositions are often complex, and his work found more acceptance in Europe and Japan. Stateside, he had devotees such as trumpeter, Ron Horton, and pianist, Frank Kimbrough, who pored over his work and transcribed his compositions. Ron and Frank were part of Andrew’s sextets for five years (1998-2003), and they also explored the work together of another unsung, piano great, Herbie Nichols.

The boutique jazz label, Newvelle Records, is now releasing a pristine 180 gm two LP set, Prayer for Andrew, led by Ron Horton, recorded in June and July, 2016, in Brooklyn. Along with Horton and Kimbrough (we tragically lost Frank in 2020), it features a sextet including either Marty Ehrlich or John O’Gallagher on alto sax; Marc Mommaas on tenor sax; Dean Johnson on bass; and Tim Horner on drums. Ehrlich also is featured on bass clarinet on several of his numbers. The group re-imagines seven Hill compositions, and has six Horton written tracks, inspired by Andrew. 

The mixture of sublime beauty and “out-there” avant jazz, as epitomized by Hill’s own output is readily on display. Whether it’s the brief reverential title track, or the idyllic “Home,” with Horton’s clarion call flugelhorn, meeting the rugged Horton penned “Hill Country,” or the complex “15-8,” the unpredictable nature of Andrew Hill is explored. “Erato,” gives most of the sextet room for some solo time

There is lots of great horn blending, Marty Ehrlich’s bass clarinet features (Belleza #1, “ML”), and Frank Kimbrough’s piano choruses to appreciate.

 And Ron Horton’s high register trumpet tone on “Tough Love” is brilliant. 

Andrew Hill was the first jazz musician to receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music. In this loving tribute, with the requisite exemplary supplied acoustics from Newvelle Records, its time for jazz vinyl fans to have the opportunity to re-examine the genius of pianist and composer, Andrew Hill.

—Jeff Krow

A Prayer for Andrew

A Prayer for Andrew
Venture Inward

Hill Country


Tough Love
Belleza #1

More information through Newvelle Records

Album Cover for Ron Horton - A Prayer for Andrew

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