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Identifier: MC 080

Andrew Hill papers, music and audiovisual recordings


  • 1956-2011

Scope and Content Note

The Andrew Hill papers, music, and audiovisual recordings contain material spanning the period of 1956-2011, with an emphasis on the years 1996-2007. The collection consists of professional and personal papers, music, digital media, and audiovisual recordings. The professional papers document Hill’s career as a performer, recording artist, bandleader, educator, and composer via clippings, promotional material, photographs, artwork, correspondence, concert and festival programs, contracts, grant applications, royalty statements, set lists, awards and citations, notes, and legal documents. Music holdings include printed and manuscript original and photocopied scores, lead sheets, instrument parts, and sketches of original Andrew Hill compositions, along with a small amount of music by other composers. Many pieces are incomplete and/or untitled. Digital media contains music compositions, photographs, email correspondence, and notes. Audiovisual recordings include audio and video recordings that document concert performances, broadcast interviews, promotional films, and studio recording sessions. Personal papers contain photographs, obituary notices, and various materials related to his home and family.


21 Linear Feet (28 boxes)

Language of Materials

This collection is primarily in English


The collection includes music, clippings, programs, correspondence, photographs, legal documents, promotional materials, awards, digital media, artwork and realia documenting the professional and personal life of jazz pianist and composer Andrew Hill.

Biographical Note

Andrew Hill (1931-2007) was a jazz pianist, composer, and educator. Hill was born to Hattie and William Robert Hill, Sr. on June 30, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. By age seven, Hill was playing the accordion, tap dancing, and singing outside the nightclubs and theaters in his neighborhood, and began playing piano when he was ten. Hill attended Wendell Phillips High School and the University of Chicago Laboratory School, during which time he studied composition with classical composer and music theorist Paul Hindemith. Hill began gigging in 1952, and in the summer of 1953, when he was only 16 years old, he accompanied alto saxophonist Charlie Parker at the Greystone Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan. Hill also played with Miles Davis and Johnny Griffin in local clubs while still a teenager. Hill was playing R&B, blues, and bebop piano with musicians Von Freeman, Malachi Favors, and Wilbur Ware in Chicago by the early 1950s. Hill’s recording debut was in 1954 on the Vee Jay label with a quintet under bassist Dave Shipp’s name. So In Love, Hill’s debut album, was recorded in Chicago in 1956, and featured two original compositions alongside a selection of standards.

He moved to New York in 1961 to become Dinah Washington’s accompanist, but moved temporarily to Los Angeles in 1962 to work with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. In 1963, Hill married organist Laverne Gillette, returned to New York City, and was signed to the Blue Note Record label by its founder, Alfred Lyons who referred to Hill as “his last great protégé.” Lyons recorded him between 1963 and 1970. Hill’s Blue Note albums such as Black Fire, Compulsion, Smokestack, Judgment!, and Andrew!!! established his reputation as a jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader. At Blue Note, Hill collaborated with artists such as Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, John Gilmore, Roy Haynes, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvin Jones, Sam Rivers, Richard Davis, Tony Williams, and Reggie Workman. Hill also recorded occasionally as a sideman with Henderson, Hutcherson, Kirk, Walt Dickerson, Hank Mobley, and Jimmy Woods. Hill’s 1964 recording Point of Departure remains an influential jazz title from this time period.

Hill left New York City for Hamilton, New York, accepting a two-year position as Composer in Residence at Colgate University. In 1977 Hill and Laverne moved to California, where he gave solo piano concerts, conducted workshops, and taught in California prisons as well as in public schools with emotionally troubled students. Hill occasionally toured and recorded for independent labels such as Arista-Freedom, East Wind, Artists House, Black Saint, and Soul Note.

Following Laverne’s death in 1989, Hill moved to Portland, Oregon and served as a tenure-track associate professor of music at Portland State University. Here he helped found the successful Summer Jazz Intensive program. While in Portland, Hill met his future wife, Joanne Robinson, a dancer and educator. They married in 1992 and moved back to the New York City area in 1996.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Hill began recording and performing more actively, touring internationally and releasing a trio of acclaimed albums: Dusk (the 2001 Downbeat Critics Poll Album of the Year), A Beautiful Day, and Time Lines. During this period Hill was honored with the JAZZPAR Prize in 2003 and The Jazz Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Hill was named Composer of the Year in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006 by the Jazz Journalists Association, and was awarded the Jazz Journalists Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Other accolades include induction into the DownBeat Hall of Fame in 2007, the Playboy Jazz Artist of the Year in 2006, Winner of DownBeat Critics Poll Jazz in 2000 and 2001. Hill was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004 but continued to perform and record until a month before his death. Hill passed away on April 20, 2007 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was posthumously awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Berklee College of Music, and was named a 2008 NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arrangement Note

The Andrew Hill papers, music and audiovisual recordings are arranged in five series.

  1. Professional papers and awards, 1961-2011
  2. Music, 1956-2006
  3. Digital media, 2000-2006
  4. Audiovisual recordings, 1962-2005
  5. Personal papers, artwork, and realia, 1972-2007

Related Material

The Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) holds the currently unprocessed audio collection (music and interviews) of Michael Cuscuna, who produced and annotated a number of new and reissued Andrew Hill albums for the Blue Note and Mosaic labels. The IJS Library also holds many Andrew Hill recordings.

Processing Note

This collection was processed during the 2016 Jazz Archives Fellowship Program at the Institute of Jazz Studies, Dana Library, Rutgers University – Newark by fellows Veronica Johnson, Brad San Martin, and Treshani Perera, IJS intern Max Dienemann and staff members Tad Hershorn, Angela Lawrence, and Elizabeth Surles.

Guide to the Andrew Hill papers, music and audiovisual recordings, 1956-2011
Edited Full Draft
Angela Lawrence, Tad Hershorn, Elizabeth Surles, Treshani Perera, Brad San Martin, Veronica Johnson, and Max Dienemann
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Part of the Institute of Jazz Studies Repository

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John Cotton Dana Library
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