"Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi" ("Madrigals Warlike and Amorous") is how Claudio Monteverdi titled his eighth and largest book of madrigals–which was actually two volumes in one. The "warlike madrigals" (concerned largely with the "war of love") feature the "agitated style" Monteverdi pioneered: quick, almost nervous writing, lots of rapidly repeated notes, and more syllables than a Gilbert & Sullivan patter song. These works culminate in the famous short quasi-opera Il Combattimento de Tancredi e Clorinda. The "amorous madrigals" are no less ardent, but they are less, well, warlike–that is, more leisurely paced, with plenty of chromaticism, dissonant suspensions, and giddily virtuosic runs to depict the pain and excitement of love.
After four years mostly off of records, the innovative pianist/composer Andrew Hill re-emerged for this Freedom set, which has since been reissued on CD. The program is split between quintet numbers with altoist Lee Konitz (who doubles on soprano) and trumpeter Ted Curson, and quartet performances that showcase the somewhat forgotten altoist Robin Kenyatta. In addition, "Invitation," the one Hill nonoriginal, is taken as a spontaneous duet with Konitz.
This release includes two rare sessions led by West Montgomery in 1963 and 1965. The first date was recorded in New York on November 1963 and features the solid drumming of Montgomery's long-time contemporary Grady Tate as well as the tasteful playing of pianist Billy Taylor. The group is rounded out by bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Grady Tate with a special guest appearance by jazz vocal giant Joe Williams. An excellent studio date. The second group of tunes was recorded live during his triumphal European tour in the spring of 1965, with a completely different lineup. The four titles include the participation of the exceptional guest star, Clark Terry on trumpet, with accompaniment by a local rhythm section. A must have for all Wes Montgomery fans. Includes booklet with comprehensive liner notes.