Interstellar Adventures (Posi-Tone Records)

Theo Hill

Released May, 2018

DownBeat Four-and-a-Half-Star Review




Pianist Theo Hill breaks orbit and embarks on a new mission with his latest release titled “Interstellar Adventures.” The musical program covers a wide spectrum of styles and sounds when Hill’s brilliant original compositions and arrangements are presented with the able assistance of his new acoustic/electric trio featuring bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Rudy Royston. Many listeners may already be familiar with Hill from his earlier work and will enjoy following him as he accelerates full speed ahead to navigate steadily away from the known and familiar into the uncharted depths of modern collective improvisation. With an amazing collection of talents and performances full of bright moments, jazz fans everywhere will swing with intense delight as Theo Hill soars to new heights with “Interstellar Adventures.”

Track Listing:

1. Interstellar Adventures 05:21

2. Black Comedy 04:13

3. Retrograde 04:54

4. Cyclic Episode 03:43

5. The Comet 05:48

6. Gyre 06:37

7. Thorn of a White Rose 04:25

8. Revelations 05:43

9. For Those Who Do 06:08

10. Enchanted Forest 03:37


Theo Hill: acoustic, electric piano

Rashaan Carter: acoustic, electric bass

Rudy Royston: drums

Recorded September 20, 2017 at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY

Producer: Marc Free

Engineer: Nick O’Toole

Assistant Engineer: Michael Brorby

Photography by Tomas Esquivel

Package design by Jamie Brunson


Several critics have cited pianist Theo Hill as a rising star, and in one way that’s apropos given Interstellar Adventures being the title of his latest release, his second on the Posi-Tone label. But “rising” needs to be updated nowadays, and even more so after this trio date with bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Rudy Royston. The songs on Interstellar Adventures, particularly “Cyclic Episode” (a Sam Rivers tune off the 1965 album Fuchsia Swing Song) and “Gyre,” fall comfortably between Hill’s impressionistic collages of sound, often delivered with a bell-like sonority, and the unrelenting furious passages that can leave a listener breathless. On “The Comet,” Hill’s trio reaches the launching pad and soars into space with Royston at the throttle. The ensemble’s clearly in orbit on “Retrograde,” and Carter’s bass has a pulsing oscillation that surfaces again with good notice on “For Those Who Do.” On these occasions, Hill is content to let his cohort apply the groove, while he teases out scintillating fragments, before presenting longer, more invigorating portraits from one end of the keyboard to the other. There’s an inviting warmth to his ballads, although the arrival of a steadily propulsive left-hand is more than welcome. On “Revelations” and “Enchanted Forest,” the bandleader evokes a celeste tonality (or is that celestial), and it’s clear that the rising star has fully ascended. There currently is much talk about Afrofuturism, mostly generated by the box office smash Black Panther, and Hill’s cosmic flights might be the film’s musical counterpart.

Herb Boyd (DownBeat)