Switzerland doesn’t produce many musical acts compared to other European countries, but the ones that do emerge are always of the highest quality. The Great Harry Hillman is a quartet from Lucerne, a lakeside city in the center of the country. About the name: Harry Hillman was an American athlete who won three gold medals at the 1904 Summer Olympics. That the hurdler Harry Hillman deserved his own band became apparent when exactly 105 years later The Great Harry Hillman came into being. Performing a sort of undefinable post-jazz which represents the jazz and creative music of today, we all feel quite that Harry Hillman would be pleased.
The Great Harry Hillman’s music combines jazz, rock, and improv into a subdued, layered, yet thrilling sound that will appeal to fans of bands like Radian or Tortoise, as well as modern jazz artists like Mary Halvorson.
The Great Harry Hillman thinks of itself as a collective, with nobody dominating the creative process and everyone making their voice heard. "We have music from all four bandmembers on the album," say the musicians, who speak as one. "Everyone brings tunes, fragments, et cetera, and we finalize every song together. Everything is a collective decision at the end." This philosophy has helped them to create a sound like no one else, one that has gradually mutated over time while retaining its essence. "Although we all have different backgrounds and work in different genres, it is very important that we are always open to any kind of influences from each of us. We wanted every song to have it's own strong mood," they say. "It was not the idea to feature extended solos, but to feature a strong sound as a band."
The album also has a strong live feel; while the sounds are electronically manipulated at times, this is music made by four men in a room. Indeed. Tilt is a quiet but powerful album by four thoughtful musicians who are more than capable of rocking out when they feel like it, but would more often than not rather wrap the listener in delicately constructed sonic webs of indefinable beauty. There are no gold medals in music (unless gold records count), but The Great Harry Hillman deserve a spot on the artistic podium for sure.
And speaking of artistic podium, Tilt comes in a specially band-designed and put together package, which is quite splendidly wonderful!
Tilt press release
The Great Harry Hillman's 2017 Press Kit