Recognition works on the same principle as justice. To delay it is to deny it, and for Andrew Hill, who died on April 20, it certainly came late. In the last six years of his career, Hill enjoyed a level of popularity and critical acclaim he hadn't experienced since a brief period in the early 1960s. His death came as a blow to many admirers, including, locally, Allen Youngblood and Ken Rose. 'It's a great loss,' says Rose. 'I was fortunate to hear him at Birdland a few years ago, just after Dusk was released, and with basically the same musicians that were on that. Quite an evening.' Dusk, released in 2001, was a recording comeback for Hill. He hadn't put out a disc in 10 years at that point, and it was widely regarded as a triumph. Downbeat voted it album of the year, and many other plaudits flowed in. Hill, who for some years had concentrated mostly on teaching, composing and solo performances, seemed rejuvenated as a bandleader, but lung cancer was waiting in the wings. Next month, Berklee College of Music will have to present his honorary doctorate of music posthumously. We should all be grateful for the second flowering of his talent, and indeed for the first, which also came a little late in the day. Hill was already 32 by the time he made his mark with 1963's Black Fire, and perhaps was self- conscious about this fact. He claimed back then to have been born in 1937 rather than 1931, which was the true date, and because of his Haitian ancestry and interest in Caribbean rhythms he was often said to have been born in Port-au-Prince, although he was born and raised in Chicago. Starting on accordion, he taught himself piano from the age of 10, turning professional at 21, and became an accomplished accompanist to singers, working with Dinah Washington, and Dakota Staton, who died 10 days before him. The experience of playing with Charlie Parker in 1954 was formative and he also worked in Chicago with Miles Davis and Coleman Hawkins. In 1960 he made it to New York, working with Washington and Roland Kirk who became major influences, along with German composer Paul Hindemith. Hill developed a quirky style very much his own (although often compared to Thelonious Monk's), which expressed both his classical leanings and his Caribbean heritage, while remaining unmistakably cutting-edge jazz of the period. He found a natural home at Blue Note, where the label's founder, Alfred Lion, became a devoted supporter, although Lion did him no favours by calling him 'the next Thelonious Monk'. In 1963, that was probably as helpful as calling a new singer-songwriter 'the next Bob Dylan' turned out to be 10 years later. Creatively, however, Blue Note was fertile territory. Remarkably, for a man who later shunned the studio for a decade, he recorded five albums' worth of music in less than a year, of which the strongest is probably Point of Departure, a classic that teamed him with Kenny Dorham, Joe Henderson, Eric Dolphy, Richard Davis and Tony Williams. The hard bop elements of those recordings were squarely in the Blue Note tradition, but they also included more avant-garde elements along the lines also being explored by Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra and others. Apropos Rose, this coming Saturday is the first of the month, and, after a short break, he's reviving his First Saturday residency at Visage, appearing this week on guitar as usual in the company of that fine and perpetually busy bassist Peter Scherr. 'The fifth of May will mark an anniversary of sorts - the beginning of the fifth year we've been doing the first Saturday at Visage,' says Rose. For those who haven't been before, Visage can be a bit of a challenge to find. It's located in the basement of 97 Hollywood Road, but the entrance is in an alley behind the building. The phone number is 2523 8988, and. if you get lost, some- body will help you. Admission is a modest HK$50, includes one drink, and the music starts about 10pm.