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David Sills: Blue's the New Green (2013)

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David Sills: Blue's the New Green How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Saxophonist David Sills
David Sills
David Sills

saxophone
opens his Blue's the New Green with tenor sax titan Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
' tune, "No Moe." But Sills doesn't use Rollins' musculature or his burly tone. He rolls more in the mode of sax men Joe Henderson or Stan Getz—or, to take it back further, Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
1904 - 1969
sax, tenor
or Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
, with a smooth, vibrato-less delivery.

Sills is steeped in the tradition of those who came before him, without being mired there. As in previous outings, Eastern View (Origin records, 2004) and Green (Origin records, 2007), the saxophonist leads a crack band, with the extra textures of a piano/guitar pairing. Guitarist Larry Koonse has been a mainstay in Sills' recordings. He and pianist Chris Dawson intertwine their clean lines on Sills original, "The Highline," with veteran bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jake Reed laying down the loose groove.

The Great American Songbook tune "'Tis Autumn" gives the band the chance to work beautifully in the ballad mode, sounding a bit retro; while Sills' "Justin Dime" cranks things into a modern roll. Sill's plays flute on his "Portofino Night," a tune that sounds cool and Bossa Nova-sish, with Dawason supplying a delicate keyboard touch to Koonse's warm acoustic guitar, before the band pushes again into a mdoern lean with the stylish "Night Flower," another Sill's penned gem.

Sills always blows with a lot of soul, and the title tune is no exception. His solo here has a precise logic, and his tone and serpentine phrases bring saxophonist George Coleman
George Coleman
George Coleman
b.1935
sax, tenor
to mind, while "I'm a Fool to Want You," from the American songbook, brings in the wee hours, melancholy beauty of a saxophone blowing pure blue notes over a subtle backing.

Blue's the New Green is another beautiful addition to saxophonist David Sill's consistently outstanding discography.

Track Listing: No Moe; The Highline; 'Tis Autumn; Justin's Dime; Portofino Night; Night flower; Blue's the New Green; I'm a Fool to Want You; Belmont Shores; Blues in Ten.

Personnel: David Sills: saxophone, flute; Larry Koonse: guitar; Chris Dawson: pianoDarek Oles: bass; Jake Reed: drums.

Record Label: Gut String Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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