Liam Sillery invited David Sills
to join him on his excellent debut from last year, Minor Changes
(OA2). This time out, on his second set as a leader, the New York-based trumpeter/flugelhornist hooks up with the Los Angeles-based player's working quartet: Sills (tenor sax), Joe Bagg (organ), Larry Koonse (guitar) and Tim Pleasant (drums). The two front-line players split the composing chores; four tunes come from Sillery's pen and four more from Sills, along with a classic cover tune, "Ceora," from the late trumpeter and Blue Note artist Lee Morgan.
The words "Blue Note" are key here. As on Minor Changes
, On the Fly
is steeped in the mainstream traditionthe Joe Henderson/Hank Mobley sound, a quintet with two horns in front. The main different this time out is that Sillery and Sills are working in front of an organ trio, giving the grooves a more airy and buoyant feeling, a smoother and cooler flow.
The set is a great argument for working with a working group. There's an easy rolling sympatico to the music, a lubricated, clicked-into-the-groove feeling often missing in "thrown together band" studio recordings. At times Sillery and Sills seemingly read each other's minds.
There's no sophomore jinx lurking around here. This top-level set is full of strong compositions and vibrant musicianship, putting some modern juice and a bunch of inspired soloing into the straight-ahead mode. And Joe Bagg's organ workfor example, his briskly succinct turn on Sillery's "Neptune"is classic stuff.
Personnel: Liam Sillery: trumpet and flugelhorn; David Sills: tenor saxphone; Joe Bagg: organ; Larry
Koonse: guitar; Tim Pleasant: drums.