David Sills: Bigs (2002)
Tenor sax man David Sills when he came to the stylistic crossroads, obviously took the fork marked Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Stan Getz instead of the one marked Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. This decision is reflected on his second release for the Naxos label. He is joined by a quartet of jazz veterans, Alan Broadbent, Larry Koonse, Darek Oles and Joe LaBarbera. Sills hasn't ignored all forms of modern jazz. Not in the least. "Waiting for Charlie" abounds with Monkisk figures. But there is no doubt that the full, lyrical horn demeanor is Sills' preference and why shouldn't it be as he has mastered the richness a tenor sax can provide. He applies this approach to a ten tune musical agenda with a nice balance of standards, originals written by him or one of his playing mates. One of the prime cuts on the set, "Who Can I Turn To?", capsulizes as much as any track, the Sills' way of caressing a ballad. Floating over Broadbent's comping piano, Sills expresses the melody with a slightly breathy tone, giving this warhorse a shot of artistic adrenalin along the way. Even on up tempo material such as "I Wanted to Say", Sills keeps his cool, literally and figuratively. Sills has mastered the technique of being able to swing without resorting to the raucous and unruly. Koonse's guitar adds to the calm, cool and collected flavor of this tune. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro", is one of the album's highlight tracks as Sills' sax goes beyond warm, moving toward sensuous. Once again, Koonse is strongly in the act and Oles' bass gets some solo space.
Bigs is a generous 70 plus minutes of high quality jazz music certainly to be appreciated by those who love the lyrical sax. Recommended.
Track Listing: Bigs; Shark-eez; Who Can I Turn To?; I Wanted to Say; Zingaro aka Portrait in Black and White; Grunions; Star Jasmine; Waiting for Charlie; I'm Glad There Is You; Mahindo
Personnel: David Sills - Tenor Sax; Larry Koonse - Guitar; Alan Broadbent - Piano; Darek Oles - Bass; Joe LaBarbera - Drums