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Buck Hill: Relax (2006)

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Buck Hill: Relax How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Buck Hill brings back the fine taste of the organ combo with his quartet on Relax, interpreting standards and originals with the blues on his mind. Feelings run deep as tenor saxophone, organ and guitar alternate solo spots that run passionately through ballad territory and driving romps.

Hill first recorded in 1957. The Washington, DC native worked with Charlie Byrd, Shirley Horn, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. However, the need to have a steady income in order to raise a family forced him to put jazz performance on the back burner. He worked forty years as a postal employee, taught music on the side, and kept up his jazz chops with selected appearances.

As he approaches eighty, Hill continues to work the occasional gig. Relax proves that he hasn't lost a step: the tenor saxophonist's big, robust tone brings life to soulful ballads, rhythmic Latin dances and fierce romps.

Two Miles Davis tunes on the program stand out as expressive examples of jazz's legacy; Hill's quartet interprets each emotional mood with a fresh texture. He wails with heartfelt enthusiasm, playing soulfully and to the point, leaving no doubts about what he feels for the music. This recommended session brings an original voice to the forum while handing down time-honored jazz lessons for all.

Track Listing: R.H. Blues; Relax; Old Folks; Little Bossa; Flamenco Sketches; Pfrancing; Milestones; Sad Ones.

Personnel: Buck Hill: tenor saxophone; John Ozment: organ; Paul Pieper: guitar; Jerry Jones: drums.

Record Label: Severn Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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