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Pete Mills: Art and Architecture

Jim Santella By

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Straight-ahead jazz combines pleasant memories with fresh energy when it's created by a unit such as Pete Mills' quintet. His lovely tenor saxophone tone soothes while it cascades around the room. The session remains peaceful and quiet throughout. Mills stretches out on up-tempo romps and lays back casually for lyrical ballads.

With the pared-down backing of just bass and drums, he delivers "In Walked Bud" with a bounce. Careful to keep the tempo in the moderate range, he interprets this chestnut from the heart.

Lighter numbers, such as "Spin Dri" and "Dot Com" fly by much faster and give his audience a firestorm of ideas. The images run fast and furious, and cast their impressions right on the money.

Ballads such as "Chelsea Bridge" reveal the warmth in Mills' demeanor. Interpreted here as a lovely duet with guitarist Pete McCann, the piece stands out as would a magnificent painting, sculpture, or a work of architecture. The album's title, no doubt a reference to the visualizations that accompany mainstream jazz, applies firm lines and colors to the quintet's music.

Mills interprets his originals and three standards in different formats. Duos, trios, quartets and a quintet formula all work equally well. His best frame of reference, however, occurs when he teams up with guitarist McCann. Together, they drive with clarity, originality, and a fresh sound. Creative artists such as this need to be heard to be appreciated. Art and Architecture comes highly recommended.


Track Listing: Dot Com, Seven Shades of Blue, In Walked Bud, Spin Dri, Chelsea Bridge, April Tune, Pumpkin Shoes, Remembrances, Clubfoot, Isfahan

Personnel: Pete Mills--tenor saxophone; Pete McCann--guitar; Bobby Floyd--piano; Dennis Irwin--bass; Matt Wilson--drums

Title: Art and Architecture | Year Released: 2004


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