2

Bill Hollis: Best of Bill Hollis

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Hollis: Best of Bill Hollis Songwriter and pianist William Odell (Bill) Hollis passed away three years ago leaving behind a legacy of 175 original tunes. Best of Bill Hollis on the Blujazz label collects eight of these from two different sessions from 1983 and 1985. The former is recorded with a trio in Bristol, Pennsylvania and the latter with a quartet in Manahawkin, New Jersey.

A suave musician, Hollis plays with deceptively simple elegance making each note count. The unabashedly romantic "Love Will Bloom" for example is built upon effervescent trio refrains and vamps. His percussive chords delightfully embellish the melody while tastefully eschewing syrupiness. "Lovers Again," on the other hand, is a gently undulating ballad as Hollis' shimmering piano lines contrast with the dark rumble of bass and drums. This track and the playful, sparkling "Jennifer My Love" also feature his smooth, buttery baritone singing (he also penned the lyrics).

The full breadth of Hollis' pianism, however, is best heard on "Passionate Moon" that starts with a classically influenced unaccompanied nocturne and evolves into a loosely swinging blues with beautifully flowing arpeggios and soulful ostinato patterns. Bassist Sam Tart takes a lyrical solo with drummer Lindy Ewell's intricate brush work in support.

Tart's earthy bass work marks the toe tapping trio workout "St Francis," while his conversational lines adorn the Latin-esque "Deshazor" as saxophonist Ellsworth Gooding's gritty and ardent tenor plays the theme with fervor and intensity. Known for his work on guitarist Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones's final album Sweetback (Luv N' Haight, 1975) Gooding lets his spirited thick tone bounce off Hollis' cascade of notes, Tart's dulcet string work and Ewell's reserved and agile beats on the vivacious ballad "All About Faye." On the funky, R&B- ish "LaTonya," meanwhile, he adopts a more laid back, lounge sound.

This enjoyable and refreshing compilation sheds much deserved attention on an unjustly obscured master musician. Although the pieces are short on improvisational rigor and do not demand a high level of intellectual engagement, they are, nevertheless, quite charming and entertaining even after several spins.

Track Listing: All About Faye; Jennifer My Love; Deshazor; Sir Francis; La Tonya; Love Will Bloom; Lovers Again; Passionate Moon.

Personnel: Bill Hollis: piano; Sam Tart: bass; Lindy Ewell: drums; Ellsworth Gooding: tenor saxophone.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Blujazz Productions


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "What Do I Miss" CD/LP/Track Review What Do I Miss
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Innri" CD/LP/Track Review Innri
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by Doug Collette
Published: January 28, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!