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David Sills: Blue's the New Green

Dan McClenaghan By

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Saxophonist David Sills opens his Blue's the New Green with tenor sax titan Sonny Rollins' tune, "No Moe." But Sills doesn't use Rollins' musculature or his burly tone. He rolls more in the mode of sax men Joe Henderson or Stan Getz—or, to take it back further, Coleman Hawkins or Ben Webster, with a smooth, vibrato-less delivery.

Sills is steeped in the tradition of those who came before him, without being mired there. As in previous outings, Eastern View (Origin records, 2004) and Green (Origin records, 2007), the saxophonist leads a crack band, with the extra textures of a piano/guitar pairing. Guitarist Larry Koonse has been a mainstay in Sills' recordings. He and pianist Chris Dawson intertwine their clean lines on Sills original, "The Highline," with veteran bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jake Reed laying down the loose groove.

The Great American Songbook tune "'Tis Autumn" gives the band the chance to work beautifully in the ballad mode, sounding a bit retro; while Sills' "Justin Dime" cranks things into a modern roll. Sill's plays flute on his "Portofino Night," a tune that sounds cool and Bossa Nova-sish, with Dawason supplying a delicate keyboard touch to Koonse's warm acoustic guitar, before the band pushes again into a mdoern lean with the stylish "Night Flower," another Sill's penned gem.

Sills always blows with a lot of soul, and the title tune is no exception. His solo here has a precise logic, and his tone and serpentine phrases bring saxophonist George Coleman to mind, while "I'm a Fool to Want You," from the American songbook, brings in the wee hours, melancholy beauty of a saxophone blowing pure blue notes over a subtle backing.

Blue's the New Green is another beautiful addition to saxophonist David Sill's consistently outstanding discography.

Track Listing: No Moe; The Highline; 'Tis Autumn; Justin's Dime; Portofino Night; Night flower; Blue's the New Green; I'm a Fool to Want You; Belmont Shores; Blues in Ten.

Personnel: David Sills: saxophone, flute; Larry Koonse: guitar; Chris Dawson: pianoDarek Oles: bass; Jake Reed: drums.

Title: Blue's the New Green | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Gut String Records

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