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Sam Dillon: Force Field

Dan Bilawsky By

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It doesn't take long to realize that Sam Dillon is on to something here. With drummer Anwar Marshall and bassist David Wong laying a grooving foundation on the opening title track, the tenor saxophonist sets off on a mighty chromatic quest. The lines, and what rumbles beneath them, set up an open playing field where pianist Theo Hill and Dillon himself freely and fiercely roam. The whole thing is said and done in less than five-and-a-half minutes, but it takes another five to catch your breath. "Dynamic" doesn't begin to describe it.

The music rolled out after that number only serves to reinforce what's already been stated: Sam Dillon is a force to be reckoned with. Whether riding high fronting a four-man horn section on Michael Dease's charged "Go For The Jugular," painting with tenderness on Lars Jansson's peaceable-turned-uplifting "Marionette," nodding to John Coltrane on the spirited "Resolution" contrafact "Hit It," or bopping his way through Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," he's completely in the zone. And so too are his colleagues. Hill's fluid mindset lends itself to every setting, Wong and Marshall are completely in sync, guest trumpeter Max Darché acts as a foil for Dillon, and the other part-time horns—Dease on trombone and Andrew Gould on alto—bring their A-game.

Dillon smartly shifts gears not only in style here, but also in configuration. Moving comfortably from fixed spaces to curious and capacious surroundings, and fronting everything from a piano-less trio on up to a well-rounded septet, he makes it known that his horn is a strong and sturdy presence. Force Field may only be Dillon's sophomore release, but it speaks to a mature musician and boundless spirit.

Track Listing: Force Field; Go For The Jugular; Straight Up And Down; Shift; Two Part Problem; Flight Of Mind; Hit It; Marionette; Dexterity.

Personnel: Sam Dillon: tenor saxophone; Max Darche: trumpet (2-4, 7); Andrew Gould: alto saxophone (2-4, 7); Michael Dease: trombone (2, 5); Theo Hill: piano, Rhodes (3, 6, 8); David Wong: bass; Anwar Marshall: drums.

Title: Force Field | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

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