It's fitting that trumpeter Liam Sillery chose to close this program with Lee Morgan's "Ceora," since the parallels drawn between the two stand out so distinctly. He steers this New York/Los Angeles quintet through his crisp and clean sophomore recording project with all elements in place. Swing, groove, cohesiveness, technical mastery and improvisation show up from all parties concerned.
While the program is original, the quintet's sound isn't. Sillery brings back the classic Blue Note sound of the 1960s -- but in this case, we get our dose of originality from the new compositions, not some in-your-face gimmick or emotional squeal. Here, the trumpeter and his band simply paint beautiful, refreshing landscapes that keep the old flame alive.
Sillery's "Two Time Blues" provides an unexpected twist. Uptempo and filled with energy, the piece allows for personal expression by the leader/trumpeter, who carries the torch. Organist Joe Bagg, guitarist Larry Koonse, saxophonist David Sills and drummer Tim Pleasant, all established veterans of jazz's mainstream, contribute creative solo spots that drive with spirit.
Sills' "Mai Lien" brings a fresh, exotic quintet discussion to this effort, where the trumpeter and his musical partners combine for a lovely adventure. Not overly dramatic, this piece and the rest of the session find the right balance. By combining some of our best jazz memories with new and original material, Sillery's On the Fly takes off with the right stuff.