Trumpeter/flugelhornist Liam Sillery invites tenor saxophonist David Sills into the front line on this straightahead quintet outing for a sound reminiscent of Blue Note's heyday. The leader's musical mentors are Red Rodney, Ira Sullivan, and especially tenor man Joe Henderson. The influences show as the band opens with a lively Sillery original, "Minor Change," featuring some sparkling unison blowing to kick things off, leading into a freewheeling trumpet solo. Sillery's tone is warm and bright, and the rhythm section elevates the proceedings with a buoyant insistence. Then tenor saxophonist David Sills blows in, more intense than Sillery, smoldering, seemingly holding back a bit, sounding full of Blue Note-ish soul.
"For Jane" follows the opener. It's a midtempo beauty with, again, some fine soling, and the rhythm team -- pianist Jesse Stacken, bassist Thomas Morgan, and drummer Richard Huntley -- shines on an extended turn.
For those who grew up on the sixties mainstream sounds by the likes of Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, and a hundred other Blue Note artists, Sillery's approach sounds familiar yet fresh -- for example, the trumpeter trading solos with the tenor man, the bouncing rhythms. Sillery wrote all of the tunes except Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful" (made famous by Joe Cocker). His horn sounds a tad fragile here, achingly, and befittingly so. It's a beautiful tune, treated well by the band, with a pint-of-ale-in-the-hand, look-you-in-the-eye confessional feeling.
Sillery and the quintet finish up with "Dial D For Dial," a bright romp, with the rhythm team kicking things forward behind the trumpeter; and again, Sills comes in with a relatively restrained but still burning turn of his own.
A fine debut.