Jazz fans who go regularly to jazz clubs such as Spazio will recognize the names of the musicians on this CD: tenor-saxophonist David Sills, guitarist Larry Koonse, organist Joe Bagg and drummer Tim Pleasant. Each of the musicians are fixtures in the Los Angeles area yet surprisingly the ten originals written by Sills for this CD were composed during a two-year period when he earning his Masters degree at the Manhattan School of Music.
Some of the songs are based on the chord changes of standards including "New Break"
("Impressions"), "Deep Sleep" ("You Stepped Out Of A Dream") and "Stoned Eyes" (a thinly-disguised "Star Eyes"). Other tunes use more original chord changes and all have fresh melodies. Possibly the most likable number, and one that could become a standard if it were widely heard, is "Keys Found."
While one can connect Sills (who sometimes plays with Gary Foster) slightly to Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano, in reality he has his own sound and approach to chordal improvisation. The same can be said of Joe Bagg, who has long escaped from the potentially dominant influence of Jimmy Smith, and the cool-toned and harmonically-advanced guitarist Larry Koonse. With Tim Pleasant giving the group solid and stimulating support, the modern straightahead jazz band has its own identity, with the musicians inspiring each other with their presence and spontaneous ideas. This combination works quite well.
Eastern View is recommended and available from www.origin-records.com.