David Sills

Down The Line


MUSIC REVIEW BY Bill Falconer, Jazz Review


Every Now And Then I Happen Upon A CD By A Player With A Strong Local Reputation, Who Deserves To Be Heard More, And Heard Of More, In The Rest Of The World. This Is One Of Those Times. The Musician Is David Sills Who Couples A Getz-like Tenor Sound With A Knack For Writing Engaging Melodies. Down The Line Is His Second Release As A Leader And For Origin. His LA-based Quintet Is Drawn From The Best In The West And Includes Gary Foster On Alto, Guitarist Larry Koonse, And Alan Broadbent On Piano. Putter Smith On Bass And Drummer Tom Pleasant Round Out The Rhythm Section. Foster, A Fine Alto Player And A Veteran Of The Studios, Is An Equal Front-line Partner Throughout. RnrnThe Session Is Creative And Cool, Any Way You Wish To Define That Term. The Group Is Very Much Together, And The Program Is A Well-selected Mix Of Originals And Standards. In His Languid And Thoughtful Solo On "Never Let Me Go" Sills Displays His Affinity For Melody Even As He Moves Away From The Original. Broadbent's Comping Is Sympathetic And His Solos Exquisite As You Might Expect. Koonse Is Eloquent On Jobim's " If You Never Come To Me" While Sam Rivers' Lightly Swinging "Beatrice" Give The Bass And Drums A Chance To Shine. Sills Displays His Agility On Flute While The Band Lays Down A Groove On "Bag's Groove" That Would Have The Composer Nodding In Appreciation. "Harlequin," A Wistful Contribution By Koonse, Shows Him To Be As Fine A Writer As He Is A Player While Broadbent's "Time Line" Bops Right Along. RnrnThe Five Sills' Originals Demonstrate His Versatility And The Empathy Between Him And Foster Whether Playing Off One Another Or Playing As One. This Is Particularly True Of "Cuttin' Back," Which Builds On A Strong Bass Figure, And The Bopper, "It's All You," With Its Contrapuntal Sax Duet. The Title Cut Frees The Group To Romp Through Those "Rhythm" Changes. Beautiful Interplay On The Soulful "Slow Joe" (Sills And Broadbent) And The Latin-tinged "Eastern View" (Sills And Koonse). RnrnSolid Musicianship Without Showboating. I Hope That The Quintet Stays Intact And That Down The Line And This Review Help David Sills Get The Recognition He Deserves.'),
(405, 'Upper Left Trio', NULL, 'Sell Your Soul Side', 'FoJazz', 'Forrest Dylan Bryant', '82454', 'Portland, Oregon's Upper Left Trio Tends To Get Described As A Less Bombastic Cousin Of The Bad Plus (or Sweden's E.S.T. Without The Electronics). It Doesn't Take Long To Hear Why. Like Those Overtly Pop-influenced Trios, There's A Sturdy Thrust And A Confident Swagger To Upper Left's Music, Moving From The Drums Outward, That References Modern Rock While Holding Its Ground Firmly In The Jazz Camp. RnrnBut There's More Going On Here. In Sell Your Soul Side, The Trio's Second Album For Origin, The Aggression Is Tempered By That Contemplative Air That Seems To Define Jazz From The Pacific Northwest. There Are No Nirvana Covers On This Album, But You Will Find A Joni Mitchell Tune. Of The Remaining Eight Tracks, Five Were Written By Pianist Clay Giberson And The Rest By Bassist Jeff Leonard. All Are Lyrical And Inventive. None Are Duds.rnrnThe Title Track Begins With A Restless, Churning Beat From Drummer Charlie Doggett, Then Acquires A Dark Tone As Giberson Works Through A Dramatic Riff. Leonard Is Conversational And Rounds Off The Rough Edges As The Piece Settles Into A Quiet Space, Only To Build Up Tension Like A Tea Kettle. When The Trio Breaks Through In Stomping Release, The Listener Is Swept Along. "She Casts No Shadow" Creates A Similar Effect, As A Midtempo Ballad Gradually Builds An Unstoppable Head Of Steam.rnrnMore Relaxed Numbers Such As "This Is Where I Find Peace" And "Reason To Change" Also Work Well, Revealing The Trio's Careful Interplay While Still Carrying Enough Propulsive Flow To Keep Things From Growing Dull. And "Not To Decide" Is Balanced: The Tune Crests, Swoops And Spins Like A Carnival Ride, Yet Sounds Thoughtful Rather Than Wild.rnrnUpper Left Trio Deserves To Be Heard On Its Own Terms, Rather Than In The Context Of Better-known Groups. The Band Can Hold Its Own, And There's A Lot To Like.





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