About this Recording
86070-2 - SILLS, David: Bigs
English 

If word has not reached you about the impressive attributes of LA tenor saxophonist David Sills, this recording should hasten the delivery. Bigs - Sills' follow-up to his confident Naxos Jazz debut Journey Together - is a firm declaration of his West Coast big tone and poised articulation.

With the hand-picked brilliant foursome of pianist Alan Broadbent, guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Joe LaBarbera assisting, Sills demonstrates an alluring full-bodied sound and a dexterous ability to adapt to different contexts. A rising star on the LA jazz scene, Sills is a unique composite of Stan Getz, Joe Henderson and Warne Marsh, able to embrace traditions without mimicking any styles. On Bigs, he mixes standards and originals as easily as he blends with his heavyweight sidemen. But with that rich, smooth tone, it's never any doubt who's front and center as the leader.

The Manhattan Beach, California-native has a degree in Classical Saxophone from California State University Long Beach. One listen though and it's obvious he learned just as much absorbing the records of Getz, Hank Mobley and Sonny Rollins. Studying with alto master Gary Foster, Sills was exposed to and came to expand his awareness of innovators like Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and Marsh.

As a recording artist, he made his Naxos Jazz debut in 1998. A member of the Acoustic Jazz Quartet as well, Sills appeared on their Naxos Jazz self-titled CD. He is fast becoming a tenor name to be reckoned with. A regular traveler to the Far East, Sills has headlined at jazz venues in Hong Kong, Thailand and even in Vietnam. He is also managed by sax great Stan Getz' son, Steve.

Having the same exceptional quartet on his first CD return speaks volumes of the respect Sills is earning among the legitimate jazz scene in Los Angeles. Alan Broadbent is a multi-award winning pianist/arranger whose notable career milestones include the Woody Herman Orchestra, singer Irene Kral and Charlie Haden's Quartet West. Bassist Darek Oles is a faculty member of Cal Institute of the Arts and a member of the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet. He has also worked with Charles Lloyd, James Newton and Brad Melhdau. As the West Coast's most underrated musician, guitarist Larry Koonse is a colleague of Oles both as a teacher at Cal Arts and a member of the LAJQ. Drummer Joe LaBarbera is among the first choice for drum accompaniment for many artists.

More than just playing, the ensemble contributes with several compositions too. Two tunes, 'Waiting For Charlie' and 'Mahindo,' are written by Broadbent, while Koonse pens the non-standard harmonics of 'Star Jasmine.' Meanwhile, Sills reveals his own versatility with three tracks 'Bigs,' 'Shark-eez' and 'Grunions' each revealing a different side to himself. The rest are of the set include uncommon numbers such as the Anthony Newley ballad 'Who Can I Turn To?' and the Antonio-Carlos Jobim shuffler 'Zingaro.'

As a horn player, David Sills is not a loquacious saxophonist. But he knows exactly what he wishes to play and he expresses it in an articulate, disciplined and substantial fashion. Making it sound easy with a straight-ahead swing set that is bold and bright, as the title suggests, Sills is BIGS!


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