A native of Toronto Canada, critics have called saxophonist Pete Mills' playing "virtuosic" and "gorgeous" and "versatile tenor-kick-butt" (David Franklin, JazzTimes) and the Columbus Dispatch writes of Mills' compositions as being "impressive with solos that are ear opening...with a tone that is big and rich". Based in Columbus OH, he performs throughout the US and Canada. Recent engagements have included the Blue Wisp Cincinnati, OH; the Erie (PA) Jazz Society; the Cleveland Bop Stop; the Rex in Toronto; Wright State University and Kenyon College. Pete's performances at jazz festivals include those at the Columbus Jazz Festival the Newark (Ohio) Jazz and Ribfest and at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. Pete is a member of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of trumpeter, Byron Stripling.
Mills' discography includes two releases on Summit Records, Fresh Spin and Art and Architecture. Fresh Spin, which features B3 organist Tony Monaco) and guitarist Pete McCann, received and enthusiastic 3½ stars in Downbeat magazine. Art and Architecture, also with McCann, drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Dennis Irwin, was given 4 stars in All Music Guide, and received airplay on the MTV networks. Both Summit releases spent weeks on the JazzWeek top 50 radio charts. His first solo release was the critically acclaimed, Momentum (COJAZZ Records). As a sideman he appears on over a dozen CDs including those by guitarist Stan Smith, saxophonist Chad Eby, the eclectic ensemble Madrugada, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.
Active as an educator, Mills judges festivals and presents workshops on improvisation, ensemble skills and practice techniques at colleges and high schools including the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of New Mexico, Brandon (Manitoba, Canada) Jazz Festival, Ohio Music Educator's Association Conference, Columbus Youth Jazz Ensemble, The Ohio State University, Ashland University and Ohio Wesleyan University.
Pete holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of North Texas. Mills has received Jazz Performance Grants from the Canada Council and was a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composer's Fellowship. His teachers have included Pat LaBarbera, Ray Ricker, Jim Riggs, and Walt Weiskopf. He currently teaches jazz studies at Denison University, having formerly taught at The Ohio State University, Kenyon College and East Carolina University.