Read about Sweet Shadow...
Dan McClenaghan from Allaboutjazz.com
A lot of words have clicked out of the keyboards concerning the possible demise of the compact disc. Maybe CDs will suffer the extinction, maybe not. But one thing is sure: saxophonist Pete Mills' Sweet Shadow is an excellent argument for the survival of the species.
On his fourth release as a leader, Mills has gathered a crack quintet to navigate labyrinths of ten of his modern-bop compositions, along with the Ellington/Strayhorn tune, "The Star-Crossed Lovers," Rolland Kirk's "Serenade to a Cuckoo," and a seemingly odd pick that works to perfection, the standard "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."
Mill's opens the disc with his "Shiner," a rousing ride down an open highway, at ninety miles per hour. Mills, with his smooth delivery sizzling along to deliver the a craggy melody, brings the late sax man Joe Henderson, on his classic Blue Note albums, to mind. Or sometimes George Coleman with the fluidity of his lines. Guitarist Pete McCann and pianist Erik Augis supply a rhythmic weave behind the horn, and ubiquitous drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Martin Wind are relentlessly propulsive on this vivacious, modern-leaning tune. Read More
Jordan Richardson from Something Else Reviews
Toronto native, saxophonist Pete Mills takes to his debut on Cellar Live Records with polish and swing. Together with Pete McCann (guitars), Erik Augis (piano), Martin Wind (bass), and Matt Wilson (drums), he puts together a record that is both traditional and exuberantly modern. Sweet Shadow features an impressive line-up of 14 tracks, nine of which are originals and two of which are free-form duos.
Mills finds himself walking a fresh path through a genre that is often inhabited by the shadows of past greats, but rather than bemoaning the situation he embraces it. The "sweetness" found in the history of jazz and the many titans who crafted and elevated the art form is found in his compositions and in his playing. Read More
Remarkably subtle and unobtrusive, Sweet Shadow is an expansive look at one of the finest tenor players working out of Ohio with some of the finest talent out of the Big Apple. Pop sensibilities, free form explorations and hard bop oriented grooves push Sweet Shadow to the front of the pack for new releases for 2014. The accompanying 4tet of Matt Wilson on drums, guitarist Pete McCann, bassist Martin Wind and new pianist Erik Augis make this quintet a formidable harmonic force to be reckoned with. Read More...
Working with the inimitable safety net of Matt Wilson and Pete McCann, this rising tenor ace can't do anything but play with a light shining on the future and with total fearlessness. A fine example of old man jazz played for today's aging children who will keep a session like this on their memory sticks for years to come, this is moving and grooving stuff with that special something that will satisfy moldy figs while bringing new kids into the tent. High octane throughout, this is loaded with the kind of moves that make you say things like "I haven't heard playing like this since Getz". Yeah, it's that good, check it out. Read More...
a jazz listener's thoughts
Mills plays tenor sax and has rounded up a nice group: Pete McCann on guitars, Martin Wind on bass, Matt Wilson on drums, all of whom I know, and a newcomer who is a standout on piano, Erik Augis. Together they create a feeling of old time hard bop/post bop as they spin through twelve songs, most by Mills, who writes in a classic style reminiscent of classic Blue Note sessions of the 50s and early 60s. Plus there are two short duos of free ranging music with Mills on tenor and Wilson on the drum set. A lot to like, including special arrangements for two classics, "Serenade to a Cuckoo" and "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend." I think lovers of the mainstream will find a lot to like here. Read More...
BeBop Spoken Here
Jazz is a never ending voyage of discovery. You become complacent, blasé the old ennui takes over - you've heard it all before and then - Flash! Bang! Alakazam! Pete Mills segues by! From Canada, Toronto of all places. Toronto I ask you? Then you think back and recall that one of the greatest jazz concerts ever took place at Massey Hall in that very city. Bird, Diz, Bud, Mingus, Roach back in 1953. An autograph collected by Mills' father at that concert is reproduced among the album notes and it becomes obvious that the son has jazz genes inherited from his papa.
But, although the past has clearly channelled the talented tenorist in the right direction this is no mere attempt at a nostalgic update. This is today without jettisoning yesterday. Read More...
A word for the clarity of the presentation in the lay-out here firstly, a much under-appreciated virtue. And in what must be a fairly rare inclusion in album artwork past or present there's a sghting of Bird's signature, ″in pencil”, as Mills captions in parenthesis, from the Massey Hall concert taken from an autograph book left to Mills by his dad. The unfussy way Vancouver label Cellar Live go about the business of putting out this record, their first, draws to mind the look of Criss Cross Jazz albums a bit, and for that matter as a record, Sweet Shadow is musically germane to Gerry Teekens’ approach. A quintet affair recorded in New Jersey at the beginning of 2013 led by tenor saxophonist Mills Sweet Shadow is mostly a showcase for his swinging and bluesy hard bop-grounded compositions. Included also are Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Serenade to a Cuckoo’; ‘The Star Crossed Lovers’ , covered successfully a lot in a range of 2013 releases; and the Jule Styne/Leo Robin song practically synonymous with Marilyn Monroe, ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, a cheesier choice in theory but not so much in execution. Mills, joined by guitarist Pete McCann, pianist Erik Augis, bassist Martin Wind, and drummer Matt Wilson, deliver in their old fashioned joyful way a vintage sound lovingly lacquered and honed. Sit back and let it wash it all over you. Read More...
Read about Fresh Spin...
Mills new release, Fresh Spin,
is the follow up to the saxophonist’s
critically acclaimed 2004 Summit Records
debut, Art and Architecture (4
Stars, All Music Guide). Featuring
Tony Monaco on the B3 organ,
Fresh Spin is released on Monaco’s
Summit imprint, Chicken Coup Records. It
also includes the exceptional guitar work
of NYC based Pete McCann,
drummer Jim Rupp and bassist
Andy Woodson. Eleven compositions
fill this high energy groove and bop-based
recording, including a little known Horace
Silver composition Diggin’ on
Dexter and Billy Strayhorn’s
haunting ballad A Flower is a Lovesome
Thing. Organ marvel Tony Monaco fires
up the B3 on this recording, the first to
showcase his talents since 2005’s
East to West (top 5 JazzWeek Radio
Downbeat Magazine gives Fresh Spin 3½ Stars Read
"...tenor man Mills and B3 Burner Tony Monaco lay down the law in this thoroughly entertaining set." Read
All Music Review
Tenor saxophonist Pete Mills
and organist Tony Monaco make
for a very potent musical team throughout
Fresh Spin. Although the instrumentation
is that of a 1960s soul-jazz organ group,
the music, other than two standards ("A
Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," a tenor
guitar duet, and guitarist Pete McCann's
"Cooked Cheese") is comprised
of Mills' orginals. Read
Brimming with the essence of good cheer, Mills and crew communicate a distinct sense of musical merriment during the entirety of this impacting and irrefutably entertaining jaunt. Read
Fresh Spin covers much territory and, defying expectations, goes beyond a survey of traditional tenor sax classic recordings, like “Body and Soul” or “Moody’s Mood for Love,” and instead reshapes the music to reflect Pete Mills’ own talent and personality. And like his previous album, Art and Architecture, Fresh Spin reaffirms the fact that much jazz talent remains to be discovered outside of New York City and on some of the more specialized labels. Read
Read about Art and Architecture...
All Music Guide (4 Stars)
Pete Mills, a tenor saxophonist inspired by his
mentor Walt Weiskopf, is an excellent player
influenced by but not derivative of John
Coltrane. On Art and Architecture, most
of the music is straight-ahead post-bop,
utilizing chord changes in the themes but
not necessarily always tied to them in the
improvisations. Mills' dry tone is showcased
at its best on the augmented blues-with-a-bridge
"Dot Com," "In Walked Bud,"
a brief duet with guitarist Pete McCann
on "Chelsea Bridge," and the lighthearted
"Pumpkin Shoes." The band really
gets to romp on the funky "Clubfoot"
and there are fine spots along the way for
McCann and pianist Bobby Floyd, with bassist
Dennis Irwin and drummer Matt Wilson being
stimulating in support. The program has
plenty of variety in moods and grooves,
and Mills fares quite well in every setting
of this excellent modern jazz set.
Yanow, All Music Guide
Weiskopf protege Pete Mills
has released his own second CD as a leader,
Art and Architecture (Summit), which is
buoyed by the stalwart bass and drums team
of Dennis Irwin and Matt Wilson, assisted
by pianist Bobby Floyd and/or guitarist
Pete McCann (acoustic and electric). Whatever
the instrumentation-sometimes a tenor sax
and guitar duo (Strayhorn's "Chelsea
Bridge") or a tenor sax-bass-drums
trio (Strayhorn's "Isfahan" and
Monk's "In Walked Bud")-Mills
demonstrates a firm control of his instrument
and of his material, all except the aforementioned
being compositions of his own. His tunes
include a nice bossa ("Seven Shades
of Blue"), a couple of straightahead
burners ("Spin Dri" and "April
Tune"), some funk-laden, backbeat blues
("Dot Com" and "Clubfoot"),
a lovely ballad ("Remembrance")
and a quirky, fast-paced head ("Pumpkin
Shoes"). Everybody plays well in a
mainstream modern mode, with the leader's
versatile tenor-kick-butt on "Clubfoot"
and gorgeous on "Isfahan"-a key
element of the album's success. Read
-- David Franklin , the December 2004
Dayton Daily News
Pete Mills: Music on a 'high level' performer
recieving critical acclaim for his compositions.
--Matt Warner, Dayton Daily News 8/03/04
All About Jazz.com
It's nice to hear a mainstream
set hit the ground running like this. Saxophonist
Pete Mills opens his Art and Architecture
with the frictionless propulsion of “Dot
Com,” a tune that zips forward on
the rhythm section momentum of a sleek monorail
riding a cushion of magnetism, on a workout
that lets you know that straight ahead jazz
is alive and well, juiced up even, in the
hands of a younger generation. Read
-- Dan McClenaghan All About Jazz.Com August 23, 2004
Art And Architecture, consisting
mostly of Mills' own compositions, is an
outstanding work, the equal or better of
many releases from entertainment conglomerate-owned
labels, as if Mills had suddenly arrived
with his talent already formed, when in
reality, of course, such natural-sounding
ability is the result of years of hard work.
-- Don Williamson, JazzReview.com
Dayton City Paper
Columbus saxophonist Pete
Mills has released his second CD on the
Summit Label and it’s a real winner.
His cohorts on the record include guitarist
Pete McCann, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer
Matt Wilson — all in-demand New York
players, along with Columbus piano legend
Bobby Floyd. Read
-- Don Henke, Dayton City Paper, October 13, 2004
All About Jazz.com (Review #2)
Straightahead jazz combines
pleasant memories with fresh energy when
it's created by a unit such as Pete Mills'
quintet. His lovely tenor saxophone tone
soothes while it cascades around the room.
The session remains peaceful and quiet throughout.
Mills stretches out on up-tempo romps and
lays back casually for lyrical ballads.
-- Jim Santella, All About Jazz.Com
All About Jazz.com (Review #3)
If there is one defining aspect about Pete
Mills, it is his ability to pave a path
that is in direct communication with his
listeners. Though he often shows a big,
brawny disposition, he never overplays his
hand. And while there is turmoil and a roiling
heat as he takes the high post-bop road,
he also showcases a softer side with ballads
that shimmer and glow in the emotional nest
he builds for them. Read
-- Jerry D'Souza , All About Jazz.Com
The record title here is justified for what,
by all accounts, is a very well crafted,
well-designed session. The sound is great;
the program (of mostly originals) is compelling;
and the assemblage of musicians is high
quality and highly complementary to Mills’
-- Gerard Cox, Columbus Alive - August 18, 2004
“…after hearing the CD, I would
give it six stars if I were judging it.
Your playing is wonderful and your writing
is superb. I love it.”
-- Saxophonist Jimmy Heath
“This recording gets to the heart
of what Pete’s music is all about.
It’s strong, musical and personal,
showcasing his talents as both a composer
and a fine tenor saxophonist, and the band
-- Milestone recording artist, saxophonist
Read about Momentum...
The Columbus Dispatch’s Curt Schieber
writes of Mills’ compositions as being
“impressive” with solos that
are “ear opening…with a tone
that is big and rich…[His CD Momentum]
recalls the post-bop of mid-1960s Blue Note
records. But it also echoes other decades
and other labels. It is remarkable first
and foremost though, in its pursuit of pure
established Mills as a composer of complexity
and character and an imaginative but exacting
-- Curt Schieber, The Columbus Dispatch