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Album Review

On the Fly is a nice album of straightforward jazz from New York trumpeter Liam Sillery. He combines with L.A.'s David Sills and his compatriots, who add a strong rhythm section to his horn work. In particular, organist Joe Bagg continually steals the show, often in combination with Tim Pleasant on drums. The horns provide some give and take, and pull out a few nice solos, but the real excitement often happens when the rest of the bandmembers break out for their solo bars. The album opens with the title track, a hopping piece in the vein of the post-bop aesthetic. From there, it moves into a slower piece, which is followed by a groove-inflected showcase for the horns in "Fontok." "Down the Line" could very well be an old Dizzy and Bird number, and Sillery and Sills hold up the two-horn attack remarkably. The compositions themselves are from both brass players, with Sills providing much more exciting pieces here than on some of his more introspective releases with the Acoustic Jazz Quartet ("Mai Lien" is particularly interesting and slinky in its own way). Sillery's pieces run similarly to those of Sills, but with a little less sheen on them. They're a little less full, a little less produced. Entirely aside from the compositions on this one, though, the playing is the real star. All the performers put in excellent runs on their instruments, and the compositions are filled in beautifully by them — melodic lines, harmonies, and solos alike. Certainly worth a listen by anyone looking for a piece of the old post-bop feel.

On the Fly, Liam Sillery
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