Mar 7, 2014
I’ve had the great fortune to have gotten my hands on some wonderful jazz music being made in places other than the traditional centers of New Orleans, New York and the West Coast. I’ve been able to feature some players from North Carolina in recent podcasts, and now a sax player from Ohio, Pete Mills.
A native of Toronto, Canada now living in Columbus, OH Mills has been widely heralded for his "virtuosic" and "gorgeous" and "versatile tenor-kick-butt" player (David Franklin, JazzTimes). He's released three previous CDs: two on Summit Records:Fresh Spin andArt and Architecture. His debut CD was Momentum (COJAZZ Records). It was on Art and Architecture that he established a working relationship with one of my favorite drummers, Matt Wilson. There are few drummers in the business today more versatile, and more willing to take chances, and Wilson plays on the wildest of the avant-garde and the most straight-ahead at the drop of a hat.
Wilson and one of his favorite bass players, Martin Wind, form the core rhythm section for Pete Mills’ latest CD, Sweet Shadow. Mills rounds out the band with an old friend, guitarist Pete McCann, and a new voice, pianist and Columbus OH native, Erik Augis. The result is a consistently listenable collection of Mills originals and well-chosen covers. There are even two duets between Mills and Wilson to bring a different sound and texture to the project.
I spoke with Mills about the band, how he writes his material, and the Ohio jazz music scene for Podcast 412. Our conversation includes a selection of tunes from Sweet Shadow, including “Blues for Mel”, the title track, an up-tempo reading of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and the improvised “Duo 2” with Wilson.