Dwight Sills

Easy

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The title of Dwight Sills' comeback disc Easy is a bit ironic; since his first two releases on Columbia in the early '90s, the guitarist's been so busy as a sideman (for everyone from TLC to Wayne Henderson to mentor Kirk Whalum), it's been anything but simple trying to find time to secure a new deal, let alone record material he felt strongly about. Combining exciting Latin and retro-soul grooves with lush urban sensibilities, and composing more of his own tunes than ever before (six), Sills is definitely back in the game as though he'd never left. Sharp, soulful guitar lines and vibrant melodies are always the centerpiece, but the real uniqueness comes from unexpected production textures. "Dreamin'" is a fairly generic-sounding title for a tune that opens with a synth-created wah-wah sound, eases into a subtle Latin groove with keyboard harmony by Russ Ferrante, and finds Sills performing a duet note for note with Dan Higgins' peppy clarinet before diving into a hot solo guitar section. "D's Groove" finds his strings dancing over a blues-drenched Hammond B-3 riff, stopping for the occasional brass embellishment. A more subtle blues style characterizes the pretty straightforward opening segment of "Dock of the Bay" before Sills kicks it up a notch and joins Whalum on a powerful jaunt off the main melody. Whalum also adds his typical punch to the party hardy reggae-flavored "Carribean Soul," a wild tropics meet down-home blues explosion that closes the set.

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