|Experiences: Real And Imaginary|
by Willard Manus
Guitarist/composer Alex Sill grew up in a musical family. His father, Lonnie Sill, was a music supervisor. His mother is the singer/actress Nicci Sill. His grandfather, Lester Sill, launched a record company with Phil Spector.
The 26-year-old Alex studied at Cal Arts with teachers like Lee Ritenour and Larry Koonse. He also was strongly influenced by the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung on the symbiosis between music and the mind.
With a background like that it's no wonder that Alex would put together an album like EXPERIENCES: REAL AND IMAGINARY. With him leading the way on guitar on eight of his original compositions (the ninth track is "Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise"), the new CD is a prime example of 21st-century jazz: introspective, deeply felt, poetic.
With backing from such distinguished jazzmen as Dave Grusin, Gene Coye, Benjamin J. Shepherd and Jacob Scesney, Alex goes deep into his (and Jung's) thoughts about the way music conjures up images in us, connects us to archetypical thoughts and feelings. His aim, as he puts it, is to make us "fill in the blanks with our own internal cinema" as we sit and listen to the CD.
With tunes like "Jackie" and "The Ballad of James Dean,"
it's easy to see what he's talking about. By revisiting those pop icons and paying homage to them in a fresh, loving way, he breathes new life into them. The same holds true for the Native American tribe that once lived and thrived where he grew up in Los Angeles; they too are commemorated in the brief but haunting "Chumash Lullaby."
If you are a fan of ultra-modern, cutting-edge jazz, EXPERIENCES is the album for you.