By Kerilie McDowall | Published September 2019
With sizzling high-energy quests taking flight between comfortably laid-back tracks, Sam Dillon’s sophomore release, Force Field, boasts five post-bop originals alongside the session’s well-crafted covers.
The tenor saxophonist’s prefatory title track blows through shifting tonalities with his collective locked together. Alluding to McCoy Tyner, Theo Hill’s piano contributions summon fiery strength through an exploratory modal romp as it supports the bandleader’s intensely played tenor lines. A few tracks on, Dillon’s reverent Chick Corea cover—a grooving modal take of “Straight Up And Down”—is driven by tightly arranged horns, and dexterous tenor and keys, featuring Hill’s dazzling work on Fender Rhodes. Ripping it up with his swinging original, “Hit It,” Dillon’s spiritual-jazz influences take over. Spurred on by modal grooviness from Hill, the writing hints at John Coltrane’s changes on “Resolution,” Dillon thriving in the transcendental setting.
Charlie Parker’s “Dexterity” seems out of step with the album’s inclinations, Dillon’s searching tenor wrapping around the “Rhythm” changes, still closing out the disc with a powerful display.
Force Field: Force Field; Go For The Jugular; Straight Up And Down; Shift; Two Part Problem; Flight Of Mind; Hit It; Marionette; Dexterity. (54:08)
Personnel: Sam Dillon, tenor saxophone; Max Darché, trumpet (2, 3, 4, 7); Andrew Gould, alto saxophone (2, 3, 4, 7); Micheal Dease, trombone (2, 5); Theo Hill, piano, Rhodes (3, 6, 8); David Wong, bass; Anwar Marshall, drums.