New World finds West Coast guitarist Dave Hill at the top of his game as a player and composer. Produced by bassist Jimmy Haslip, the music veers where you’d expect, and Hill’s playing is tasty as it gets.
A strong Larry Carlton influence is apparent on more than one cut; precise bends and sweet solos highlight cuts like “Waiting For You,” with its fadeout that tips its cap to the soul/gospel style Carlton played with the Crusaders in the ’70s. His cover of the Robben Ford/Russell Ferrante tune “Rush Hour” has the smooth, funky feel and his solo has the same bite that makes Carlton such a soulful player.
Hill’s sweet spot sits where gospel, soul, and jazz meet, as on “Prove It,” where he creates a memorable melody and plays a solo that shows his creativity and taste. The final tune shows his chops to full advantage; “All the Times” is a solo piece with wonderful chordal work mixed with single-line mastery. It’s an elegant, stately piece that perfectly sums up Hill’s playing, and this record.
Anyone with a liking for blues-inflected jazz should find Hill a natural listen.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Aug. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.