Available on Fresh Sound Records – Fall 2015



- album notes -

“Great jazz performances take a listener to a realm that’s both intimately familiar and bracingly new. This exceptional young trio led by Los Gatos-raised pianist Richard Sears dwells in that sweet spot between tradition and discovery. Focusing on Sears’ beautifully wrought original compositions, Skyline is a response to the lush beauty and grandeur of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where it was recorded. The album opens with the dawning benediction of “Early Light,” which flows into “Golden Hour,” a spacious evocation of the end-of-day transition that bathes redwoods in sumptuous warm light. Friends since their teenage years, Sears, bassist Martin Nevin and drummer Evan Hughes came together as a trio in New York City in 2012. They find more unbridled joy than sorrow in Ornette Coleman’s classic blues “Tears Inside,” while uncovering a melancholic streak running through the standard “Easy Living.” Beyond the idyllic studio setting, Sears draws deep inspiration from the company he’s been keeping. He recently recorded his six-part suite for drum legend Tootie Heath commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society (“Sturm” is the fourth movement from that astonishing work). And one week before this session he filled in for Ethan Iverson in the quartet of drum maestro Billy Hart. While Sears achieves a holistic, programmatic feel by closing the album with a more assertive version of “Early Light,” the story Skyline tells is really about jazz itself and the way that sensitive musicians can respond to each other and their immediate surroundings. While many of his contemporaries are casting a wide net for influences, Sears and his bandmates are savvy post-bop explorers dedicated to expanding the jazz idiom from within.”

- Andrew Gilbert writes for the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News