Primary Instrument: Saxophone
A native of Toronto Canada, critics have called saxophonist Pete Mills playing virtuosic and gorgeous (David Franklin, JazzTimes) and The Columbus Dispatch writes of Mills' compositions as being impressive with solos that are ear opening...with a tone that is big and rich. Mills has received Jazz Performance Grants from the Canada Council and was a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composer’s Fellowship. Based in Columbus OH, he performs throughout the US and Canada. Recent engagements have included The Firefly Club Ann Arbor, Michigan; The Blue Wisp Cincinnati, OH; The Cleveland Bop Stop; The Rex in Toronto and Kenyon College. Pete's performances at jazz festivals include those at The Columbus Jazz Festival The Newark ( Ohio) Jazz and Ribfest and at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival. Pete is a member of The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of trumpeter, Byron Stripling. Mills' discography includes the Fall ‘07 release Fresh Spin (Chicken Coup/ Summit Records), 2004’s release on Summit, Art and Architecture, which received 4 stars from All Music Guide, was on the Jazzweek Top 50 radio chart for 6 weeks and received airplay on the MTV networks. The recording features drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Dennis Irwin, Pete McCann on acoustic and electric guitar and Bobby Floyd on piano. His first solo release was the critically acclaimed, Momentum (COJAZZ Records ’98). As a sideman he appears on CDs by guitarist Stan Smith (Pathways), saxophonist Chad Eby (Tryptich), the eclectic ensemble Madrugada (Madrugada), the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra Traditions, the 2006 Columbus Jazz Orchestra CD, The Colors of Jazz and The Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra CD Live at The Bop Stop.
Active as a clinician, Mills presents workshops on improvisation, ensemble skills and practice techniques at colleges and high schools including The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the Brandon (Manitoba, Canada) Jazz Festival, The Ohio Music Educator’s Association Conference, The Columbus Youth Jazz Ensemble, The Ohio State University, Ashland University and Ohio Wesleyan University.
Pete holds degrees from The Eastman School of Music and the University of North Texas. His teachers have included Pat LaBarbera, Ray Ricker, Jim Riggs, and Walt Weiskopf. He currently teaches jazz studies at Denison University, having formerly taught at The Ohio State University,
It's nice to hear a mainstream set hit the ground running like this. Saxophonist Pete Mills opens his Art and Architecture with the frictionless propulsion of “Dot Com,” a tune that zips forward on the rhythm section momentum of a sleek monorail riding a cushion of magnetism, on a workout that lets you know that straight ahead jazz is alive and well, juiced up even, in the hands of a younger generation. -- Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Columbus saxophonist Pete Mills has released his second CD on the Summit Label and it’s a real winner. His cohorts on the record include guitarist Pete McCann, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Matt Wilson � all in-demand New York players, along with Columbus piano legend Bobby Floyd. -- Don Henke, Dayton City Paper
Straightahead jazz combines pleasant memories with fresh energy when it's created by a unit such as Pete Mills' quintet. His lovely tenor saxophone tone soothes while it cascades around the room. The session remains peaceful and quiet throughout. Mills stretches out on up-tempo romps and lays back casually for lyrical ballads. --Jim Santella, All About Jazz
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