Friday, January 10, 2014
Those Who Put the "Art" in Hartford + The "New" In New Haven
Looks like the weather will cooperate this weekend so you should have no problem making the 3 p.m show. For more information, go to www.realartways.org or www.facebook.com/pages/Improvisations/324014434279441.
"For Real" is the title of Davis's 4th release for PosiTone Records and an apt description of the man himself. Though he can play with great fire, Davis eschews histrionics in favor of a smooth, steady, tone and music that builds from solid melodic lines and a strong chordal structure. Joining him for this date is long-time associates Larry Willis (piano) and fellow HARTT faculty member Nat Reeves (bass), McLean Institute graduate Abraham Burton (tenor saxophone) and the fine young drummer Billy Williams. Right off the bat, the title track reminds this listener of the sounds of the Jazz Crusaders with its funky blend of 'bone, tenor sax and piano. Burton is a strong soloist, blending the drive of John Coltrane with the bluesy explorations of players such as Booker Ervin and Hank Mobley. Willis, the 71-year old native of Harlem (New York City), is, at turns, playful, wistful, swinging, and always melodic. On the rousing "Tactics" (all the songs on the CD are Davis originals save one), the pianist's solid chords give Reeves the freedom to fly while Williams supplies the drive. Willis's impressionistic chords open the handsome ballad "I Found You" with its 2-part melody line - his graceful solo unwinds freely over the classy foundations supplied by his partners in the rhythm section. The trombonist's solo blends short phrases with longer, sweetly flowing lines. Brazilian rhythms underpin the sprightly closing track "Daylight", giving the soloists a springboard for imaginative and hard-driving explorations. Burton's joyful romp builds off the energy created by Willis's ebullient solo. The leader picks up on the dancing quality of Reeves' bouncy bass lines and Williams's enthusiastic percussion, delivering a sweet melodic statement.
Yes, "For Real" is just that - "real" music that is as exciting as it is entertaining. Steve Davis connects with his audience on a number of levels, his honest approach to his art refreshing and certainly enjoyable. For more information, go to www.stevedavis.info.
www.landonknoblock.com/solo-piano-audio) where anything goes, keeping the listener guessing. Carl Testa, whose impressive 2013 solo CD "IRIS" blended his bass playing with electronics, also has a playful edge and will keep you guessing as well.
For more information, go to uncertaintymusic.com.