Drummer Billie Davies' previous recording, All About Love
(Self Produced, 2012) was novel and compelling, a trombone trio with the drummer lead. Davies assembled original and standard works, achieving both educational and artistic endpoints. The present recording, 12 Volt
, retains the trio format, substituting the guitar for the trombone and pushes the trio envelope out with a moody collection of eight originals, when considered together comprise an avant-garde suite possibly conceived by Grant Green
and John Coltrane
This music is most comparable to Jimmy Giuffre's 1960s trios exploring free jazz using three independent instruments probing jazz's three-dimensional space. Davies directs a very similar interrogation of spatial sound dependence and independent of time. "Collioure" is based on a descending chordal guitar figure, simple and unadorned with brief drum and arco bass support. Guitarist Daniel Coffeng
sparsely solos, extending the opening theme. The title piece is a rolicking jam with all instruments hitting their mark. Davies carefully cultivates her cymbals while bassist Adam Levy
provides the harmonic roadmap and time over which Coffeng solos most robustly.
"Les Landes" is a good representation of the disc as a whole, an anxious piece with many corners and edges to navigate. Davie's challenge to her bandmates is to glide as smoothly as possible about these corners while she stirs the water with her persistent and restless drumming. The mood is dreamy and slightly soporous, a child of Morpheus and honey, preparing a bed of experiences for the listener.