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The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love (2012)

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The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love Track review of "Afro Blue / Afro Blue Too"

How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Jazz compressed into small places, as it is in drummer Billie Davies' trombone trio, often gives the most unpredictable yet satisfying results. Piano-less trios are nothing new, but one lead by a trombonist, while still being comparable to Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
' tenor saxophone trios of the 1950s, certainly is. Trombonist Tom Bone Ralls is careful to fill any space, avoiding the overuse of slurs and glissandos. The collection of originals and standards is largely introspective and influenced by saxophonist John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's horizontal method of improvisation.

This Coltrane strain is most evident on Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
Mongo Santamaria
1922 - 2003
percussion
's "Afro Blue" and its reprise—long a staple of Coltrane's late period catharsis. Davies provides polyrhythmic propellant to bassist Oliver Steinberg, while Ralls plays the harmonic head straight. His solo progressively becomes more abstract without becoming dissonant and distant. Steinberg sets up the hypnotic mantra that is punctuated by Davies and takes advantage of the space provided judiciously before the theme reemerges. "Afro Blue Too" revisits the tune, adding sharper corners to the melody and rhythm while softening the solo spaces. This provides for a nice contrast on this spare instrumental recording.

Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Tom Bone Ralls: trombone; Oliver Steinberg: bass.

Record Label: Self Produced


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