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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: For Real

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For lovers of straight-ahead jazz the Posi-Tone record label is a pretty safe bet, a mark of quality. Label owner and producer Marc Free seems to possess a knack for combining excellent musicians and high quality studios (aided and abetted by engineer Nick O'Toole) to create fresh and rewarding music.Trombonist Steve Davis is one of those excellent musicians and For Real is his fourth album for the label. Davis' long career has seen him produce 16 previous albums as leader, while his sideman credits are extensive and include albums with Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and Art Blakey. For ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Gettin' It Done

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Trombonist Steve Davis has never had a problem getting things done. He instantly joined the slide-wielding elite when he graduated from the Hartt School's Jackie McLean Institute in 1989 and joined up with drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. That gig jump-started his career and he's never looked back. Stints with McLean and pianist Chick Corea followed, helping to raise his profile within the jazz community, and a steady stream of sideman work, leader offerings and dates with the collective super band known as One For All, along with teaching responsibilities at his alma mater, continue to keep him in constant ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Gettin' It Done

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Calling trombonist Steve Davis a veteran is probably inappropriate--after all, he was a mere 44 year-old when he recorded Gettin' It Done in October, 2011. However, he has such a wealth of experience, such a command of his instrument and such a rich back catalog of recordings that based on his body of work rather than his birthday such a soubriquet is not so out of place. Gettin' It Done is a worthy addition to the Davis discography: a swinging, beautifully performed and exceptionally well-recorded sextet outing.The album contains two covers, both classic tunes, given a fresh and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Images

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It is easy to mistake trombonist Steve Davis for an aesthete--which he is, possessing an undying sense of lyricism to show for it. But he is a deeper musician than one who merely subscribes to the aesthetical philosophy. Each of Images' ten compositions far transcends warmth and lyrical beauty, standing out as astute forms of modal music that recall the finest of their kind. Davis' ability to enrich the tonal palette of the trombone is commendable. He may not bend and twist the voice of perhaps the most human vocal-like instrument, as Roswell Rudd does. He may not reach into ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Images - The Hartford Suite

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Trombonist/composer Steve Davis was commissioned by the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz to compose Images: The Hartford Suite, with track dedicated to a contemporary or historical Hartford figure or place. Thankfully, a detailed knowledge of Hartford, Connecticut is not a prerequisite for the enjoyment of this music; the talent and enthusiasm of the musicians accentuate this set of upbeat, positive, swinging tunes. This is the Davis quintet's second album, following Outlook (Posi-Tone Records, 2008). Every member of the band swings with genuine power. Davis plays his trombone with a rich and rounded tone that melds perfectly with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Images

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Images is trombonist Steve Davis' love letter to his hometown of West Hartford, CT. The ten pieces he wrote for the album, and which make up his “Hartford Suite," are all dedicated to people or places associated with this geographic region. While Davis' penchant for crisp swing and clear, lyrical lines plays a big part here, some compositional cunning--and some pieces that fall outside this general area--helps to keep things from falling into a stylistic rut. Dedicated to bassist Nat Reeves, the mid-to-up-tempo swing of “Nato" possesses a persistent, four-note figure that drops in as the parade ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Images - The Hartford Suite

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Images--The Hartford Suite pays homage to the culture and history of Hartford, Connecticut, courtesy of trombonist/composer Steve Davis, a long time resident of the city and faculty member at the University of Hartford. The ten-part suite is a sizzling set of straight-ahead jazz; stimulating, melodic and swinging. Davis, who co-leads the acclaimed ensemble One For All, and has performed as a sideman with the likes of Jackie McLean and Art Blakey, has assembled an impressive quintet for the session, with trumpeter Josh Evans adding to the mix on a handful of tracks. Davis' writing, firmly established in the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Steve Davis: Eloquence & Jam Session, Vol. 28

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Steve DavisEloquenceJazz Legacy Productions2009 Various ArtistsJam Session Vol. 28SteepleChase2009 If today's jazz mainstream is anchored in bebop and hard bop, trombonist Steve Davis has superb credentials, from tenures with the final sextets of Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, plus Chick Corea's Origin and One for All, a sextet that carries on in the hard-swinging hard bop tradition. But unlike many of his trombone contemporaries--both older and younger--the 42-year-old Davis hasn't been pushing the sonic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Outlook

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Trombonist Steve Davis has spent much of his two-decade jazz career in larger ensembles--big bands but most notably sextets, from Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Chick Corea's Origin and the co-op band One for All to Benny Golson's New Jazztet. But when Davis leads his own bands or puts out his own records he thinks smaller. Outlook is six quintet, two quartet tracks, with Davis joined by pianist David Bryant, bassist Dezron Douglas, drummer Eric McPherson and alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo (in the quintets). There's an old jazz term in disuse today that perfectly describes Davis' trombone playing: ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Davis Quintet at Cecil's Jazz Club

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Steve Davis Quintet Cecil's Jazz Club West Orange, NJ June 15, 2007

The first of Steve Davis's seven recordings as a leader for the Criss Cross Jazz imprint, entitled The Jaunt, refers to the 110 mile trip from the trombonist's longtime base in Hartford, CT to the jazz Mecca, New York City. Although each of the Criss Cross sides has documented Davis as a savvy organizer of small mainstream ensembles, fans were more likely to hear him in person in bands like One For All, or The New Jazz Composers Octet. Fortunately, over the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis Quartet: Alone Together

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Trombonist Steve Davis has been a veteran of the New York scene for many years. Hailing from Binghamton, New York, he quickly established a presence as one of the best trombonists in the area as a teenager. Upon his arrival in New York City in the mid-1980s, Davis' talents were noticed by such luminaries as drummer Art Blakey and saxophonist Jackie McLean. Davis' quartet release on Mapleshade, Alone Together , is a tip of the hat to his former boss--a wonderful quartet featuring pianist Larry Willis, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Eric McPherson, all McLean alumni.The fact that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Update

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For many years now, Steve Davis has been the torchbearer for an instrument that is often neglected among today's younger musicians. Often associated with swing and Dixieland styles, the trombone is no less a communicative voice for creative jazz expression than any other brass or woodwind instrument. Capable of using the 'bone as the sole lead instrument in a quartet or part of a larger ensemble, as when he fills out the front line for One For All, Davis has led a series of Criss Cross sides over the years that have duly demonstrated his proficiency as a trombonist, but ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Davis Quartet at Cecil's Jazz Club

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Steve Davis Quartet Cecil's Jazz Club West Orange, NJ March 17, 2006

Great jazz musicians always find a way to rise above adverse performance conditions. Despite a sparse St Patrick's Day audience, the constant ringing of a cell phone, and a bartender whose voice boomed over the band, Steve Davis' Quartet played a riveting opening set. Davis' affable remarks between songs, and the band's frequent exchanging of smiles and knowing glances, let the assembled few in on the pleasures of making improvised music.

They opened with “If I Love Again, a standard Davis recorded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Davis: Meant to Be

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On Meant to Be, trombonist Steve Davis features all original material, creating and sustaining a positive impression from the first track to the last. The band plays as a unit, the solos are more than mere scale runs, and each of the compositions has an individual character that distinguishes it from its surroundings. Take “Choices," for instance. The tune is taken at a loping, leisurely pace that opens into 4/4 for the blowing choruses. Embedded in the structure is a nicely turned “tension-and-release motif," as described by the CD annotator, Ted Panken. Describing the piece that ...



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