How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Priority, the sophomore effort of Chicago's trumpeter Orbert Davis, comes six years after his debut, Unfinished Memories. Though the six-year gap may explain why he isn't as well known as some contemporaries, his activities during that time demonstrate why he will soon be joining their ranks. Over the last six years, Davis has proved what many have said about him when he debuted: he's an incredibly talented, versatile player in the hard bop tradition. His technical skills, whether playing Armstrong tunes or working alongside a string section, rank among the best in Chicago.
Priority shows Davis' return to form technically, most notably on his cover of Miles Ahead. Along with fellow musicians Ryan Cohan (piano) and Coltrane-inspired tenor man Ari Brown, both of whom deliver a strong performance throughout, Orbert once again shows us his remarkable playing ability. Priority also features several of the artist's original compositions, in my opinion the compositions are lacking the intensity you come to love from Orbert's playing. One song that stands out is The Double Blues, featuring Chicago vocalist Kurt Elling. In my opinion this track is slow compared to the rest of the CD. I felt like it wanted to go somewhere but it never made it anywhere.
Overall, it's a very balanced recording.
With luck, we won't have to wait another six years for Orbert to return to the studio.
Track Listing: 1. Priority2. Ask Me Nicely3. Relentless4. Block Party5. Miles Ahead6. E.T. (Edwin's Trombone) 7. The Double Blues (featuring Kurt Elling)8. Midnight In Bahia (featuring Kurt Elling & Bobbi Wilsyn)9. Ain't No Sunshine10. Vice-Versa11. Scourin'12. Weatherbird
Personnel: Ernie Adams - Percussion, Drums, Ari Brown - Sax (Tenor), James Cammack - Bass, Orbert Davis - Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Steve Eisen - Sax (Tenor), Kurt Elling - Vocals, Pat Ferreri - Guitar, Bobbi Wilsyn - Vocals, Ryan Cohan - Piano