Amazon.com Widgets

Jeff Davis: We Sleep Outside (2010)

By Published: | 6,734 views
Jeff Davis: We Sleep Outside How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The tightly knit Brooklyn scene has yielded a number of exceptional ensembles in the past few years, including Michael Bates' Outside Sources, Kris Davis' Quartet, Jon Irabagon
Jon Irabagon
Jon Irabagon

saxophone
's Outright!, Kirk Knuffke
Kirk Knuffke
Kirk Knuffke

trumpet
's Quartet, Eivind Opsvik's Overseas, the RIDD Quartet and Tone Collector. The common denominator uniting these various bands is drummer Jeff Davis, a former student of pianist Art Lande
Art Lande
Art Lande

piano
and trumpeter Ron Miles
Ron Miles
Ron Miles

trumpet
. An inventive improviser partial to unconventional textures and unpredictable rhythms, Davis' capricious creativity and alert responsiveness have made him an in-demand sideman.

We Sleep Outside, his first album as a leader, focuses as much on his talents as a writer and bandleader as an improviser. Like many of his generation, his writing encompasses a number of genres, yet Davis understands the importance of creating a context for such diversity. Sequencing individual tunes into a suite-like program, the set unfolds episodically, seamlessly blending divergent moods.

Supported by his longstanding sextet (formed in 2006), Davis and company blur the line between the composed and improvised with ease. Frequently obscuring the roles of soloist and accompanist, he often divides the group into rotating duos and trios, while offsetting individual soloists with bouts of collective improvisation. His band-mates practiced interplay is reinforced by a communal sensibility, reflected in their use of Davis' services in their own ensembles, namely trumpeter Kirk Knuffke, bassist Eivind Opsvik and Jeff's wife, pianist Kris Davis. Rounded out by guitarist Jon Goldberger and saxophonist Tony Barba, Davis' unit embarks on a journey that revels in shadowy hues.

The brooding Masqualero

ian drama of "Bruce and Brunost Suite" opens the album, establishing the tenor of the session with a foreboding electro-acoustic undercurrent. Episodic in scope and anthem-like in approach, the suite gracefully modulates through a number of sections, featuring a string of visceral solos from the sextet. "Black Beard" ventures deeper into pungent jazz-rock territory, spotlighting Goldberger's scorching arpeggios, Barba's volcanic tenor and the leader's turbulent kit work.

Davis' compositional prowess comes to the fore on "Slipper Hero," staging a series of dynamic interludes between different combinations of players before resolving in a soaring unison denouement. Culminating with similar fervor, but following a more expansive arc, "Talk to Me" rises from dulcet introspection to a cathartic dialogue between Barba's frantic tenor and Goldberger's incendiary guitar. Providing respite from the album's acerbic fare, the understated "Waltz" and haunting ballad "Fred Ullmann" reveal Davis' dark melodic gifts, while the collectively composed title track closes the album on a bittersweet note.

Underground scenes often foster an incredible range of new talent—counterbalanced by equally fierce competition. Historically it has been the role of independent labels to capture the prevailing zeitgeist, separating the innovators from the imitators. The Brooklyn-based Loyal Label is quickly becoming one of the most noteworthy of such stateside independents. We Sleep Outside is an excellent example of their aesthetic and a bold debut for Jeff Davis.

Track Listing: Bruce and Brunost Suite; Talk To Me; Black Beard; Waltz; Fred Ullmann; Slipper Hero; We Sleep Outside.

Personnel: Jeff Davis: drums, percussion; Eivind Opsvik: upright bass; Jon Goldberger: guitar; Kris Davis: piano, Fender Rhodes piano; Tony Barba: tenor and soprano saxophone, clarinet; Kirk Knuffke: trumpet.

Record Label: Loyal Label

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

A musician was found with a matching name

Name:

Birthday:

Instrument:

Is this you?