303

Steve Davis Quartet: Alone Together

CJ Shearn By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Davis Quartet: Alone Together 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 all these men are veterans of McLean's combo gives this session the feeling of a working band, and everyone plays at a high level. Davis and Willis have a great rapport together, with Willis' voicings adding depth to Davis' lines. Larry Willis may perhaps be best known as the pianist in trumpeter Woody Shaw's classic group, and as one of the most sensitive and nuanced disciples of Herbie Hancock.



Willis begins the quartet's take on "Milestones with a lovely introduction before Davis enters with the familiar Miles Davis (by way of John Lewis) melody. The rhythmic feel throughout the piece is refreshingly buoyant as McPherson molds and shapes the time at the bridge, a la a young Tony Williams, allowing for strong statements from Willis and Davis. Willis also creates rhythmic interest behind the trombone solo by often going against the time for tension and release.

The next cut, the classic standard "My Foolish Heart, is taken as a duet. Willis' warm chords frame Davis' dark, burnished tone as he stays close to the melody. The title track is taken with a quasi-Latin/boogaloo eighth note feel. Davis bleeds soul out of his horn with Curtis Fuller-like intensity, while McPherson provides strong commentary on the skins throughout. Fuller's influence is further felt on "United, taken from Art Blakey's book. Davis provides slashing phrasing reminiscent of the elder trombonist on classic Blakey albums such as Free For All (Blue Note, 1964), as McPherson keeps a strong swinging pulse on this fairly straightforward Wayne Shorter composition.

As fine as the music is, the recording quality of this release, which is superb, deserves to be mentioned. The sound is dynamic and very much like a session at Rudy Van Gelder's original Hackensack living room studio combined with the intimacy of the many studio dates on Pablo. The recording is direct to two-track analog tape and minimally miked, capturing the nuances of Willis' piano, the woodiness of the bass, and all of the air control flowing through the trombone. Free of compression and other tweaks, this is how every new acoustic jazz album should sound. Overall, Steve Davis and his quartet have made an excellent album that is creative and soulful, sure to delight fans of the hard bop tradition.


Track Listing: Milestones; My Foolish Heart; Surrey With the Fringe on Top, Alone Together; The Day You Said Goodbye; United; We'll Be Together Again; UMMG; Shortcake.

Personnel: Steve Davis: trombone; Larry Willis: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Mapleshade Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "The Three Voices" CD/LP/Track Review The Three Voices
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "Migration" CD/LP/Track Review Migration
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Antenna" CD/LP/Track Review Antenna
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!