Baritone saxophonist Charles Davis started out with Sun Ra in the early 1950s. Along the way, he’s paid his dues in the big bands of Clark Terry, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Illinois Jacquet and Lionel Hampton. He first played “Blue Gardenia” with Dinah Washington in the late ‘50s. As a leader, he’s only issued a few recordings: Dedicated To Tadd (West 54, 1979), Super 80 (Nilva, 1982), and Reflections (Red, 1990).
Now 70, Davis continues to exercise his instrumental voice as soloist; this time out he employs a 50-50 balance between baritone and tenor. The leader’s solo saxophone voice stands sweet and melodic, but the session turns uneven in places due to a few slips of pitch control on baritone. Cedar Walton, Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth do more than their share to make up for it with a hands-down rock-solid foundation for each piece.
On tenor, Davis sends a lovely melodic message that calls upon his vast experience for flavor. “Texas Moon” recalls time he’s spent on the road with Hank Crawford, while “Blues for Yahoo” moves more in the hard bop direction of New York City. Yahoo is the producer’s dog, who must have inherited Charlie Parker’s up-tempo grit. Either that, or he simply reminded Davis of Bird’s unique soul. Blue Gardenia, a solid straight-ahead album, swings with tradition and a true, blues-based spirit.
Track Listing: A Beautiful Friendship; Texas Moon; Bossa Joe; Stranded; Shadow of the Sunset; Sabia; Blues for Yahoo; Blue Gardenia.; Sing Me Back Home; Lone Pilgrim.
Personnel: Charles Davis- baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone; Cedar Walton- piano; Peter Washington- bass; Joe Farnsworth- drums.
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. Misty by Erroll Garner is one of my favourite tracks. My current choice of guitars are Gibson ES335 & ES175 although I only own Epiphone copies at present. I also play classical guitar and love to play jazz on them. I have recently moved to Leeds from York and hoping to meet new friends in the jazz community.