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Pianist David Janeway, with only a handful of albums under his belt, bursts out of the pack with the exciting Excursion. He is accompanied by veteran bassist Harvie S. and drummer Steve Davis. Excursion also features a guest appearance from trumpeter Charles Moore, who provides an eerie and effective Miles Davis vibe on Janeway's ballad, "Another Chance."
These dozen tracks are comprised of half originals from the pianist and the remainder from the Great American Songbook and jazz standards. It is as good an indication of Janeway's writing that the title tune sits between the Cross/Wiliams standard, "I Should Care," and Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus." It is no small feat to say that not only is Janeway's playing sparkling but so is his ability to write tuneful compositions.
The liner notes make a point of comparing Janeway with McCoy Tyner as an individualist pianist. Tyner may not be a specific reference point, but Janeway's individuality as a player is evident right from the opening notes of "Viscosity." Janeway and this well-meshed trio leap sure-footedly into the tune with fresh ideas. Janeway also has a propensity to launch into Latin phrases quite unexpectedly, adding to the improvisational aspect of his delivery.
Janeway was born in Rochester, New York, relocating to Detroit and was a student of the late pianist Albert Dailey. He has the experience of working at several important New York venues and with many jazz notables. His first albums Entry Point (New Directions, 1986) and Inside Out (Timeless,1993) both included horns like Sonny Fortune, Marcus Belgrave and Bob Berg. This album is a fine opportunity to appreciate Janeway, the composer and stylist, in a trio format.
Track Listing: Viscosity; Inner Dance; Ready Rudy; Coco's Bossa; I Should Care; Excursion; Black Narcissus; Straight Street; Touch of your Lips; Run Around; Another Chance; You're My Everything.
Personnel: David Janeway: piano; Harvie S: bass; Steve Davis: drums; Charles Moore: trumpet (12).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.