Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Jesse Davis: First Insight

115

Jesse Davis: First Insight

By

Sign in to view read count
Jesse Davis: First Insight
Jesse Davis, one of the country's finest post-Cannonball boppers, plays with splendid precision on First Insight, all of whose nine compositions he wrote - but I can remember his having played with more intensity on other occasions (High Standards, for example, or From Within). While there is warmth peeking through here from time to time, the session seldom catches fire. One problem lies with the rhythm section, especially Miller's forceful piano, which is too conspicuously front-and-center (Carter's bass, which is generally well-recorded, is often overwhelmed by drums and piano). Another is Davis's tunes, only one of which - the ballad "Midnight Blue" - has enough staying power to remain long in one's memory bank and whose improvisational aspect is left largely in Miller's hands. But much of the reason for the failure to enkindle rests with Davis, whose enlivening moments are limited primarily to "J's Idea," wherein the resemblance to Cannonball's unerring sense of swing is most readily apparent. One innovation here is Jesse's tongue-in-cheek vocal on "A Funny Thing" (which encompasses Carter's lone solo). Although the lyric begins, "It's a funny thing, I can't sing," he's actually pretty good in an undomesticated sort of way. The fast-paced closer, "Donkey Stomp," is another instance in which Davis fails to take full advantage of the possibilities, depressing the proper keys but constructing no more than a couple of fairly respectable choruses, as is the case on most other numbers. Perhaps Jesse has set the bar too high, or perhaps one expects too much of him based on his previous recordings. But again, this is merely one listener's subjective opinion. What can be said objectively is that Davis and his sidemen are technically sound, they play well together, and that First Insight is in several instances an admirable blowing session. Others may find more depth and satisfaction within its 61-minutes-plus playing time. As for me, I'd rate it a notch or two below Davis's earlier work.

Track Listing

First Insight; Nola; A Little R & R; B.Y.O.G.; Midnight Blue; J's Idea; A Funny Thing; Jetlagged; Donkey Stomp (61:34).

Personnel

Jesse Davis
saxophone, alto

Jesse Davis, alto saxophone; Peter Bernstein (2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9), guitar; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Kenny Washington, drums.

Album information

Title: First Insight | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Blue Topaz
Peter Hand
Midnight Rose
Paul Rodgers
Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and...
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Modern Art Trio
Franco D'Andrea, Franco Tonani, Bruno Tommaso.

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.