115

Jesse Davis: First Insight

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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, alto saxophone; Peter Bernstein (2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9), guitar; Mulgrew Miller, piano; Ron Carter, bass; Kenny Washington, drums.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Roy Hargrove Roy Hargrove
trumpet
Jeff Beck Jeff Beck
guitar
Illinois Jacquet Illinois Jacquet
sax, tenor
Donny Hathaway Donny Hathaway
vocalist
Ry Cooder Ry Cooder
guitar
Leon Russell Leon Russell
piano
Al Kooper Al Kooper
composer/conductor

More Articles

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 Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
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 Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Yo!" CD/LP/Track Review Yo!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "Terre II" CD/LP/Track Review Terre II
by Tyran Grillo
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Copenhagen Diaries" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Diaries
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "The Whole World Must Change" CD/LP/Track Review The Whole World Must Change
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Because I Love You" CD/LP/Track Review Because I Love You
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 12, 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!