All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Steve Davis: For Real

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
For lovers of straight-ahead jazz the Posi-Tone record label is a pretty safe bet, a mark of quality. Label owner and producer Marc Free seems to possess a knack for combining excellent musicians and high quality studios (aided and abetted by engineer Nick O'Toole) to create fresh and rewarding music.

Trombonist Steve Davis is one of those excellent musicians and For Real is his fourth album for the label. Davis' long career has seen him produce 16 previous albums as leader, while his sideman credits are extensive and include albums with Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter and Art Blakey. For Real finds him once again in the company of pianist Larry Willis, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Billy Williams, who all appeared on Davis' previous release, Gettin' It Done (Posi-Tone, 2012). Davis is joined on the front line by saxophonist Abraham Burton, a Grammy winner with the Mingus Big Band. The tenor and trombone combination works beautifully, the instruments complementing each other to boost the richness of the quintet's sound.

"Blues On Blues," written by pianist Larry Willis, is a pleasant tune that, unsurprisingly, gives the players a chance to show their bluesier side. The rest of the tunes are Davis' own compositions.

Mid-tempo groovers such as "For Real" and "Angie's Groove," the Latin swinger "Daylight" and the up-tempo, hard bop "Tactics"—which features tight, assertive solos from all five musicians—are irresistible chunks of fun: effortlessly swinging and positive tunes. They're impressive, as compositions and as performance, but it's the gentler numbers that really impress. "Nicky D" may have a similar tempo to "For Real" but there's more space (Burton sits this one out) and Davis' trombone sound is at its warmest and most inviting. "Days Gone By" finds the quintet in a meditative mood. It's a ballad that takes its inspiration from pre-bop rather than post-bop, with Burton's solo and Willis' comping proving central to its success. The easy-going romance of "I Found You" completes the trio of soulful tunes.

For Real is a superb album, an object lesson in small band jazz and a shining example of the trombonist's art. It can proudly take its place as one of the Posi-Tone label's finest releases—as a quick check of the label's catalog will show, that's quite an accolade.

Track Listing: For Real; Nicky D; Angie's Groove; Days Gone By; Big East; Blues On Blues; Tactics; I Found You; Daylight.

Personnel: Steve Davis: trombone; Abraham Burton: tenor saxophone; Larry Willis: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Billy Williams: drums.

Title: For Real | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Think Ahead

Think Ahead

Smoke Sessions Records
2017

buy
Say When

Say When

Smoke Sessions Records
2015

buy
For Real

For Real

Posi-Tone Records
2014

buy
 

Being Human

Babel Label
2013

buy
Gettin' It Done

Gettin' It Done

Posi-Tone Records
2012

buy
Images - The Hartford Suite

Images - The Hartford...

Posi-Tone Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Love + Time + Divination CD/LP/Track Review
Love + Time + Divination
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2018
Read Gleb Kolyadin CD/LP/Track Review
Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil// CD/LP/Track Review
NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: February 22, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 22, 2018
Read SuperClusters CD/LP/Track Review
SuperClusters
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Your Queen Is A Reptile CD/LP/Track Review
Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Trillium Falls" CD/LP/Track Review Trillium Falls
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Two in a Box" CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Rebel Portraiture" CD/LP/Track Review Rebel Portraiture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 12, 2017