All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Steve Davis: Images - The Hartford Suite

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Trombonist/composer Steve Davis was commissioned by the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz to compose Images: The Hartford Suite, with track dedicated to a contemporary or historical Hartford figure or place. Thankfully, a detailed knowledge of Hartford, Connecticut is not a prerequisite for the enjoyment of this music; the talent and enthusiasm of the musicians accentuate this set of upbeat, positive, swinging tunes.

This is the Davis quintet's second album, following Outlook (Posi-Tone Records, 2008). Every member of the band swings with genuine power. Davis plays his trombone with a rich and rounded tone that melds perfectly with the softer tone of Mike DiRubbo's alto. The addition of Josh Evans on trumpet and flugelhorn on tunes such as "Kenney's" adds depth to the overall horn sound. The rhythm section drives everything along with just enough of a push to ensure that the band sounds energetic but never hurried. Eric McPherson's cymbal work is exceptional throughout, his freedom to create intricate and subtle patterns assisted enormously by Dezron Douglas' strong bass lines.

Davis credits Billy Strayhorn's influence on "Rose Garden," a slower and more reflective tune with Davis and pianist David Bryant contributing lovely, sparse solos. The tempo may be slow, but it's by no means sad or pessimistic; elsewhere, however, tempos are quicker and the tunes are more overtly positive. Bop influences are also direct—not unexpectedly, given that Davis has worked with Art Blakey and acknowledges the great influence of Jackie McLean, to whom he dedicates "J Mac's Way." On "Tune For Calhoun" it's the influence of bebop that has the upper hand; a fast, explosive, number that gives every member of the quintet a chance to deliver effective solos. Kris Jensen adds tenor sax to "Club 880," which creates a real bite and fullness to the horn lines on this up-tempo tribute to the Hartford jazz venue.

Images: The Hartford Suite is a beautiful work, beautifully played. Inventive but also accessible, this is a celebratory album of uplifting tunes that should find this quintet receiving deserved wider recognition.

Track Listing: Nato; The Modernist; Twain's World; J Mac's Way; Mode for Miantonomoh; Rose Garden; Tune for Calhoun; Park Street; Kenney's; Club 880.

Personnel: Steve Davis: trombone; Mike DiRubbo: alto saxophone; David Bryant: piano; Dezron Douglas: bass; Eric McPherson: drums; Josh Evans: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kris Jensen: tenor saxophone (10).

Title: Images - The Hartford Suite | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Think Ahead

Think Ahead

Smoke Sessions Records

Say When

Say When

Smoke Sessions Records

For Real

For Real

Posi-Tone Records


Being Human

Babel Label

Gettin' It Done

Gettin' It Done

Posi-Tone Records

Images - The Hartford Suite

Images - The Hartford...

Posi-Tone Records


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by John Sharpe
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "If You Have a Dream" CD/LP/Track Review If You Have a Dream
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Okuden
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017