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...

239

Kris Davis: Lifespan

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Focusing on composition as much as performance, this intriguing programme of originals balances form and structure with free-flowing improvisation. Lifespan is an album that sneaks up gradually; there is much to recommend in this set which is long on lyricism, short on unnecessary displays of technique. The members of this group can play and they know it; consequently the emphasis is on taking the compositional frameworks that newcomer Kris Davis provides and expanding on them in ways that shows everyone's abilities while being, at the same time, somehow selfless.



A Canadian who moved to New York in 2001, Davis has been gradually insinuating herself into the downtown music scene and has, for this release, surrounded herself with a fine group of established players. Saxophonist Tony Malaby, who has played with artists including Joey DeFrancesco, Mario Pavone and Marty Erlich, has a lyrical approach that is just left-of-centre enough to keep things interesting on the oblique "Jo-ann." Trumpeter Russ Johnson, most recently heard on violinist Jenny Scheinman's stunning Shalagaster , delivers a sinuous solo on "Even Eivind."

Bassist Eivind Opsvik, who has worked with Carla Bley, Marc Copland and Craig Taborn, is a progressive player who carefully balances lyrical invention with tighter ensemble work. Reed player Jason Rigby and drummer Jeff Davis round out the group, with Davis delivering a rhythmically charged solo over Opsvik's ostinato on "Nein."

Davis has a writing style that has already, at this early stage, developed into a unique sound. Her material would fit comfortably within an ECM context; while there is intensity to be found, the overall approach is more inward-looking. While not averse to more expressionist leanings as evidenced on the modal workout "Endless," her compositions are more inclined towards the impressionism of "Argyha" and "Lifespan." With the power of a sextet at her disposal, she is also capable of chamber-like delicacy on "Travel Far."

Her work leans more to a European approach; still, she manages to display her roots in the American tradition on "The Epic." Her playing shows the influence of Mal Waldron, but is less overtly rhythmical; she demonstrates a free style that owes something to Marilyn Crispell, but is lighter, more delicate; there is also a romantic side to her playing that differentiates her from these sources.

With a distinctive left-leaning compositional and playing style, Kris Davis is establishing herself as an artist of note. Lifespan is an auspicious debut that also shows off her abilities as a bandleader; by putting the music first she demonstrates a remarkable musical maturity that can only bode well for the future.

Visit Kris Davis and Fresh Sound New Talent Records on the web.

Track Listing: Jo-ann; Argyha; Travel Far; Lifespan; Even Eivind; Nein; Endless; The Epic

Personnel: Kris Davis (piano), Tony Malaby (tenor sax on "Jo-ann" and "Argyha," soprano sax on "Even Eivind"), Russ Johnson (flugelhorn on "Jo-ann" and "Even Eivind," trumpet on "The Epic"), Jason Rigby (tenor sax on "Endless" and "The Epic," soprano sax on "Travel Far," bass clarinet on "Jo-ann," clarinet on "The Epic"), Eivind Opsvik (acoustic bass), Jeff Davis (drums)

Title: Lifespan | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Duopoly

Duopoly

Pyroclastic Records
2016

buy
Save Your Breath

Save Your Breath

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy
Massive Threads

Massive Threads

Thirsty Ear Recordings
2013

buy
Capricorn Climber

Capricorn Climber

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy
 

Aeriol Piano

Clean Feed Records
2012

buy
 

Aeriol Piano

Clean Feed
2011

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May24Fri
Michael Formanek Elusion Quartet
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-22
May24Fri
Michael Formanek Elusion Quartet
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-22

Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019