All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Billie Davies: On Hollywood Boulevard

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
There could not be much more of a musical, emotional or just vibe difference than that between drummer Billie Davies' latest album On Hollywood Boulevard and her previous project, Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon.

However, although they inhabit completely different worlds, both projects had a very long gestation and originate in Davies' reactions to specific events in her life, the latter to her interaction with painter Serge Vandercam, while the former to living in the Historic Hollywood Hillview Apartments on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

The essence of Hand In Hand is the mystery of art and the creative process as expressed in "pure" music, and which deeply affected this listener.

On Hollywood Boulevard, on the other hand, is much more concrete, especially since there are many vocals and talk by IRIS P. who, it must be said, has a terrific voice (she is likened a lot to Erykah Badu). The album has a distinct "pop" feel with Oliver Watkinson's throbbing electric bass placed front and center, with the versatile Evan Oberla on synthesizer, electric keyboard and yes, trombone. Davies herself sounds to be in the back and the much simpler drumming (much of the time, at least) of this "groove" music is rather dryly recorded.

The issue of whether a listener who has never been to, much less lived on, Hollywood Boulevard, and armed with only vicarious (and flimsy) knowledge of the place, can relate to the experiences Davies is trying to recreate. It is clear that Hollywood Boulevard is a place of strong contrasts —lots of big money next to an evident seediness, beautiful sunshine and climate next to the ugliness of panhandling, drug abuse and pimps —with the musicians, and other entertainers, trying to do their thing in the middle of it all.

There is a strong stream-of-consciousness feeling to the proceedings and a lot of echo/reverb which helps to create a sense of a dark, somewhat dangerous underbelly being present despite (or because of?) the natural beauty surrounding it.

In the end, the success of On Hollywood Boulevard rests on whether it accomplishes what it set out to do, which here is recreate through music the vibe of a particular place as experientially remembered by Davies. In that it most definitely succeeds.

Track Listing: On Hollywood Boulevard 1; The Girl In The Window; Jacaranda; Yellow Sunshine; Palm Trees; Hollywood Boulevard; On Hollywood Boulevard 2

Personnel: Billie Davies: Electric Drums; IRIS P: Vocals; Evan Oberla: Electric Piano, Synth, Trombone; Oliver Watkinson: Electric Bass

Title: On Hollywood Boulevard | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read From Silence to Somewhere CD/LP/Track Review
From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 21, 2018
Read The Questions CD/LP/Track Review
The Questions
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 20, 2018
Read Meerkat Parade CD/LP/Track Review
Meerkat Parade
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Everybody Loves Angels" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Loves Angels
by Henning Bolte
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review In Transit
by Kris Perdew
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "A Wing Dissolved In Light" CD/LP/Track Review A Wing Dissolved In Light
by John Sharpe
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Poetry from the Future" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry from the Future
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 5, 2017
Read "Kingdom" CD/LP/Track Review Kingdom
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 20, 2017