by Hrayr Attarian
Saxophonist Charles Davis' paean to his late wife, For the Love of Lori, is more of a musical celebration of her spirit than a requiem. Sure, there are moments of intense sorrow and nostalgic melancholy but they are enveloped in positive, swinging creativity. On What'll I Do?" for instance, Davis' wistful soliloquy is filled with reserved anguish and enveloped with elegant lyricism. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli's muted, soothing tone marks his intricate improvisation while trombonist Steve Davis' soft, resonant ...read more
by Dan Bilawsky
Coping with loss is never easy. Some are completely defeated by the death of a loved one, choosing to retreat into isolation. Others prefer to reflect, celebrate the life that was lived, and play on. Saxophonist Charles Davis is part of the latter group. Davis lost his wife--Lori Samet-Davis--in April of 2012, but he didn't let that loss break his will to create. This album, a straight ahead display of artistic expression and affection, is given up in tribute to ...read more
by Terrell Kent Holmes
Saxophonist Charles Davis has spent the past few decades making history with such luminaries as Billie Holiday, Kenny Dorham, Abdullah Ibrahim, Clifford Jordan, Dinah Washington and Freddie Hubbard. Although Davis might be best known as one of the baritone players in the Sun Ra Arkestra, his many recordings and excellent performances outside of the Arkestral context have helped to establish him as a truly great musician. At 75, an age where other players might be slowing down a bit, Davis ...read more
by Elliott Simon
In the shrinking world of legendary" jazz performers, all star sessions and one-offs are the norm. This release is a rare treat that gives a real look-see at saxophonist Charles Davis in the context of his working band. Davis, with his baritone sax, was part of the seminal Jazz Composer's Orchestra and early groups fronted by Sun Ra. Among a host of other top-flight ensembles, he also anchored the reed sections for saxophonist Ben Webster and trumpeter Kenny Dorham. His ...read more
by Jim Santella
Baritone saxophonist Charles Davis started out with Sun Ra in the early 1950s. Along the way, he’s paid his dues in the big bands of Clark Terry, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Illinois Jacquet and Lionel Hampton. He first played “Blue Gardenia” with Dinah Washington in the late ‘50s. As a leader, he’s only issued a few recordings: Dedicated To Tadd (West 54, 1979), Super 80 (Nilva, 1982), and Reflections (Red, 1990).
Now 70, Davis continues to exercise his ...read more
by R.J. DeLuke
There’s a difference between the elder statesmen in jazz and the newer firebrands, no matter how talented. One is the former’s ability to take their time to tell a story. They’ve been around life and they’re not in a rush. Like Dexter was. And Prez.
Out of that mold is 70-year-old Charles Davis, displaying his rich tenor sax sound and strong baritone sax work on his new CD Blue Gardenia, titled as much for his admiration for Dinah ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
Charles Davis is one of those musicians who has capably plied his craft for over 50 years, working alongside disparate characters like Sun Ra and Thad Jones while garnering little or no commercial recognition for his meager but excellent output as a leader. On Blue Gardenia everything about Charles Davis and his playing smacks of hard bop from the '50s and '60s. What kind of sound does he have? Imagine if Dexter Gordon had played baritone saxophone rather than tenor. ...read more