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One of the world's most respected and beloved bassists Richard Davis left the grind of New York to teach at the University of Wisconsin in the late 70's. This CD is subtitled "Homage to Diversity," an appropriate description for Davis' music and for his all-embracing approach to life.
As the primary soloist Davis plays arco (bowed) bass on most tunes. In contrast to the generally high-energy feel of his previous records he concentrates mainly on melodic variation. The deep, rich sonority of his instrument becomes a primary message. This CD can also be seen as Davis' personal summary of twentieth century American music with emphasis on soulfulness. Pianist John Hicks accompanies Davis with sensitivity and restraint and contributes concise, apt solos. He is featured on the ballad "Skylark," embellishing it in the spirit of the CD's melodic program. Frank Foster's waltz "Simone" is treated to an extensive workout with Davis and Hicks giving it an extra layer of intensity. Richard Davis, rapper/vocalist, is introduced on C.C. Rider. He will not likely steal the song from Ma Rainey, but for those of us who love Davis we finally get to hear his speaking voice.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.