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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 love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.