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 when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.