Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

133

Kris Davis: The Slightest Shift

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
The Slightest Shift is young Canadian-born pianist Kris Davis' second release as a leader, following her acclaimed 2004 debut, Lifespan. Joined by her husband, drummer Jeff Davis, the ever reliable bassist Eivind Opsvik and the ubiquitous saxophonist Tony Malaby, this recent New York resident reconvenes her sympathetic working ensemble to investigate a new set of abstract post-bop compositions.

Davis' contrapuntal, open-ended writing avoids routine devices like conventional chord changes and head-solo-head arrangements with a neo-classical sensibility. Favoring gnarly, interlocking linear structures, Davis subdivides her compositions into cells, allowing individual players to alternate roles as accompanist and soloist at regular intervals. Each member routinely trades angular melodies, abstruse rhythms and advanced harmonies that challenge and complement their peers, making this one of the most satisfying group efforts of recent vintage.

An intriguing mix of influences, Davis' singular pianism is never derivative. Subconsciously revealing her classical training, touches of Ligeti and Bartok hover in the margins of her phrasing. Gliding gingerly over the keys, extracting pleasingly unique melodies and harmonies, Davis invokes the graceful delicacy of Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett on "Jack's Song." Skittering up and down the keyboard with linear virtuosity on "Once," she pounds out harsh clusters and jarring blocks of sound as capably as Don Pullen or Marilyn Crispell.

Drummer Jeff Davis plays his kit with an alert responsiveness, less a traditional rhythm section accompanist than a creative colorist and spry agitator. Opsvik makes a great addition to the husband and wife team. His melodically assured tone and inventive phrasing provide just the right balance between freedom and form to support the shifting undercurrents of these intricate compositions.

Tony Malaby seems to appear everywhere these days. A chameleonic soloist, he has an uncanny knack for finding just the right sound for each and every session, from delicate lyricism to unhinged frenzy. Sumptuous swinging refrains on "35 Cents," impressionistic balladry on "And Then I Said" and rapturous, vertical caterwauling on "Once" reveal his sonic palette.

An exciting, imaginative new voice, Davis uses her self-effacing writing as a dynamic model of democratically balanced improvisational structures. The Slightest Shift is another document in the nascent discography of an up and coming new artist. Don't let this one pass you by.


Track Listing: Bloodwine; And Then I Said...; Once; 35

Personnel: Kris Davis: piano; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Jeff Davis: drums.

Title: The Slightest Shift | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Fresh Sound New Talent


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Gledalec" CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Rev" CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Live at PafA" CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Entremundos" CD/LP/Track Review Entremundos
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 29, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!