Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review -- CHRIS DAVIS -- A Night Remembered

Chris Davis
Cellar Live
For many jazz is all about the horns.
If that is the case with you, then you need look no farther than A Night Remembered by Chris Davis. Davis is a fine trumpet player out of Vancouver who does a nice job of surrounding himself with musicians who flesh out the sound, including the excellent piano work of Tilden Webb, work which really comes to the forefront at times on this CD. In particular on the piece Elevation, Webb's piano sings.
Add in the sax work of Mike Allen and the trombone of John Van Deursen, and this CD has the well-rounded brass sound that gives it a 'big band' feel without the big band being on stage.
Tommy Babin buts the bass soul into the works, and John Davis does the drums, particularly notable on the Duke Ellington piece Happy-Go-Lucky-Local.
It comes down to the age-old reality of music here. It might be Davis' name on the CD, but the music is really a collective effort, and that is the case here, where the man with the trumpet is wise enough to give the full band its due.
It helps when you have a piece such as Happy-Go-Lucky-Local clocking in at 12-minutes, plenty of time for everyone on stage to get their time.
But, let's get back to Davis. He can flat out play, and the arrangements here take full advantage of that skill.
Davis' trumpet has a subtle maturity. It is always front and centre wailing out the music, yet it's usually there carrying its share of the load, then breaking out to be the feature of the piece. It's a nice approach that shows Davis has the musical savvy to let the piece dictate exactly what he needs to do.
The maturity of approach here is particularly impressive considering A Night Remembered is Davis' debut.
The music here was recorded off the floor of a live set at The Cellar in Vancouver, and the audience that night was a privileged lot to be part of a fine show. Listeners of this CD should also feel good about what they hear, since this is sweetly smooth, yet full-bodied jazz.
Check Davis out a

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 8, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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