Roger Davidson has roots that run to the more classical but his passionate approach to his craft is what grounds this composer/pianist and finds his music with the ability to penetrate the heart of even the most cynical critic. While Davidson has that chameleon like ability to adapt and perform styles including the tango, bossa nova, samba and even sacred choral music, We Remember Helen is a salute to the legendary manager and producer Helen Keane. It was largely due to the encouragement of Keane that Davidson pour his heart and soul into jazz and thankfully Davidson had an open mind not to mention an open heart.
Keane was best known for her seventeen year association with the legendary Bill Evans, produced Davidson's first jazz release Ten to Twelve in 1991. We Remember Helen finds Davidson and a stellar trio of David Finck on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. Perhaps the most amazing aspect to this recording is that Davidson brought in the lead sheets while all the arrangements were hashed out in the studio. Of course when you have a trio comprised of a bassist David Finck whose musical resume includes Herbie Hancock and Dizzy Gillespie and drummer Lewis Nash who was a key component with Tommy Flanagan then the arrangements are essentially cake, a musical walk in the park which is the irony of the serene sound this trio captures on this delightful date.
A release that could have bordered on the more melancholy finds an intimate texture of organic rhythms and a rich harmonic base that is far from what might be expected with a typical tribute recording. Highlights include the great Irving Berlin standard "How Deep Is The Ocean" along with the fitting Bill Evans gem "Waltz For Debby." Davidson's original contributions including "A Tune For Helen" and "We Remember Helen" are fitting tributes finding their own place somewhere between cool jazz and a more introspective feel given "We Remember Helen" was written shortly after the memorial service.
We Remember Helen is a touching tribute to a special person that not only touched the life of Davidson but made her own lasting legacy in the world of jazz as well. We Remember Helen is a celebration of music as well as a celebration of a life lived and Davidson does his mentor proud!
Tracks: Yesterdays; What's New; Whisper Not; Charade; A Tune For Helen; We Remember Helen; Beautiful Love; How Deep Is The Ocean; Soul Search; Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho; Dance of Faith; The Way He Captured You; Early Autumn; All The Things You Are; Waltz For Debby.
Personnel: Roger Davidson: piano; David Finck: bass; Lewish Nash: drums.