While beating the drum of nobility with jazz considered to be a musical art form of the highest calling let us bring it back to earth for just a moment. Jazz much like any genre of music is a business first and foremost. Units sold = paying the rent which means the ability to work on the next release, a vicious circle but it is what it is. Consistency is key not only for a record label in these shaky economic times but for an artist as well. Pianist Jon Davis announces his presence with authority on One Up Front, his debut release for Posi-Tone with sophisticated jazz harmonies and a diverse set list to showcase a keen melodic sense and an innate swing often missing from the more traditional piano trio format.
A sonic exploratory.
Take the wildly imaginative reharms and originals from Davis and add the lyrically fluid all most Eddie Gomez like performance of bassist Joris Teepe and the controlled sonic fury of drummer Shinnosuke Takahashi and the end result is the traditional piano trio on steroids. Most trios find the bass and drums as an obvious after thought as the more recital oriented performance by the pianist takes center stage. One Up Front takes a more unified approach as this formidable trio bangs out and transcends the straight ahead to embrace a more soulful and soul filled approach that drift into the realm of the funky yet modern vibe often left for more contemporary players.
The Jon Davis tune "This Joker's A Smoker" is what it is...A burner with a pulsating groove and technical prowess coming from the left hand while the right comps the rhythm adding texture and flavor to ride just above the walking bass line of Teepe and the percussive nuances of Takahashi. The iconic Cole Porter tune "You're The Top" is taken at a breakneck pace with rich sonic colors and a harmonious union of all three voices. Closing the release with arguably the most famous Charles Mingus tune, Davis does a blues infused riff on this timeless classic that is nothing short of spectacular.
Posi-Tone has a stable of top flight pianists that need to shift just slightly to make up for the new shooter in town. Jon Davis could have taken the easy way out with a release full of the expected covers and that would have been fine. Instead, Davis takes the sonic road less traveled and delivers one of the more inspired piano trio release over the last several years.
In terms of criticism...how do you criticize perfection?
Tracks: Strollin'; How Deep Is The Ocean; Candid Camera; This Joker's A Smoker; No Kiddin'; One Up Front; You're The Top; My Ideal; Sir Dude; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.
Personnel: Jon Davis: piano; Joris Teepe: bass; Shinnosuke Takahashi: drums
Street Date 06/18/13