Steve Davis: Bluesthetic

Trombonist's session with Peter Bernstein and Christian McBride forges no new paradigm but will please many who like straightahead modern jazz


Trombonist Steve Davis has spent the whole of his professional career in the best of company, kicking off as a member of the last edition of the Jazz Messengers having been recommended to Art Blakey by his tutor Jackie McLean. He recorded with both the drummer and saxophonist, leading to a spell with Chick Corea, preceding the inevitability of leading his own groups.

For this release Davis assembled a group of well-seasoned musicians, no strangers themselves to leadership, with Christian McBride having a particularly high profile at this time from leading his own excellent big band. The results thankfully are what one would hope for, giving us a session that makes no waves but will bring pleasure to many who like straightahead modern jazz.

All the compositions are supplied by the leader, a no-nonsense trombonist who never steals the limelight from his esteemed colleagues, throughout a programme of toe-tappers, ballads and bluesy options. Almost without exception, the group are impressive collectively and in their solo outings.

Those who are drawn towards the previous work any of the individuals involved should find something to please them here.

In these days of faddish fusions and genre amalgamations, what a pleasure it is to be confronted by contemporary music delivering nothing more than unadulterated jazz.

Encouragement; Silver At Sundown; Maybe So: Bedford Strolle: Faraway Dream; They Wore 44; Off The Cuff; Indigo To Azure; Bluesthetic; A Star For Chick (63.42)
Davis (tb); Peter Bernstein (g); Steve Nelson (vib); Geoffrey Keezer (p); Christian McBride (b); Willie Jones III (d). NYC, 8 February 2022.
Smoke Sessions Records SSR-2202