Aspiring artists do it all the time. Actors, dancers and musicians alike move to New York from all over the world to make their mark on the world. Composer, Vocalist Jessie Davis is no exception. Having cut her teeth in the Atlanta music scene, Ms. Davis has spread her wings, like her butterfly music company logo illustrates and rolled the dice, diving head first into the artist's meat-grinder that is NYC. No guts no glory, right? How inspiring in these days of “give me something for nothing” instant gratification. Before leaving Hotlanta, she worked with the some of the city’s best artists, producers, and technical gurus to deliver her CD titled “Him and I Gemini”
With a sassy, independent, free spirited persona, Ms. Davis is actually, grounded and quite down to earth and focused on her mission and message. With ‘Him and I Gemini” she lends a clear insight to her musical pallet. Each selection keeps the listener from attaching any cliché label to her style. Frustrating for the passive ear? Perhaps! Intriguing for the active listener? Without a doubt. Ms. Davis brings a diverse and highly attractive style and freshness to her art form.
The opening composition, Little Traces, creates the image of a time when peace, love, bell bottoms, lava mood lights ruled, complete with the rhythmic Disco Shuffle. But wait, Melvin Jones’ melodic trumpet adds diversion from the stereotypical expectation. Yes, the Melvin Jones whose career has taken off with his own critically acclaimed CD in 2011 called “Pivot” and who has been involved in several recent projects with Mr. Tyler Perry.
Can’t Have It All, slows it down to tell the story of love where one who as great deal to offer tells her guy if you want me, you are going to have to get ‘all in” or you will lose me. Willing to give you another chance but he needs to show her more. Classic story? Maybe, but can’t we all take something from this message?
Sometimes the softest voice can deliver the loudest and most clear message. Please Stay says it all. Produced by Atlanta musician and Janet Jackson’s first call drummer, John Roberts, this composition floats effortlessly leaving ample room for Saxophonist Akeem Marable to find the right places and spaces to add his saxophone interpretation. A beautiful and moving composition.
Another love song emerges in a bit of a musical theater style, Lost and Found. Love song or maybe not. Wait on it... Things begin slowly when lamenting about losing a love. Then BAM, Ms. Davis tells us she is OVER HIM by getting happy and swinging hard in a bebopish way. There is nothing like a swinging groove to make the toe tap and melt sadness away. Oh yes, composed and arranged by Ms. Davis. Nice writing.
Next up is a song of honesty and declaration, Don’t Test Big Mama. A woman scorned. Enough said! Done in a Rhythm and Bluesy style.
Yoohoo is where Ms. Davis pays respects to her 1970’s rock and roll influences (think Gary Wright’s Dream Weaver) Rick Lollar shreds the opening with his bluesy, metalish guitar introduction, settling then into a classic driving rock beat. Again, Ms. Davis eludes easy labeling. The lyrics are about being strong and being in control of your life and your journey.
Tribute can always be made to the uniquely soulful Ms. Nina Simone. Go to Hell is not a declaration but a gospel-like message. Wisely, Ms. Davis does her own interpretation and one that Ms. Simone would likely enjoy. Give a listen, message delivered in her own way.
Keeping a respectful eye on the female vocalist who were trailblazing legends, Ms Davis queues up Bessie Smith’s Ginhouse Blues next. Rick Lollar again sets the stage as it should be with his guitar styling yielding to Ms. Davis as they give us the feel of “two artists sitting on bar stools, late at night just going where they want. We just happen to benefit by being there. ENJOY the blues.
Not sure how many collaborations involved Harold Arlen and Truman Capote, but A Sleeping Bee is a gem. Perfect instrumentation with the bass of Kevin Smith and subtle brush work by Marlon Patton. A special note must be made that Mr. Patton’s instrument of choice for his brush artistry is a local phone book. Marlon, yellow or white pages? Either way it really swings!
Thank you Ms. Davis for giving the listener a terrific insight to your expansive talents. There is something for everyone on this recording. Can’t wait to see where this takes you.
Tracks: Little Traces, Can’t Have It All, Please Stay, Lost and Found, Don’t Test Big Mama, YooHoo, Go To Hell, Ginhouse Blues, A Sleeping Bee
Musicians: Jesse Davis Vocals, Chanda Leigh Vocals, Kev Choice, Reggie Carter, Louis Heriveaux, Piano, Phil Davis, Rhodes, Rick Lollar, Guitar, Kevin Smith, Upright Bass, Calvin Palmer, Bass, Henry Conerway, John Roberts, Marlon Patton, Drums and Phonebook, Melvin Jones, Trumpet, , Major Bailey, Trombone, Darryl Reeves, Akeem Marable, Alto Saxophone
Artist's Website: www.jessiedavis.com
These are my comments. I welcome yours.
More Articles in Community Articles
Jon Batiste, Chad Smith, Bill Laswell - M.O.D. Technologies Releases Collaboration Of Three Outstanding Musical Voices
Kama Ruby: Guest Artist. Blue Grass Festival
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Nov 1 at MIT Cambridge, 42nd Season Continues
Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Celebrates Claremont NH 250th Anniversary Oct 26 2014
Pianist/composer Jason Yeager Celebrates 2nd CD "Affirmation" In Concert on Friday, October 24 at The Regattabar
New Music review on Tony Adamo's 2013 release Miles of Blu