Xavier Davis Trio: Innocence of Youth

Xavier Davis’ Innocence of Youth (Fresh Sound New Talent) features seven of his tunes, another by his brother Quincy, Tom Harrell’s “Bell” and Miles Davis’ “Milestones,” an underrecorded bop masterpiece. (Xavier Davis was previously employed by Harrell and Betty Carter, both of whom he recorded with.)

Davis has no pianistic shortcomings, uses modern blues ideas very well, is especially strong rhythmically and could rock a house even without a rhythm section. But this CD benefits from the fine contributions of bassist Brandon Owens and drummer E. J. Strickland. The session was excellently recorded and mastered in Barcelona, and the group sounds well rehearsed and dynamic; the members are clearly familiar with one another’s phrasing tendencies and use that familiarity to good effect. The group sounds least comfortable with “Milestones” but still delivers a good performance of it, and Davis’ compositions provide the listener and players plenty of original material to dig into.