Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Charles Davis: Blue Gardenia

The infinite fecundity of the jazz art form is such that every valid style within it can provide a language for creativity. Charles Davis speaks the vernacular of ’60s hard bop, eloquently and naturally. It would be very easy to overlook Blue Gardenia. It is a modest little album on an unknown label by an all-but-forgotten 70-year-old journeyman reed player. Its genre and its instrumentation are also unremarkable (postbop mainstream and saxophone-plus-rhythm section, respectively). But Blue Gardenia is one of the great sleeper jazz albums of 2003.

A major reason for its sense of proportion and inevitability is the rhythm section. Cedar Walton and Davis are exact contemporaries, and their hook-up is deeply embedded. Every one of Walton’s piano statements sounds unforced, almost casual, yet is a complete, distilled response to the needs of the moment. The bassist and drummer, Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth, respectively, constantly push this session with their younger, insistent energy.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published