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Mel Davis: It’s About Time!

Twenty-five years ago, a factory machine’s motorized belt grabbed hold of Mel Davis’ left hand and tore a finger off. Many years and numerous operations later, Davis struggled to train himself to play the keys in a new way, using his left hand for the bass and his right for chords and melodies, opposite of the way he initially learned and contrary to the style of most pianists. The accident also caused Davis to switch from the acoustic piano to the Hammond B3 organ, which he found responded better to his technique.

Davis now performs in and around his home state of New Jersey, and anyone who has seen him can vouch for his unique and robust skills. Davis, who has performed on CDs by guitarists George Benson and Ronny Jordan, keeps the groove snappy on his latest CD, the first he’s produced and second to feature Jordan’s recognizable guitar riffs.

It’s About Time! mostly aligns itself with the smoother side of things, and Joe Sample’s bouncy “Cordon Bleu” is the best of the bunch. But Davis, Jordan and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix display rapid chops on Jimmy McGriff’s “Heavyweight” and Davis’ gravelly, nasally vocals add originality to Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles.”

Originally Published