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Steve Davis: Dig Deep

Hard bop lives on Criss Cross, Gerry Teekens bone-solid label from the Netherlands, and the living spirit of Curtis Fuller breathes warmly on the sextet sides of trombonist Steve Davis. Davis-student then colleague (and often bandmate) of Jackie McLean at Hartt College in Hartford, CT-here leads a sturdy session with many regular players in Criss Cross’ Gotham round robin. Davis’ front line of profound delves into the bop book include tenor stalwart Eric Alexander and wistful trumpeter Jim Rotondi.

Among the solid originals are the bright, tight title tune and “One For All,” the genial “Payne Window,” dedicated to baritone master Cecil Payne (with whom Davis, Alexander, and drummer Joe Farnsworth all work), a pretty samba by Davis’ wife, pianist Mary DiPaola-Davis. Telling of true melodic depth are the pivotal duet between trombone and David Hazeltine’s piano on “Detour Ahead” and the pianist’s arrangement of “I Should Care.” Soloists are all capable, and ensemble work is clean.

Originally Published