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Steve Davis Quartet with Larry Willis: Alone Together

Davis has been compared to trombonists such as J.J. Johnson, Slide Hampton, Carl Fontana and Curtis Fuller, but he’s really his own man, with a distinctive, rich sound, a relaxed style with just enough fire, and enough technique to meet any challenge. For his 10th CD as a leader, Davis is joined by pianist Larry Willis, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Eric McPherson-like Davis, all former Jackie McLean sidemen.

Davis excels in his stop-and-start exposition of “Milestones,” on which Willis contributes a quick-fingered solo replete with interesting ideas. For “My Foolish Heart,” the trombonist deepens his tone in a heartfelt treatment that is solely his, savoring the melody with little embellishment. “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” includes a spirited and imaginative Davis solo, and Willis also sparkles in his varied, ever-building solo. McPherson tastefully improvises here as well. Davis is forceful and inspired on “Alone Together,” and Willis delivers a solo typically full of unpredictable twists and turns of phrase. “We’ll Be Together Again” receives a graceful and tender interpretation.

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