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Jeff Davis: Leaf House

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Drummer Jeff Davis is among the brigade of broadminded jazz composer-improvisers teeming out of Brooklyn. On his second outing as a leader, he cuts his ensemble down from six musicians to three and replaces his wife, Kris Davis, with Russ Lossing on piano. But his 12-year partnership with bassist Eivind Opsvik remains-they’ve been the rhythm section for bands led by Jon Irabagon, Tony Malaby, Kris Davis, Jesse Stacken and each other-and their mutual experience and empathetic instincts generate welcome cohesion for Davis’ often inscrutable and improvisation-friendly songs. Lossing, long an interactive kindred spirit to omni-curious drummer-composer Paul Motian, likewise never gets lost. Many of the best moments here have an idiosyncratic, faux-sloppy grace to them. What’s missing is a thematic sensibility, not only over the eight songs but within the tunes themselves. They are no greater than the sum of their parts. The parts, however, are pretty great.

Originally Published