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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.

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