Jesse Davis: The Setup

Jesse Davis is yet another contemporary alto player whose conception and tone owe much to Cannonball Adderley. Nonetheless, on The Setup (Alltribe), his eighth album as a leader, Davis has developed a mature musical personality of his own within that general stylistic mode. With a hearty, expressive tone and a stomping beat, he works over a repertoire that includes up-tunes, Latins, blues and ballads. His expressiveness is especially evident on the latter, which include a poignant reading of J.J. Johnson’s classic “Lament.” On the swingers, however, such as the charging, uptempo “The End of a Love Affair,” it’s hold onto your hat. Davis’ ability to swing hard is enhanced by the presence of a stellar rhythm section anchored by the propulsive bassist Ray Drummond and including drummer Donald Edwards and guitarist Peter Bernstein (there is no piano). A fluid, imaginative bop-style virtuoso in his own right, Bernstein also serves as a formidable frontline partner. His attractive tone and highly developed melodic sense are on full display on the ballad “The Very Thought of You.”