Davis’ Voice Hearkens Back to Lost Era
April 13, 2006
“IT’S A GOOD THING”
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To: Jamie Davis
From: Dick Bogle
Re: Davis Fills National Void
Jamie, you have no idea how happy I feel when I listen to your new release, “It’s a Good Thing.” The only thing I could suggest is that it should be named “It’s a Great Thing.”
That’s because you came along at a time when many of us dearly miss the baritone voices of Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock, Johnny Hartman and Milt Grayson. Although you remind listeners of those wonderful balladeers, you are not an exact copy and that is very cool.
You kick it off with a nice get-acquainted tune, the upbeat “Isn’t She Lovely.” My first thought was, “This guy has got promise.” I skipped to the ballad, “The Very Thought of You.” That confirmed my hopes — here is a Black man withmy favorite kind of voicewho sings with dignity and passion.
But lurking was the challenge of track No.7, Thelonious Monk’s “Straight No Chaser.” I asked myself, “Can this ballad master handle what Monk puts down?” Off the top, your upper-range scat made me say, “Oh Yeah!”
Even with the band blowing full bore, I could hear clearly every word you sang. I read where you, in 2000, began singing with the Basie band. It’s evident you brought along some of those players for this project. They more than handle the sublime arrangements of your several arrangers.
It’s nice to know you have a sense of history and tradition by taking on the classics, “Alright You Win” and “Everyday I Have the Blues.” One more thing Jamie, please have someone send a copy to KMHD radio in Gresham, Ore. I am only on their air once a week for three hours, and you deserve to be heard far more often than that.
Now, go break a leg!
SHERRIE MARICLE AND THE DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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This is a fine big band tributetoTommy Newsome, who was a member of and arranger for Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show band.
The leader, Sherrie Maricle is the drummer and kicks the band right along as they play all Newsome arrangements. The opener, “Titter Pipes,” is up-tempo and was in Benny Goodman’s book when he took his band to Russia in 1962. Scheila Gonzalez is featured on a robust tenor solo.
Pianist Chihiro Yamanaka is brilliant on “Pensativa.” Saxophonist Lisa Parrott teams with trumpeter Jamie Dauber to add life to Newsome’s arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday.”
Yamanaka provides the piano opening to a delicious Nat Cole medley of “Mona Lisa,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “Route 66.” There is even a group vocal on “Straighten Up and Fly Right.”
This is an excellent band, a great successor to the International Sweethearts of Rhythm of many decades past.
“BILL EVANS PLAYS FOR LOVERS”
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Bill Evans is best known for his lyricism.
He’s truly in that element on this compilation, with 11 tracks calculated to ease tension, soften a mood and open the door to romance.
It’s all recorded in trio settings with Evans, bassist Scott Lafaro and drummer Paul Motian as the basic group.
Sam Jones, Teddy Kotick, Chuck Israels, Philly Joe Jones and Larry Bunker also are heard on various cuts.
Tunes include; “When I Fall in Love,” “Spring is Here,” “Blue in Green,” “My Foolish Heart” and more.