Trombonist Steve Davis’ latest disc, his second on that post-bop flagbearer of a label Posi-Tone, is loaded with keen, well-crafted music for a no-nonsense, at times Blakey-style sextet.
Kicking off the CD is an incisive three-horns arrangement of John Coltrane’s 1961 piece Village Blues. Davis, alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo, the brash-young trumpeter Josh Bruneau, and veteran pianist Larry Willis step up with clear statements. Bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Billy Williams, another jazz 20-something making a splash on this CD, calibrate the groove nicely. The followup tune, the disc’s title track, is a faster, more urgent minor blues with a fanfare feeling and charging solos.
Davis’ relaxed two-feel tune Steppin’ Easy lives up to its title. The 1960s pop tuneSunny, the disc’s other cover along with Village Blues, has plenty of nice forward motion. For a study in contrasts, pit Alike, Davis’ suspended-time ballad for himself, with The Beacon, the funky, electric-bass blues that follows.
Longview is a sleek swinger, and Wishes takes the disc out with a waltz that while on the mellow side, features Willis and Davis playing with plenty of poise.