Reviews that mention Vincent Davis

November 21, 2015

Roscoe Mitchell

Celebrating Fred Anderson
Nessa ncd-37

Rob Reddy

Bechet: Our Contemporary

Reddy Music RED 003

Erik Friedlander

OSCALYPSO

Skipstone SSR 22

Arrigo Cappelleti/Furio Di Castri/Bruce Ditmas

Homage to Paul Bley

Leo Records CD LR 732

Barry Harris

Plays Tadd Dameron

Xanadu Master Edition 906071

Something In The Air: Honoring More Than The Few Famous Jazz Greats

By Ken Waxman

With music like the other arts increasingly focused on known quantities, recorded salutes to jazz greats have almost become a subcategory of their own. If the world needs another record of Beethoven, Mozart, Elvis or Sinatra, then saluting Ellington, Trane or Miles one more time shouldn’t be a dilemma. But more erudite improvisers realize the music’s wider reach, and if they opt to honor innovators, as on the CDs here, choose lesser-known but equally important stylists. MORE

May 9, 2014

Artist Feature

Greg Ward
By Ken Waxman

Back in the heyday of vaudeville, answering affirmatively the question “Will It Play in Peoria?” meant that if an act could impress the audience in that small Illinois town, it was good enough to work nationwide. Ironically enough alto saxophonist Greg Ward embodies that maxim. Before moving to NYC, after maturing his career in Chicago, Ward, 31, spent his teenage years playing every gig he could in his home town of Peoria.

“At that time between Peoria and Chicago there was lots of work for a young player, which was very important,” the saxophonist, explains. Today he’s still kept busy gigging in larger centres, but he doesn’t deny his roots or early associations. On May 16 and 17 at the Jazz Gallery, a septet will premiere his series of composition honoring the 70th birthday of one of his long-time mentors, Preston Jackson. Jackson who is professor emeritus of sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago’s school, as well as a semi-professional guitarist, first played with Ward when the latter was 14. That was three years after Ward had made up his mind to become a musician, despite family pressure to become a doctor. That too was ironic, since both his father and uncle were professional gospel musicians and Ward had been singing gospel music as a three-year-old and studying violin from the age of nine. By the fifth grade he began playing alto saxophone using his father's old Conn. MORE

February 12, 2011

Lest We Forget:

Malachi Favors (1927-2004)
By Ken Waxman

Trickster to the end, when bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut died of pancreatic cancer in early 2004, his daughter revealed that he had actually born 10 years earlier than his previously accepted 1937 birth date. In a way that concluding jape was perfectly in character for the versatile bassist who from the mid-1960s until his death was a vital component of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC). The quintet proved that theatricism in the form of face paint, costumes, so-called “little instruments” and stylistic turns could be the source of profound and searching modern jazz – or if you prefer Great Black Music Ancient to the Future. MORE

October 3, 2007

Roscoe Mitchell’s Chicago Trio

Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo
CODA Issue 335

Vastly dissimilar in attire, the members of Roscoe Mitchell’s Chicago Trio aptly demonstrated to the audience at an almost full auditorium at Buffalo, N.Y.’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery in late April that cohesive improvisation doesn’t demand sartorial consistency.

Suitably dapper in well-cut shirt and trousers, the veteran Art Ensemble of Chicago reedist convoluted harsh split tones, extended circular breathing and touches of foot-tapping melodies into a singular statement on alto and soprano saxophone during two set-long pieces. Alternately whacking or stroking precise tones from his double bass or cello was Harrison Bankhead, resplendent in casual sports shirt and straw boater, who took a position to Mitchell’s right on the well-lit, bare stage. In the middle, using sideswipes and back beats with equal finesse was drummer Vincent Davis, in rustic black turtleneck and jeans. MORE

September 9, 2002

ROSCOE MITCHELL & THE NOTE FACTORY

Song for My Sister
PI Recordings 103

Avant garde jazz fans who remember the 1960s and 1970s have the tendency to come on like moldy figs when they compare the activities of many highly celebrated younger players with the accomplishments of their elders.

Case in point is this CD. For while a few youngsters have been over-praised for merely mastering the intricacies of a particular jazz style -- be it hard bop, modal or even a hip hop take on the New Thing -- reedist Roscoe Mitchell, 62, showcases a lot more.

Mitchell, who plays soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, flute, bass recorder, great bass recorder and percussion on this disc, has also written a set of unmistakably modern tunes that touch on playful R&B, precise swing, Third World anthems, jagged contemporary composition and even Early music. Assisted by eight young and veteran improvisers -- and four more for the “classical” piece -- Mitchell easily slides from one stance and style to another without ever losing his identity or resorting to tonal impersonation. MORE