Larry Davis

Blues Knights

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This, despite the appearance, is not a duet album. Instead, this captures a session from November 20, 1985, with guitarists Larry Davis and Byther Smith fronting the same studio band consisting of guitarist Maurice John Vaughn, bassist Douglas Watson, drummer Julian Vaughn, and tenor saxophonist A.C. Reed. As Bill Dahl points out in the liner notes to the 1994 Evidence reissue Blues Knights, the two frontmen keep true to their essential style, with their supple supporting band following suit. As such, the four Davis cuts are pretty relaxed and jazzy, usually quite alluring but at times a little sleepy. The Smith sessions drive harder with some up-tempo shuffles and swinging grooves offering a nice change of pace (and it sounds like the band welcomes shifting the tempo a little bit, too), but that doesn't necessarily make it a greater session; both musicians acquit themselves well by offering a bit of what they do best. This does not mean that they're at their best -- they simply are doing what they do, and since they're good at it, it's pretty enjoyable. Ultimately, this is just a curiosity for fans of either Davis or Smith, and while it's nice to spin once or twice, it's not something they'll put on a whole lot, either.

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