Big-band jazz arrangers are looking to cover new ground while occasionally saluting earlier icons. Drummer Tim Davies contributed the arrangements and seven originals for his debut Origin CD. Davies' writing for the brass and reeds in his setting of Gabriel Fauré's "Elegy" is first-rate, also showcasing Andrew Shulman's cello, and bass clarinetist Jennifer Hall. His take on the Duke Ellington staple "Caravan" (re-christened as "Caravan (-Dalized)," incorporates elements of hip-hop in a somewhat swinging chart, though the inserted vamps add nothing and the arrangement comes off a bit bombastic in spots. Better is "Gubernatorial Recall," a soft shuffle that nods toward Count Basie and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, featuring guitarist Mark Cally's thoughtful solo along with the leader's crisp brushwork. The opening three movements of Davies' "Dream Trilogy" is a mixed bag. "Counting to Infinity" is a shouting blend of jazz and world music, accented by the drone of a didgeridoo. [RoviLink="MC"]"Hanging
by a Thread"[/RoviLink] begins with promise, though it is quickly undone by the addition of rapper M.B. Gordy backed by suitably dull accompaniment. "Dialmentia" never gets unwrapped, a bland theme done in by the rockish rhythm section. But Tim Davies should be encouraged with this effort, even if many jazz listeners would prefer not to hear so many conflicting genres within a single CD.