Chick Corea has been instrumental in shaping the musical identities of many artists and trombonist, Steve Davis is no exception. As a member of Corea's successful ensemble Origin, Davis has been an extraordinary sideman contributing his great slides to a variety of brilliant sounds. With his debut release for Corea's Stretch Records, Steve Davis has stepped into the spotlight with PORTRAIT IN SOUND and through his virtuosity as a trombonist, composer and producer, leads a highly adept, harmonic set that engages the listener from beginning to end. Joined by vibraphonist, Steve Nelson, co-producer and Origin band mate, Steve Wilson, pianist David Hazeltine, Nat Reeves on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums as his core ensemble, Steve Davis offers seven original compositions for our listening pleasure. The group covers the classic standards, "I'm Old Fashioned," "Darn That Dream," and debuts the newly-penned Corea composition, "Shadows," which features the excellence and superior range of special guest artists, world-class bassist Avishai Cohen, the maturity and class of drummer/percussionist Jeff Ballard, and the highly acclaimed pianist Brad Mehldau. In addition to playing alto saxophone on the program, Steve Wilson plays alto flute on "I Found You," and together with Davis, Avishai, Jeff, and Brad, the young veterans display their commitment to musical excellence. Davis' diverse talents are also commendable for pairing the trombone and the vibraphone. This is especially interesting on the title track, "Portrait In Sound" and "Samba D" and any suggestion of incompatibility is dispelled by their impeccable focus on these songs. PORTRAIT IN SOUND instantly reveals Steve Davis as an expert trombone player who communicates his musical visions with instinctive self-confidence as well as technical expertise.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein