Steve Davis


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By necessity, jazz trombonists tend to be inspired by music of the early jazz and swing eras, because the instrument lost favor around the time bop became ascendant and all young jazz fans wanted to become either Charlie Parker or Miles Davis. Massachusetts-born, New York-based trombonist Steve Davis bucks that trend, however: he's a post-bop player all the way, down to covering Jackie McLean's Parker tribute, "Bird Lives." (Guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove contributes an outstanding, fluid solo on this track as well.) Update is a small-combo date featuring Davis and Hargrove in front of a four-piece rhythm section, with a song selection featuring two by Wayne Shorter, a lovely rendition of Billy Strayhorn's underappreciated gem "Daydream," and a cool, Miles-like take on Ray Drummond's little-known composition "Leanin' and Preenin'" that shows off a killer walking bassline by Nat Reeves. Unexpected song choices, smart arrangements, and Davis' excellent, understated playing make Update one of Davis' strongest albums as a leader.

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