Steve Davis: Gettin' It Done (2012)
Trombonist Steve Davis has never had a problem getting things done. He instantly joined the slide-wielding elite when he graduated from the Hartt School's Jackie McLean Institute in 1989 and joined up with drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. That gig jump-started his career and he's never looked back. Stints with McLean and pianist Chick Corea followed, helping to raise his profile within the jazz community, and a steady stream of sideman work, leader offerings and dates with the collective super band known as One For All, along with teaching responsibilities at his alma mater, continue to keep him in constant motion.
While it's exhausting just trying to keep up with Davis' work and accomplishments, he doesn't seem to have trouble taking it all in stride. Davis gets the job done every time he picks up his horn and this date is no exception. For the appropriately titled Gettin' It Done, he put together a horns-plus-rhythm group that swings like mad and churns out solo after exciting solo.
Davis focuses on his own compositions on this date, but includes a pair of covers that come from vastly different sources. Saxophonist John Coltrane's infrequently played "Village Blues" kicks things off and gets the solo juices flowing. Drummer Billy Williams has a little bit of Elvin Jones in his swing feel on this one, and pianist Larry Willis has a vague hint of McCoy Tyner in him, but nobody apes the original recording. Bobby Hebb's covered-to-death "Sunny," which pops up mid-album, still pleases after all these years and the band sounds like it's having a blast with it.
The other six tunes put Davis the composer on equal footing with Davis the performer. "Gettin It Done'" is a thrilling burner, while "Steppin' Easy" is a carefree number that lives up to its name, "Alike" is a pleasant ballad that puts Davis' warm and focused tone on display, and "The Beacon" is a funky journey that proves to be an album highlight.
In this age of lengthy albums, it's rare that an artist leaves you wanting more, but Davis does just that. Gettin' It Done is another sterling date from one of today's treasured figures of trombone.
Track Listing: Village Blues; Gettin' It Done; Steppin' Easy; Sunny; Alike; The Beacon; Longview; Wishes.
Personnel: Steve Davis: trombone; Josh Bruneau: trumpet, flugelhorn; Mike DiRubbo: alto saxophone; Larry Willis: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Billy Williams: drums.