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Art Davis
A Time Remembered,  Jazz Planet CD JPCD-5001-2 (69:01)

The doctor is back

In  A Time Remembered Art Davis has assembled a fine quartet to produce a clear example of how timeless an art form jazz truly is. The legendary bassist, who has performed with everyone from Thelonious Monk to Bob Dylan to David Murray to Hank Williams, delivers a fairly straight-ahead collection of original compositions and jazz standards.

Davis earned a scholarship at the Juilliard School in New York but returned home to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, before finishing to care for his ailing mother. He formed his own band there and played with renowned jazz players like Sonny Stitt and Kenny Dorham who passed through. Later he joined the Max Roach band, then went on to practice with John Coltrane, who wrote his classic "Giant Steps" during this time. Instead of joining the Coltrane band, however, Davis took a two year stint with Dizzy Gillespie before joining with the NBC Staff Orchestra in 1961. In the early seventies he went back to school, earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1982. He continues to maintain a professional practice in Southern California. This represents just the third recording of Davis as a band leader, despite such a long and prestigious career.

Beginning with Monk’s classic "Evidence," Davis immediately proves he’s selected a most competent supporting cast. The steady Herbie Hancock shows his usual brilliance and mastery of the piano, but it is the two younger musicians who demonstrate why this recording works so well. Born in 1965, Ravi Coltrane is the second son of John and Alice Coltrane and he exhibits great promise to follow in his father’s giant steps. On drums is the steady Marvin "Smitty" Smith who recently replaced Jeff "Tain" Watts in The Tonight Show band. (Do jazz drummers need to have nick names in order to play on late night talk shows?) Perhaps it is this combination of the young and seasoned professionals that makes this collection so fresh and yet familiar. The CD is a well-balanced mix of up tempo, foot-tapping cuts like Davis’ "Everybody’s Doing It" and "Art’s Boogie" along with smooth, well-conceived ballads such as Billy Strayhorn’s "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing" and Cole Porter’s "Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye." These latter two contain a clear reverence for the composer and, at the same time, provide the musicians with enough latitude to demonstrate their own improvisational chops.

The CD closes with Davis’ "A Time Remembered, " a three-part suite. The beginning is a slow and mournful march, which transitions into a swinging, up tempo melody before closing with a pulsating stomp. This composition gives the musicians a chance to really groove and end the CD on a high (and maybe optimistic) note.–  Mark Craemer


Ravi Coltrane, tenor and soprano saxophones; Herbie Hancock, piano; Marvin "Smitty" Smith, drums; Art Davis, bass.


Produced by John Koenig. Recorded at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, California on January 14 & 15, 1995.

song titles

Evidence • A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing • Driftin’ • Everybody’s Doing It • Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye • Art’s Boogie • Olé • A Time Remembered

of related interest

Art Davis

Reemergence, Soul Note CD, 1979

 Interplay Life, Soul Note CD, 1985

Copyright © 1997 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.