Bar code: 8427328424448
"Greeley, Colorado native Jeff Davis is a mainstay on New York Citys creative music scene, his textural, highly illustrative drumming elevating releases by Robin Verheyen, Jesse Stacken, Kirk Knuffke and others. Davis prior releases, Leaf House and We Sleep Outside, tended towards the free and abstract, his drumming explosions and experiments like kindling aiding a rhythmic fire of punctuations, pops and sizzles.
Davis Dragon Father, is similar in spirit but expanded to a quintet with Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Oscar Noriega (alto sax/clarinet), Russ Lossing (piano) and Eivind Opsvik (bass). The music again teeters between abstract journeys and in-the-pocket pulses. No matter how far out this quintet explores, swing is their common currency, whether its nearly trad or as out as Albert Ayler. Recorded at Cornelia Street Café in New York City in March 2013, the music is beautifully rendered.
After much jockeying and soloing the quintet arrives at a swing pulse punctuated by unusual accents in opener Dirt Farmer. Spicy Water recalls water dripping from a faucet, shimmers of subtle group melody played in unison with brushed drums. The quintet slowly shakes up the songs through-composed melody, a rubato breakdown of growling cornet and stuttering alto leading to a delicate piano solo. At one point in the tune, Davis and Opsvik play an amazing rhythm that sounds like two small animals wrestling for dominance. Dragon Father continues with the zigzagging eighth-note pulse of May 16th, horror soundtrack experimentation leading to a kind of Latin overdrive in Pavilion of Temporary Happiness and closes with the lovely title ballad, which wouldnt be out of place on a Paul Motian album, played straight and open, allowing the simple melody to shine and flourish. This closes a heaving, to-and-fro album on a grand note, the calm after the storm."
-Ken Micallef (November, 2014)
The New York City Jazz Review
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