Aug 8, 2022
Year in and year out, Steve Davis is at or near the top of the trombone category in all the important jazz polls. A veteran writer-performer-educator his career runs from the final version of the Jazz Messengers through runs backing the likes of Jackie McLean and Chick Corea. He has lead any number of bands under his own name, and co-leads the collective One For All. During my time as a member of the Hartford, Connecticut scene, Steve was always a key figure in playing, teaching and organizing important events for the community.
His latest album, Bluesthetic (Smoke Sessions label) presents something of a throwback sound. Steve has put together a group with two old collaborators - vibraphonist Steve Nelson and guitarist Peter Bernstein - and keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, bassist Christian McBride and drummer William Jones III for a swinging set of originals. Nelson, Bernstein and Davis had joined forces for a 1998 album Vibes Up! and return to that unique front line here, with a wonderfully satisfying result.
Podcast 925 is the first of a two-part conversation with Steve, as we discuss the latest album, and he recalls his time working in the Origin and Spanish Heart Band (the latter of which won Steve a Grammy). Musical selections from Bluesthetic include the title track.
Part Two of our conversation with focus on Steve's work with other musicians, his plans for recording in the fall, and his new gig teaching at Berklee in Boston.