(N Glenn Davis, drums; Larry Porter, piano; Dallas Coffey, bass; Dave Sterner, saxophones)
The Berklee School of Music has for some time been the prime college for aspiring jazz musicians, usually having their pick of the best of high school jazz talent. Being based in Boston, with a roster of jazz heavyweights as professors, and with close proximity to the Big Apple and its proving grounds, Berklee has produced many alumni, who after paying their dues, have gone on to major recording contracts.
Raised in Cleveland, N Glenn Davis attended Berklee, and after graduation and spending time in New York, he returned to his home town. Playing regularly there, he also found time to get a Masters degree in Music Education. Graham Carter, owner of Jazzed Media, has given Davis his chance to record for a major jazz label. Glenn has not taken the easy path in just recording jazz classics, as on this CD he wrote all but one of the compositions. He is also generous, giving all his band mates prominent space to highlight their talents – especially saxophonist Sterner, who shines on both tenor and soprano sax. Bassist Coffey keeps steady time and is creative on his bass solos, and pianist Porter has a bright swinging tone. Davis’ drum work is not showy but always in the pocket such as Billy Higgins provided throughout the 50s and 60s on numerous recordings.
The Happy People gets the session off to a great start with its cheerful vibe. Sterner’s soprano abilities are highlighted on Distant Celebration. Monday Night Jam is just that, primarily in a funky setting. Sliding is some updated bop with Porter driving the band on piano.
Ashley’s Samba is dedicated to Davis’ daughter and the moving Eadie is a Lady was written by Larry Porter for his mother who passed away in 2006. It features a mournful, passionate solo by Sterner and some gorgeous playing by Porter.
What sets aside Davis’ maiden effort from many other first time issues from other musicians is a maturity by its leader, who shares the spotlight, and is neither showy, nor indulgent – yet just right in combining lyrical playing with classy arrangements.
TrackList: The Happy People, Distant Celebration, Monday Night Jam, Sliding, In Passing, Ashley’s Samba, Hometown Samba, Passion Walk, Eadie is a Lady, Bright Roads, It’s Late
– Jeff Krow