N. Glenn Davis Trio – What Could Be – Speak Jazz Records SJ002, 51:07 ****½:
(N. Glenn Davis, drums; Mark Soskin, piano; Peter Dominguez, double bass)
We have reviewed – and enjoyed – N Glenn Davis’ two previous CDs for Jazzed Media: Come Right In and A Different View. Those two issues featured Davis with horns, particularly Dave Sterner. Glenn and Dave have recently started their own label, Speak Jazz Records, out of Cleveland. Davis’ new release for his label is a trio setting and features the veteran Mark Soskin on piano. Soskin is well known as having spent well over a decade as Sonny Rollins’ pianist.
Both Glenn and Mark wrote three compositions each for What Could Be. The title track opens with some sparkling piano from Soskin, with Davis locked into Mark’s groove. What is immediately apparent is the recording quality. Davis produced this CD and Kent Heckman mixed and mastered the August 2010 recording at Suma Recording in Ohio. Dominguez’ bass solo is room filling and you can feel the woody tone of the double bass. Fidelity is comparable to some SACD issues.
Brazilian composer, Luiz Eca’s “The Dolphin” follows and Davis’ percussive stickwork stands out while Soskin again has such an innate and winning tone laying out the song’s melody. Soskin’s “Chutes and Ladders” is next and has a Bill Evans’ like feel, as the trio’s cohesive blend is so impressive.
Glenn’s “North Coast” provides Dominguez with the opportunity to take lead and you can almost feel the fingering on the bass strings. This is “comfort food” for the soul, as you really feel an “in the room” intimacy as the trio’s blend is that of true veterans locked into a groove and having fun.
Alec Wilder’s “Blackberry Winter” is a lovely ballad and the brush work of Davis accompanies Soskin’s introspective reading of this gorgeous classic composition. “Night Rain” gives Glenn the chance to show his prowess with the cymbals. Hearing Soskin again shine makes one wonder why he has so few records as a leader with just the two issues I could find on the Kind of Blue label in the last four years. “17 (Seventeen)” and “Little One” both written by Mark deserve airplay and would make great late night listening.
I hope Davis continues to record with this trio as their grouping is first rate. What Could Be certainly is…. Look for this release early in May.
TrackList: What Could Be, The Dolphin, Chutes and Ladders, North Coast, Blackberry Winter, Night Rain, 17 (Seventeen), Little One, Sometime Ago
— Jeff Krow