The Cory Weeds Quintet Featuring Steve Davis – Let’s Go! – Cellar Live

The Cory Weeds Quintet Featuring Steve Davis – Let’s Go! – Cellar Live CL 0133013, 74:00 ****:

(Cory Weeds – tenor saxophone; Steve Davis – trombone; Tilden Webb – piano; Ken Lister – bass; Jesse Cahill – drums)

Although the tenor sax and trombone front line combination might seem to be a natural fit, there have in fact been few such affiliations since Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer did their first sessions back in the 1950s. Cory Weeds has found a perfect partner in Steve Davis, and this live session recorded at Smoke Jazz Club in New York in January 2013 swings out with an affinity that these two players generate.

Over the last several recordings, there has been an interesting transformation in Cory Weeds’ tenor playing. He has become more searching in his improvisations and self-assured in his style. Trombonist Steve Davis is predominantly a hard-bop player in the tradition of J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller with an adventurous spirit. Together there is a symmetry in their efforts and the strong rhythm section propels them along. The session starts with a little-known Ray Bryant original “Tonk” with a unison chorus of Weeds’ tenor and Davis’ trombone followed by a robust solo from Davis which Weeds then picks up the theme with a burley offering. Bassist Ken Lister penned “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” which is an up-tempo number with a bluesy lilt that is arranged with plenty of space for each of the front-line players to express themselves with pianist Tilden Webb demonstrating some solid single-note playing. Ross Taggart was a tenor saxophonist of some note in Canada, but primarily on the West Coast. He died in January 2013, but one of his signature ballad tunes “Thinking Of You” is performed here with reverence by the band with each member waxing with astonishing feeling.

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote “ Younger Than Springtime “ for the musical South Pacific and it has found it’s way into the jazz songbook. The band takes a medium-tempo approach to the composition even though it was written as a love song. However it survives none the worse for wear confirming that the band is a group of superbly gifted musicians. Trombonist Steve Davis composed and arranged the final track “Close To Home” which opens with a buoyant frame and showcases the nimbleness of the band, confirming that they are a brawny and responsive aggregation.

This is a straight-ahead band who show a collective sense of commitment to the music.

TrackList: Tonk; Something Borrowed,Something Blue; Rabbit Run; Thinking Of You; Not So Solid; Younger Than Springtime; Let’s Go! Tetracosmos; Close To Home

—Pierre Giroux

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