Recorded in 1991 under the auspices of the legendary jazz producer, Helen Keane, these sessions are finally released to wide critical acclaim. Jazz Times raves, “His composer’s mind creates highly original interpretations of jazz standards and he writes some credible jazz statements himself.”
Combining standards and a few originals, Roger Davidson’s classic piano, bass, drum trio is a sublime recording.
“Few pianists from the classical field have been brave enough to venture into the freewheeling world of jazz; fewer still have shown any sign of the rhythmic spontaneity and flights of imagination that jazz piano requires. But Helen Keane, the legendary jazz record producer who managed Bill Evans for decades before she died in 1996, heard in Roger Davidson a musician with that flexibility.” James Gavin.
Musicians: Roger Davidson, piano
David Finck, bass
Dave Ratajczak, drums
And featuring * Charles Descarfino, percussion
March 2006 Vol. 36/No.2
The story of this album starts with the late Helen Keane, whose place in Jazz history is secure as the producer and manager of Bill Evans. In 1987, she heard classical pianist/composer Roger Davidson performing one of his own concert pieces and encouraged him to play Jazz. Four years later, in 1991, Keane produced these 11 tracks with bassist David Finck and drummer David Ratajczak. Although Davidson has since released other Jazz recordings, this first one got "tucked away" until now.
Keane was right. Davidson is an impeccable player, and Finck and Ratajczak make sure that he swings. His composer´s mind creates highly original interpretations of jazz standards, and he writes some credible jazz statements of his own. "Autumn Leaves" is twice as long as any track here because it is such a comprehensive examination, and Davidson finds a different meaning in each chorus. "I should Care" is also a very personal reading, faster and harder than expected.
In fact, everything Davidson does is hard with percussive assertion, even his own wistful ballads. This is a thoroughly satisfying recital, and one reason is the vivid recorded sound by Keane and engineer Ron Allaire. The world would be a better place if Helen Keane had been able to achieve sound like this for Bill Evans.
The Musicians’ Ombudsman
Knowing that the legendary jazz producer Helen Keane produced this disc lends some credence to the idea that this CD should be listened to. Miss Keane didn’t waste her time on musical projects that didn’t have promise. Jazz pianist Roger Davidson & his trio have much promise, & I can’t resist associating his efforts in a positive way to the musical missives of the great jazz pianist extraordinaire, Bill Evans. The essence of swing is manifest in their take of the jazz standard ‘Bernie’s Tune.’
The group under the tutelage of Roger sounds fresh & animated. Their ability to interact sensitively with each other is apparent as they confidently exchange their horn lines with total abandon. This is musical poetry for the well informed jazz-phile!
- George W. Carroll
The first of these CDs is a relaxed and very pleasing 2003 set on which Roger Davidson offers some Latin-tinged takes on classic music from the pen of Richard Rodgers. Sometimes solo, sometimes in duo with bassist David Finck, and also in a trio with percussionist Paulo Braga, Roger pays respectful tribute to the composer, while simultaneously displaying his own inventiveness. Among the songs Roger has selected are 'My Romance', 'Lover', 'If I Loved You' and, aptly enough, 'The Sweetest Sounds'. This music has been around long enough to be considered timeless; Roger´s treatment will help ensure that it continues to live formany more years.
The second CD is mostly of Roger´s own compositions and very good they are too. Once again bassist David Finck is on hand and so too is drummer David Ratajczak, while percussionist Charles Descarfino joins the trio on two tracks. Although recorded back in 1991, this set is released now, late 2005, for the first time. It has been well worth the wait.
- Bruce Crowther
O´s Notes: Roger Davidson is primarily a classical pianist but you'd never guess that listening to his jazz trio. Unlike many classical crossover players, Roger has a sense of swing and improvisational skills that fit well in the jazz format. He wrote most of the tunes on this set. We liked his 2003 release, Rogers in Rio but this one was actually recorded first, back in 1991 being released only now! He has more of the same magic on this CD with a wide variety of jazzy tunes highlighted by the bouncy "Meet Me in Paris", "Ten to Twelve" and a cool arrangement of "Bernie´s Tune".
- D. Oscar Groomes
Nato a Parigi da madre e padre americano, trasferitosi a New York in tenere eta' e da sempre attivo sulla costa orientale degli Stati Uniti, il pianista Roger Davidson fa parte di quella schiera di musicisti di formazione accademica, con una intensa attivita' concertistica nell'ambito della musica classica europea, che hanno sentito forte il richiamo della musica improvvisata fino a condividerne estetica e linguaggio.
Per quanto riguarda l'approccio jazzistico, Davidson si muove nella scia tracciata dal bop piu' morbido, non disdegnando attenzione verso la musica latina, in particolare quella afro-cubana, argentina e brasiliana, come testimoniano le sue precedenti incisioni. Ten to Twelve e' il quinto album che il pianista licenzia per l'etichetta indipendente SoundBrush e, nonostante porti alla luce incisioni di quasi 15 anni fa, risulta essere tuttora fresco, personale, maturo.
Le undici tracce del disco, tra cui ben otto composizioni originali, accompagnano l'ascoltatore in un mondo musicale prossimo a Bill Evans, non a caso Davidson e' stato jazzisticamente scoperto da Helen Keane, l'ultimo produttore del leggendario pianista di Plainfield. Lirismo e predilezione verso la componente melodica caratterizzano l'atmosfera generale del disco come ben testimoniano "Sweet Memory",con la sua gentile andatura, "Ballad for a Future Day", dagli echi romantici, "Pour Me Another", blues lento dalle sorprendenti coloriture timbriche, "Water Lillies", dolce ninna nanna notturna.
Ma non manca di certo lo swing, leggero, sussurrato piuttosto che esibito, che innerva brani come "I Should Care", grazie ad un arrangiamento spumeggiante, o "Meet Me in Paris", frizzante come una coppa di champagne, mentre una versione sontuosa, quasi barocca di "Autumn Leaves" marchia a fuoco un album elegante e di pregio.
Below you can Play samples from the CD.
Copyright © 2015 Roger Davidson