Art Davis has made his place in jazz history secure by being one of
the best and most respected bass players over the last four decades.
He has played with some of the greatest names in the business; Count
Basie, John Coltrane, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Theolonius
Monk, Louis Armstrong, and Coleman Hawkins to name a few. He also
did stints with the NBC Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
Not only is Davis respected for his work in music; he also has made
his mark outside of the realm of music. He has helped many people
with his work in the field of psychology (PhD), and he is also an
author. His 1975 book "The Arthur Davis Method for Double Bass" is
one of the finest instructional works for the instrument. I think
its safe to say the man wears many hats, and all with the flair and
distinction of a true artisan.
"A Time Remembered" (1995) is one of the few recording ventures that
Davis took flight as a solo artist on. Most of his recorded works
are found sprinkled among the elite of jazz history, as he was one
of the most sought after jazz bass players in the land. He is accompanied
by some of the best of the new and old blood of jazz on this outing.
Ravi Coltrane (saxophone), son of John Coltrane, steps in to fill
his fathers shoes, and makes his own way with his forthright playing.
The elder Coltrane had spent hours playing with Davis long before
Ravi was born. Herbie Hancock (piano), whom is known as a world-renowned
composer and pianist, joins Davis as part of his meeting of the jazz
gods as well. And Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums), whom has played with
such performers as Sting, takes the seat behind the drum kit.
Each track on this CD is a standout jazz gem. "Arts Boogie" is a real
toe taper. Davis shows why he’s been in such demand on the standup
bass in that number. Throughout the entire session Hancock’s piano
is subtly interlaced amongst the rest of the music, and he is able
to get your attention by being clear, disciplined and in control behind
the keyboards. He plays out some lovely chord progressions, and in
so doing lets everyone know why he became such a well-known composer
and musician. Ravi Coltrane at the time was becoming a seasoned player,
offering up some smooth and textured soprano and tenor saxophone.
His role in the scheme of things is one that is very supportive and
equally influential. Davis admiration for Smitty is evident; he plays
off of the nimble drummer’s backbeat with smooth precision to form
a solid rhythm section. Each member of this group is a leader in his
own right, making this that much more incredible and miraculous with each passing moment.
The session ends with a three-piece suite that runs for fifteen minutes.
Sorrow/Uplift/Joy takes time to feature the musicians as individuals
while showing how they blend their magnificence within the group structure.
Some of the greatest jazz compositions of our time are covered. Strayhorn
(A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing), Monk (Evidence), and Porter (Ev'ry
Time We Say Goodbye), are all paid tribute. This is hailed as one
of the best albums of 1995. There is no doubt in my mind why it was.
This recording is not only a historical mirror of jazz; it stands
as a towering achievement by a gathering of jazz legends.
The D.A.D. sound replication is as usual fantastic. I did notice an
imperfection between each track. A popping sound, one that is very
similar to what you would hear between songs on a vinyl LP, is present.
This is the first time I have ever heard any noticeable imperfection
in the normally flawless recording process of D.A.D. discs. I wouldn’t
let that minor audiophile perfectionism get in the way of you enjoying
a classic jazz recording though. Its something that can be ignored
easily, as the focus is the music itself, and that my fellow audio
enthusiast is what its all about.
1. Evidence (Monk) - 7:17
2. A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (Strayhorn) - 7:59
3. Driftin' (Hancock) - 7:18
4. Everybody's Doing It (Davis) - 6:57
5. Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (Porter) - 8:45
6. Art's Boogie (Davis) - 6:44
7. A Time Remembered: Sorrow/Uplift/Joy (Davis) - 14:41