Richard Davis - bass / Marvin Peterson - trumpet / Clifford Jordan - tenor sax / Paul Griffin - piano / David Spinozza - guitar / Freddie Waits - drums
recorded: September 14, 1973
Whenever there is a "first" go with something, you have to make it special. Every time I have new needle or cartridge for my turntable, the first record played has to be considered carefully. Think of it this way: as great as a $14 Grüner Veltliner may be on a hot, summer day, you wouldn't choose that wine to toast the beginning of some grand, new venture. You'd pop a wonderful Champagne or some rare, Slovenian orange wine or the best Nebbiolo you could get your hands on. You want to season the pan correctly for future use. So, the first record dropped for me is, more often than not, either by John Coltrane or Prince. This will be the first music post for our new website (rah! rah!), so the same methodology applies... and those of you who know my musical inclinations won't be shocked to see Richard Davis listed here.
There's Mingus and Blanton. The list is long: Reggie Workman, Ray Brown, Cecil McBee, Jimmy Garrison, Charlie Haden, Ron Carter, Gary Peacock, William Parker, Oscar Pettiford and let's not forget BedStuy's own, Bill Lee... the list could go on all day, but Richard Davis. That's where it's at. He played with everyone. He was a regular with envelope pushers (Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin, Archie Shepp, Andrew Hill) to swinging big bands (Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra). He backed the legends (such as Sarah Vaughan), worked with "classical" composers (Igor Stravinsky) and anchored the band for Van Morrison's iconic folk-rock Astral Weeks. He has a number of recordings under his own name, covering a variety of styles: "Epistrophy & Now's the Time" (hard-driving, free jazz), "Harvest" (pastoral, symphonic jazz?), "With Understanding" (earthy, verging on soul jazz) among many others, which are fantastic. THE pick though, is "Dealin'" - which is in the neighborhood of Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay" or Herbie Hancock's "Fat Albert Rotunda". Funky electric bass (and often keyboards) and soulful, hard-driving bluesy horns straight out of Chicago's Southside (from where Richard hails)... full of joy and somberness; humor and seriousness... and deep passion.