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JAZZ REVIEW : Davis Gives a Bass Lesson at Catalina

August 06, 1993|LEONARD FEATHER

Bass player Richard Davis, whose quintet opened Tuesday at Catalina Bar & Grill, has done it all--working under Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein, gigging with Eric Dolphy and Stan Getz, playing in the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis big band.

With his great tone, Davis, appearing through Sunday, can cut through a group's sound, commanding immediate attention. He's liable to switch suddenly, as he did in the middle of a Cecil Bridgewater trumpet solo, from plucking to bowing, glissing wildly up and down the span of the strings.

Opening with Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa," Davis continued with Charlie Parker's "Confirmation," with adequate work by Bridgewater and former Art Blakey tenor saxophonist Jovan Jackson. Both horns were in good shape on Horace Silver's "Strange Vibes"--the trumpet muted and Jackson making better use of space.

Donald Brown's piano would have had greater impact had the drummer, Ronnie Buriage, cut down on the volume. In fact, almost every tune seemed to include a barrage from Buriage.

In a welcome switch to the ballad mood, Jackson played Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," to which he added complex and generally valuable variations.

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