Jeff Davis (drums) led his band before a packed house at Korzo last night. On this occasion, he was joined by long-time friend and colleague Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), Jason Rigby (tenor sax), and Simon Jermyn (bass guitar). In just over an hour, the band played two originals–the first an extended composition titled “Pavilion of Temporary Happiness” and the second introduced as “a ballad.” Both made room for ample solo and improvisatory work for the musicians.
The first piece was a tour de force; an expose of where contemporary creative music now stands vis-a-vis the myriad points of interaction its practitioners have with other forms, styles, and techniques. A jazz purist might pale at such a complex and diverse sound spectrum, but this is profoundly post-modern music no longer feeling the need to justify or explain itself. The band displayed a deep comfort with all manner of influences including blues, jazz, rock, and even touches of swing that seemed to dwell in relative harmony with one another.
The points of transition between different sections, as well as the shift between composed and improvised sections showed only a hint of anything tentative–the leader propelled this band forward fearlessly with his willing collaborators adding to the mix. The regularly fluctuating tempos made for music that was emotionally engaging, if unpredictable, as it oscillated between diffuse, patient searching and tight togetherness. At times the improvised sections took on a loose ambience with Rigby, Goldberger, and Jermyn working together to produce interesting melodic projections. Searing solos by both Davis and Goldberger pushed the opening piece to its climax. The closing piece revealed a more tender side to the band’s sound, showcasing Rigby’s adept crafting of melody.
Jeff Davis next plays with John O’Gallagher, James Carney, and Michael Bates at Korzo on July 16 at 9 pm.