Steve Davis – Gettin’ It Done – Posi-Tone Records PR 8099, 57:14 ****
(Steve Davis – trombone; Josh Bruneau – trumpet/flugelhorn; Mike Dirubbo – also sax; Larry Willis – piano; Nat Reeves – bass; Billy Williams – drums)
Hard bop lives. Well perhaps not the edgy version practiced by Art Blakey and Horace Silver in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the softer-sided sound as evidenced on trombonist Steve Davis recording entitled Getting’ It Done.
With his liquid-sounding trombone heading the front line, Davis has put together an eight tune session, of which six are his own compositions. The two cover pieces are John Coltrane’s “Village Blues” and Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny”. On the former, the band dives into the fray to deliver a finger popping performance with everyone taking a solo turn. With the latter tune, Davis sets the pace with the rhythm section digging in led by pianist Larry Willis. Often under-appreciated, Willis has found his own voice as evidenced by his recent solo piano album This Time The Dream’s On Me, which was reviewed here on May 15.
As for his own compositions, the title track “Getting’ It Done” is well-named, as the band shows its cohesiveness on this hard-hitting and swinging number. There is great musicianship on every track with “Steppin’ Easy” a perfect example of a sleek excursion into a great groove. The other members of the front line, altoist Mike Dirubbo and trumpeter/Flugelhornist Josh Bruneau are wonderful complements to Davis’ cool layered tone, all of which results in an effortlessly enjoyable session. While most of the numbers swing along, the band does show some sensitive moments on the ballad “Alike”. This is truly a Davis showcase which features the tender side of his playing, with pianist Larry Willis again confirming that he merits attention.
Although this is not an everyday working band, it does play with imagination and consistency, all of which makes this album a worthwhile listen.