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Raul Da Gama writes a brilliant review of Jon Davis “Changes over Time”…

Changes Over Time gives the impression that our ears need to prepare for abject nostalgia but that’s rarely the case on this disc. The twelve works – performed to vibrant effect by Jon Davis, and Davis’ colleagues – Ugonna Okegwo and Jochen Rueckert – go down well beyond the sentimental sonorities, exploring myriad moods and registrations.

Jon Davis Changes Over TimeFor celebratory brightness, there’s Mal Waldron’s Soul Eyes and Just For Fun, which is followed by the contrasting melancholia of the pianist’s version of Las Olas, a beautifully poetic chart that, when played, conjures up visions of the pirouetting and leaping movements of a ballet dancer before the dénouement of the piece touches the heart-strings. Other songs have powerful and expansive narratives that result in the manifestations of imposing manifestations and a panoply of instrumental colours. So vivid are these colours that it feels as if this extraordinary pianist is indulging in muted vocalisations on his beloved instrument.

The piano welcomes partners in Okegwo and Rueckert, a jazzy and lyrical teaming of bass and drums which unites those rhythm instruments with the grand stylistics of the piano. Jon Davis is such a lyrical player himself that it isn’t hard to feel the ‘singing’ quality of his playing. The urgent dramaturgy of his music goes against the pastoral grain of his paginations of the vertical integrations of chord and melodic lines. His touch is flawless and his dynamic is fluttering and delicate. Despite this sensitivity Davis makes use of sinuous ornaments and majestic voicing. Davis provides a vast timbral playground, deftly rendered by his musicianship notably his brilliant instrumentalism (displayed with stunning effect on the solo version of the Beatles Yesterday), all of which is exquisitely captured by producer Marc Free and his trusted engineer Nick O’Toole.

These performances are models of vibrancy and control. The notables (songs) on this recording could hardly have better champions than Jon Davis, Ugonna Okegwo and Jochen Rueckert. The recording of each of these songs captures the grandeur and character – in all its subtlety – of the three virtuosos. Well done Posi-Tone Records.

Track List: Soul Eyes; Just For Fun; Las Olas; Changes Over Time; Yesterday; Klutz; Jazz Vampire; The Peacocks; It’s For Free; My Cherie Amour; Slowly But Surely; Waltz For U.

Personnel: Jon Davis: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass: Jochen Rueckert: drums.

Label: Posi-Tone Records
Release date: December 2015
Running time: 54:30






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Music and More reviews Jon Davis “Changes Over Time”…

Changes Over Time



Jon Davis – Changes Over Time (Posi-Tone, 2016)

Pianist Jon Davis has performed in a wide variety of settings from rockish fusion to big bands and jam sessions. On this recording he leads a fine mainstream trio with Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Jochen Rueckert on drums. They open the album with the classic Mal Waldron composition “Soul Eyes” with the band taking the music at a medium loping tempo. The music is played in a very classy and melodic fashion and the band has a rich sound that takes up quite a bit of space. “Just For Fun” has a subtle cymbal rhythm from Rueckert leading Davis to respond with strong percussive piano that drives the band forward and swings hard with rippling and confident playing from the keyboard. There is an excellent bright sound to this performance that carries through to the end. The title track “Changes Over Time” has some excellent thick bass from Okegwo and develops a bouncy and funky vibe, with the trio playing jazz that is expressive and straightforward with good humor. Rueckert has a short drum interlude, before Davis takes command with hard charging deeply percussive and commanding piano that drives the performance to its conclusion. The wonderfully titled “Jazz Vampire” has Davis taking a slow solo opening probing the music before the bass and drums enter and begin to ramp up the pace. Davis leads with some fast rippling piano and the bass and drums respond making for a full band breakout and an electrifying performance. “It’s for Free” bumps things up again with a nice rhythm from drums and excellent insistent and propulsive bass pushing everything forward, and Davis develops a powerful touch that is akin to McCoy Tyner’s early 70’s recordings, layering a blizzard of notes over the proceedings. This was a very well done and accessible mainstream jazz album. Davis has a powerful and exciting way of playing that keeps the music moving briskly forward and Okegwo and Rueckert complement him very well, either supplementing or soloing the group works as a united whole and deserves to be heard.


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Gina Loves Jazz reviews Jon Davis “Changes Over Time”

Jon Davis – Changes Over Time

Jon Davis "Changes Over TIme"New York-born pianist Jon Davis, longtime member of the band of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius, releases his third album for the Posi-Tone label called “Changes Over Time”. And he opens his set with an ebullient interpretation of the Mal Waldron classic “Soul Eyes” infusing it with panache and ease.

His band mates are bassist Ugonna Okegwo, longtime member of Tom Harrell’s band, and drummer Jochen Rueckert, both excelling in their roles as accompanists and supporting the leader in swinging, flexible style, as on the original “Just For Fun” which is a bright and shining piece with grooving motives and harmonically adept inklings. The trio moves slowly and elegantly on the Pastorius composition “Las Olas”, full of beautiful changes and colors. A great piece. And the title track is just that, a joyful and witty excursion into time changes, a sizzling piece that comes right out of the funky groove box with an infectious drum solo by Jochen.

Jon, who has played with the likes of Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and Milt Jackson, doesn’t shy away from The Beatles, too. The solo piano piece shows him in plaintive, restrained mood and displays his inventive ideas. The intro to the fancy “Klutz” is a lot of fun, too where you just don’t know where the track is going to lead until bass and drums chime in for another greasy beat turning it into a swinger with more of those hilarious changes. The modern jazz image that the leader is painting on “Jazz Vampire” is extremely fiery, blustering and fierce and again, makes a lot of fun to listen to.

The way Jon revisits the Jimmy Rowles classic “The Peacocks” is just astounding. It becomes an extremely soulful and elegant piece with an assertive groove line and thus turning it into one of the most dignified versions I’ve heard of this often-covered song. There is more, intense and hollering playing on the twinkle-toed “It’s For Free” where the free-wheeling backup by Jochen behind the leader’s headstrong and whimsical lines is really stunning. And I really like the choices that Jon made when it comes to the covers: In addition to Mal Waldron, Jimmy Rowles, and The Beatles, he chose Stevie Wonder‘s “My Cherie Amour” which is a nice change of pace here, all beauty and sensitivity with much emphasis on the actual lyric of the masterpiece.

Rounding out this well-balanced 12-song set are two more originals: a midtempo, swaying “Slowly But Surely” walking on intricate and entertaining path, and the exhilarating “Waltz For U”, dedicated to bassist Ugonna and displaying more of that funkiness and class of the leader.

matthias kirsch

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Step Tempset reviews Jon Davis “Changes Over Time”…

step tempest

Pianist Jon Davis has a new CD. Titled “Changes Over Time“, it’s his 3rd for PosiTone and 7th overall as a leader. The program follows the pattern on his 2015 release “Moving Right Along” (my reviewhere) with its combination of originals and smartly chosen “covers”,  a 12-song program that ranges from “pop” standards such as “My Cherie Amour” and “Yesterday“(the only solo performance on the disk) to jazz standards such as Mal Waldron’s ever-so-funky “Soul Eyes” and Jimmy Rowles’s “The Peacocks.”  Davis also dips into his good friend and former employer Jaco Pastorius’s repertoire with a handsome reading of “Las Olas” which the late bass player composed for his Big Band as well as performed with Flora Purim and Herbie Hancock.

Joining Davis is bassist Ugonna Okegwoand drummer Jochen Rueckert, both musicians with such a subtle sense of touch and really big ears. They can deliver the funk as they do on the title track (1 of 7 composed by the pianist), negotiate hair-pin changes with aplomb (as they exhibit on the splendid “It’s For Free“) and play quietly but with strong musicality (shown to best example on the Rowles’ piece.)  The musicians play with grace and ease throughout the program; nothing feels forced or over-baked.  When you have such strong “chops”, it’s not unheard of to just show off one’s technique.  But Davis and company sound like they are having a great time with this music, having fun, which translates to the joy of the listening experience.

Changes Over Time” (which will be released on 1/29/16) is a delightful hour of music that one can sit down and fall right into from the opening note to the closing seconds of “Waltz For U.”  Close your eyes and you might feels as if you’re in a lovely salon or intimate concert hall and Jon Davis is playing right in front of you. This CD is yet another example of how the Piano Trio category is far from played out!

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Another AAJ review for Jon Davis “Changes Over Time”…







Jon Davis plays with a richness of soul, exhibiting a well versed jazz character that can go from Jaco (whom he worked with for several years), New Orleans swamp, and freedom jazz dance, to Stevie Wonder, and back. Although he doesn’t try to sound like Bill Evans, he did pen a tune called Waltz for U, named for the trio’s bassist Ugonna Okegwo who was perhaps tiring of the challenges of playing in so many of Davis’ multiple time signatures and took to this groove right away. Evans named his “Waltz for Debby” after his niece. Davis named his after one of the most beloved upright bassists on the scene, having worked with jazz greats too numerous to mention. (I wonder if “Waltz for Scott” was even in the running?)

Okegwo does provide that second leg necessary in any great jazz trio. His sound is rich and earthy, and well suited to Davis. Jochen Rueckert rounds off the group on drums, providing a complement to Davis’ genius- level musings on piano. Rueckert is a character who can go from a Jerry Granelli sounding trio drummer, to the authorship of the long running “Read the Rueckert,” to a music programming alias named Wolff Parkinson White.

Davis was able to add a fresh spin to the standard, “Soul Eyes” that opens the set. I don’t recall any other version of this song with a 7/4 swamp vibe, but that’s how we start the album, which fittingly “resolves” to a sharp 4 over 5 sound. And that’s all just to whet our appetite for how Davis can apply his incredible jazz vocabulary across a spectrum of sounds.

For example “Just For Fun” started off as “Confirmation” but ended up in the relative minor, with “a cool descending chromatic harmony for the A sections.” It became a favorite oft-requested song of his band, who are just guys who like to have fun, right? 

“Las Olas” speaks to the richness of Davis’ knowledge and experience in jazz, since it exquisitely pays tribute to the great Jaco Pastorius, his former band mate. According to Davis “This is one of the lesser known Jaco Pastorius masterpieces. I think he was probably thinking a little bit of the Herbie Hancock tune with a similar feel, “Speak Like A Child,” which Jaco recorded on his debut record. This is another one named for a location in Jaco’s home state of Florida.”

Other highlights include “Klutz,” that starts off with an angled piano intro, mixes in hints of Monk, and explores disjunct elements between two piano hands. “Jazz Vampire” came after listening to modern classical and 12 tone music, and takes some giant steps towards a new type of composition. Or perhaps due to his frequent late night gigging, it speaks to caffeine abuse, but I’m speculating.

There’s much more to discuss, such as a Stevie Wonder “reharm,” something that’s “swampy-light funky” called “The Peacocks” and even a tune for Posi-tone producer Marc Free.

Track Listing: Soul Eyes; Just For Fun; Las Olas; Changes Over Time; Yesterday; Klutz; Jazz Vampire; The Peacocks; It’s For Free; My Cherie Amour; Slowly But Surely; Waltz For U.

Personnel: Jon Davis: piano; Ugonna Okegwo: bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums.



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Dan Bilawsky reviews Jon Davis “Changes Over Time”…




While there are no liner notes to accompany pianist Jon Davis’ third date for the Posi-Tone imprint, there’s a quote inside the package, attributed to author Anne Rice, that gets to the heart of the matter: “None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are.” So is personal evolution and growth an illusion? Is development a figment of the individual’s imagination? Yes and no would be the correct answer(s). It really just comes down to perspective. Plenty of people would say that deepening one’s very being is change. Others would argue that change and self-actualization are two very different things. This writer’s take? It’s a semantics-based argument that’s not worth having in this particular instance. Better to focus on the music than wax philosophical.

Changes Over Time is a piano trio date that splits focus almost evenly between familiar covers and originals. That’s not such a novel concept for Davis, given the fact that the same exact thing can be said for One Up Front (Posi-Tone, 2013) and Moving Right Along(Posi-Tone, 2015). But who gives a damn about novel concepts if the music sounds this good?! There’s a level of comfort and sophistication in these performances that eludes most trios, and Davis, who already had it all together when he started his trio run with Posi-Tone, seems to be getting better and better with each date.

Here, Davis breaks in a new threesome on record, teaming up with bassistUgonna Okegwo, who many may remember as the backbone in pianist Jacky Terrasson‘s breakout trio, and drummer Jochen Rueckert, a fluid and swinging presence who’s worked with pianist Marc Copland, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, and plenty of other notables. It proves to be the best lineup that Davis has used to date. These three were made for each other, and that’s obvious from the first notes of the first song on this album—a thoroughly enjoyable, laid-back version of “Soul Eyes” in seven. Davis sounds relaxed and confident while Rueckert and Okegwo set up a million dollar feel. The same can be said for any number of songs on this album—the angular, bluesy, odd-metered title track; The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” reharmonized to suit Davis’ liking; the probing “It’s For Free,” a piece that finds the trio in drive-and-search mode; and a mellow, flowing take onStevie Wonder‘s “My Cherie Amour” included. The list of strong performances goes on and on. Jon Davis’ formula may not be changing from album to album, but his artistry is certainly ripening with each release.

Track Listing: Soul Eyes; Just For Fun; Las Olas; Changes Over Time; Yesterday; Klutz; Jazz Vampire; The Peacocks; It’s For Free; My Cherie Amour; Slowly But Surely; Waltz For U.