Jesse Davis: On the Sunny Side of the Street


On the Sunny Side of the Street


Jesse Davis (alto sax)


Second Nature (Concord Jazz CCD-4883-2)

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Jesse Davis (alto sax),

Massimo Farao (piano), Aldo Zunino (bass), Massimo “Max” Dall’omo (drums)


Composed by Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields


Recorded: Verona, Italy, June 28-29, 1999


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Jesse Davis has not been as visible in this century as he was in the 1990s when he recorded seven CDs for Concord (this track is from the final one) and had a role in Robert Altman's film Kansas City. "On the Sunny Side of the Street," dedicated to Louis Armstrong, shows off his skills as both player and arranger, with the fine support of the Massimo Farao Trio, his touring group when in Italy at that time. A catchy riff launches this version, as a swaying, kind of delayed-reaction rhythmic pulse kicks in, reminiscent of Ahmad Jamal. Dall'omo's artful mallet work and Farao's sparse yet firm chords enhance the mood as Davis interprets the melody with his singing, lustrous tone, a laudable blend of Bird and Cannonball. As Davis solos, you are struck by his impeccable technique, great taste, and just the sheer virtuosic fluidity of his single-note lines. He can hold his own with any other altoist plying the hard-bop waters. Farao and Zunino acquit themselves well in their solos, with Farao exhibiting a ringing tone and confident two-handed attack, and Zunino sounding eerily like Paul Chambers. This track got a lot of airplay on jazz radio back in the day, and for good reason. Check it, and Davis, out.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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