In the changing world of jazz there are issues that remain unchanged. Among them is the recognition that the most talented musicians generate through years of shows, recordings and collaborations with other artists. This is the case of Steve Davisconsidered one of the main trombone improvisers, owner of a powerful and lyrical style, with more than 20 albums to his name and hundreds of recordings as a sideman.
This versatility is what allowed Davis, born in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts; not only build a career as the leader of his own groups, but also join historical formations. Among them the Jazz Messengers de Art Blakeythe sextet Origin of Chick Coreathe bands of Jackie McLean, Horace Silver y Freddie Hubbard o to Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsaliswith which he recorded his last visit to Buenos Aires up to now.
Now, in a new return to the city of tango, Davis is preparing to perform his first shows with Argentine musicians and will do so over four performances, between Friday and Saturday at the Bebop in Palermo, together with the orchestra he directs. Mariano Loiacono and in which a good part of the best that local jazz offers is enlisted.
For the occasion, Loíacono prepared a special repertoire, more closely linked to the bopero style that the guest frequents. “Let’s do something Thelonious Monksome of Benny Golson, Billy Strayhorn. I am also fixing a very nice theme by Steve called Song of my love; which is beautiful, like a lighter funky. It will be a slightly more modern repertoire than what we usually do, because he has a aproach more bopero”, explained Loiácono.
On the other side of the line, Steve Davis nods with his host and assures that he arrives with very good references on the local jazz scene. “I am very excited to play with Mariano and these young musicians. With great expectation and convinced that we will put on a very good show”, he tells Infobae Culture.
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—Steve, after so many years on the scene, more than 20 albums as a leader and at least a hundred participations in records of colleagues, what do you continue to find in this music? What are you passionate about jazz to continue on the road?
-That’s a good question. What keeps me inspired are the great musicians I have had the opportunity to play with. Jackie McLean, Freddy Hubbard, Art Blakey, Jimmy Heath, Curtis Fuller. Wherever you went, they were always the youngest spirits on a stage. By case Sheila Jordan, who is still 94 years old today, and continues to have such a special light every time he sits down at the piano. The same thing happens to me when I arrive in a country like Argentina and I meet musicians as young and talented as Mariano and those who make up his band. That is what inspires me and always motivates me to continue learning and to be a better musician every day.
—Jazz has a strong tradition born in the United States, but today it is a universal music, enriched by the scene of each country. How do you position yourself at that crossroads between tradition and modernity?
—I love knowing what happens in different cultures outside my country. I think the spirit of jazz is always to welcome music from other parts of the world and incorporate it into the language, rhythm, jazz melodies. Many times in New York, I have been able to play with musicians from other countries and I am always curious about what they do. Know where it comes from what they show. I ask. I want to know. I want to learn. The great masters, like Blakey Charly Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Stan Getz; They were always interested in other cultures, in music from other parts of the world. And you have to follow his example.
—You were part of the last stage of the iconic Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. What did that experience mean to you?
-It was incredible. I got to be in the last eight months of the group. I was very young and for me it was lifelong learning. Art taught from the drums. Not with words. From his instrument he taught how to play. In those years Art had a diminished hearing, he was almost deaf in one ear, but it was still enough for him to hear everything that was happening around him.
—Despite this influence, in your discography you paid tributes to other drummers like Max Roach and Elvin Jones, but not to Blakey.
—In that tribute to Max, the producer was Willy Jones and he was the one who decided that tribute. In the case of Elvin, I’ve played with him, that’s why that tribute album. But let me tell you, there is indeed an Art Blakey tribute record. But it is not so well known because it was only published in Japan. we did it with the group One for Allin which they were Eric Alexander in tenor, Jim Rotondi on trumpet, David Hazeltine on piano, Peter Washington on double bass, who was later replaced by John Webber, Joe Farnsworth on drums and me on trombone. All dear friends.
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—Speaking of transcendent groups, what importance do you attribute in your career to Origin, the Chick Corea sextet that you joined in the late 90s?
—I really appreciate the question, because if you didn’t name it I was going to do it. I love that band. The music of Origin It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever played in my life. You could play the bebop idiom and it worked. But at the same time it was super melodic. Amazing. For me Chick was not only a great influence, but also one of the most talented musicians i have ever met. I remember that we were coming on the plane to Buenos Aires and he was sitting next to Avishai Cohen, the bassist; and he began to compose Armando´s Tango. When we landed I already had the theme finished. We did a pass at the sound check at the theater and the next day we already did it at the show. Chick was a brilliant mind.
—Now, instead, the star of the show is going to be you. What expectations do you have of this meeting with the Argentine public?
“I’m really excited.” Not only for meeting once again with the Argentine public but also for being able to play with Mariano and the excellent musicians that make up his band. Anthony Hart He spoke very highly of these musicians and generated a lot of expectation in me. I know that there is an important history of jazz in Argentina. I know a lot of musicians here who have been to New York, like Diego Urcola y Andres Boiarsky and I learned from them. In addition, the double bass player Matt Dwonszyk, who was a student of mine and was playing there with very good references. But don’t forget also that I was twice in Buenos Aires. One with Chick Corea and the other Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra. And I also remember that the food was very good (laughs). So we will certainly put on a very good show.
*Steve Davis with the Mariano Loiácono Big Orchestra. Mariano Loiácono, trumpet and direction / Gustavo Musso, alto sax / Sebastián Loiácono, tenor sax / Mauro Ostinelli, tenor sax / Andrés Tarditti, baritone sax / Joaquin de Francisco, trombone / Ramiro Penovi, guitar / Pablo Raposo, piano / Mauricio Dawid, double bass / Alejandro Beelmann, drums / Julia Moscardini, voice. Friday 13: 8:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. / Saturday 14: 8:00 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. Bebop Club. Uriarte 1658. Palermo. Tickets: www.bebopclub.com.ar