Billie Davies – 12 VOLT: Avantgardní jazz vysokého napětí
Jan Hocek 8.12.2013
Narodila se v belgických Bruggách, výstřední, avantgardní jazzová bubenice – samouk, neúprosná a explozivní inovátorka jazzového způsobu hraní, teprve od roku 2009 žijící v Los Angeles, to je letošní vítězka prestižních LA Music Awards v kategorii „Jazzový umělec roku 2013“ – BILLIE DAVIES! K tomuto ocenění jí největší měrou dopomohlo její poslední (v pořadí čtvrté) album „12 VOLT“, jež si vydala na vlastním labelu Cobra Basement.
Do Spojených států se dostala Billie Davies až ve svých 32 letech. Předtím, a to od svých 19 let, hrála avantgardní jazz a volnou improvizaci s kdekým po celé Evropě, hlavně Francii, Španělsku a Středozemí. Učila se z nahrávek, na kterých bubnovali především Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Billy Cobham, Peter Erskine, Billy Hart a Jack DeJohnette. Přitom do sebe nasávala různé etnické vlivy, především romskou hudbu. Zjevením pro ni bylo setkání s legendárním kytaristou Ricardem Baliardem, známým však pod uměleckým jménem Manitas De Plata, a s bluesmanem Claudem Mazetem – oba kytaristé také nerespektovali tradiční rytmická pravidla. Dokonce s Romy žila několik let jejich způsobem života, což její bohémskou náturu uspokojovalo natolik, že v pětadvaceti odmítla nabídku legendárního bubeníka Maxe Roache ke studiu na Berklee College Of Music v Bostonu, poté, co ji slyšel hrát v Montpellier na ulici. „Všechna ta vystoupení běžela na dvanáct voltů, takové ozvučení nám stačilo,“ vzpomíná Billie Davies. „Proto se mé album jmenuje 12 Volt. Hudba na něm je inspirovaná vzpomínkami na tohle období mého života, kdy jsem žila co nejblíž přírodě a co nejblíž úžasným lidem, přírodním lidem. Deska je věnovaná všem Romům v Evropě, těm nejúžasnějším muzikantům, jaké jsem kdy poznala. Miluju je.“
Album „12 Volt“ je v amerických médiích řazeno do škatulky „beyond jazz“. V nadšených recenzích se to hemží intelektuálním výrazivem, jako např. „organické esence improvizační hudby“, „melodický minimalismus“, „dokonalé manželství jednoduchosti a složitosti“. S tím nelze nic jiného, než souhlasit, ale co si pod tím máme představit? Citujme ještě jednou samotnou Billie Davies: „Základem mé hudby je samozřejmě improvizace. Pro mne to znamená rozhovor mezi hudebníky a hudebními nástroji, společný emocionální výraz inspirovaný určitým společným pocitem, myšlenkami, pohledem na publikum, posluchače, určitou komunitu lidí. Hledám nová vyjádření, nové rytmy, zkouším najít nový, expresivní a přitom humanistický jazz, avantgardní jazz, přitom plný radosti, jednoduše avantgardu jako takovou.“ O něco podobného se již v roce 1960 pokoušel saxofonista Jimmy Giuffre se svým triem – jeho pojetí free-jazzu pomocí tří na sobě nezávislých nástrojů a vytvoření jakéhosi nového zvuku, trojrozměrného jazzu, připomíná hudbu Billie Davies na albu „12 Volt“ nejvíce. Ta však jde ještě dál – v jejím triu je saxofon samozřejmě nahrazen kytarou, jde přece o poctu romským kytaristům, ale ta není tak výrazově bohatá jako saxofon, takže basista a především ona, s bicími, musí rozšířit výrazové prostředky, jež jsou oproti harmonickým nástrojům pochopitelně omezené. Ale naštěstí pouze zdánlivě. Davies vnáší do své hry až fantastickou tvárnost, napětí a neklid, a to jedinečným užitím činelů a hustě propletených polyrytmů. Basista Adam Levy, rodilý Američan, studoval kontrabasovou hru na universitě (jížní Florida), v 21 letech se přestěhoval do New Yorku a od roku 2004 žije v Los Angeles. Jeho hra je velmi emotivní, zvukově neobvyklá, místy až brutální, především při použití smyčce. Ve tvoření basových linek může připomínat Rona Cartera. Kytarista Daniel Coffend pochází z Amsterodamu, ve své hře vychází z be-bopu a Djanga Reinhardta, ale protože do sebe vstřebal usilovným studiem také blues, reggae, rock, soul a tradiční hru na indický sitar, japonské koto, africkou coru a další lidové strunné nástroje z celého světa, je jeho pojetí jazzu hodně avantgardní.
Album o celkové stopáži 59 minut obsahuje osm autorských kompozic Billie Davies. Pouze v jediné („Tango for Patti“) najdete bubenické sólo jako takové, t.j.osamocené! Ve všech skladbách totiž posloucháte přediva a spletiva a vrstvení tří nepřetžitě sólujících muzikantů, kteří jsou však až kongeniálně geniálně spojeni v jeden jediný tvůrčí organismus a nevyčerpatelný rezervoár neotřelých hudebních nápadů. Některé skladby jsou více avantgardně pojaté (např.hned úvodní „Collioure“), některé méně („Grapes, Plums and Potatoes“, „12Volt“), jiné se vyznačují průkaznějším důrazem na hispánskou melodii a kolorit („Meeting Manitas“, „Gypsy“, „La Sieste“) a třeba „Les Landes“ je až šansonově líbivá. Přičemž ani na jedinou sekundu nepocítíte nudu nebo závan lacinosti či tvůrčí podbízivosti.
Bez zaváhání – jedno z nejpozoruhodnějších triových alb roku!
~Jan Hocek, JazzPort
BILLIE DAVIES - 12 VOLT : HIGH VOLTAGE avant-garde JAZZ
by Jan Hocek
December 5, 2013
She was born in Bruges, Belgium, eccentric , avant-garde jazz drummer - self-taught, relentless and explosive style of playing, jazz innovator, living in Los Angeles since 2009 only, she is this year's winner of the prestigious LA Music Awards in the category "Jazz Artist of the Year 2013" - BILLIE DAVIES! This award helped her to the greatest degree with her last (the fourth one) album "12 VOLT", which was released on their own label Cobra Basement.
Billie Davies came to the United States when she was 32. Before that, from the age of 19, she was playing avant-garde jazz and free improvisation throughout Europe, especially France, Spain and the Mediterranean. She learned from recordings that included drummers such as Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Billy Cobham, Peter Erskine, Billy Hart and Jack DeJohnette. In doing so she got herself sucked into the various ethnic influences, particularly Roma music. Revelation for her was meeting with legendary guitarist Ricardo Baliardem, but known by his stage name Manitas De Plata, as well as with bluesman Claude Mazet - both guitarists also respected the traditional rhythmic rules. Even with the Roma, she lived several years in their way of life, which her bohemian temper satisfied so that at twenty-five she refused the offer of the legendary drummer Max Roach to study at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, after he heard her play in Montpellier on the street. "All the performances ran on twelve volts, such sound was enough for us" says Billie Davies. "That's why my album is titled 12 Volt. The music is inspired by memories of that period of my life when I lived so close to nature and wonderful people, natural people. The music is dedicated to all the Roma in Europe, those most amazing musicians I've ever met. I love them."
Album " 12 Volt " is ranked in the American media in category "beyond jazz" . The rave reviews are teeming with intellectual phraseology such as "organic essence of improvisational music", "musical minimalism", "the perfect marriage of simplicity and complexity". With that, there is nothing but to agree, but what do they mean by we imagine? To quote once more alone Billie Davies: "The foundation of my music is improvisation ofcourse. For me it is a conversation between musicians and musical instruments, a common emotional expression based on certain common feelings, thoughts, communicated to the audience, the listener, a community of people. Looking for new observations, new rhythms, trying to find a new, expressive and yet humanistic jazz, avant-garde jazz, yet full of joy, simply avant-garde as such." Something similar was already attempted in 1960 by saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre with his trio - the concept of free - jazz by three independent instruments and creating a new kind of sound, three-dimensional jazz music reminds Billie Davies on the album "12 Volt" the most. It goes even further - in her trio the saxophone is, of course, replaced by a guitar, it's not about the number of gypsy guitarists, but it is not as rich as the expressive saxophone, bass, and so she mainly with drums must extend the expressive means, which are, compared with harmonic instruments, obviously limited. But fortunately only seemingly. Davies brings to her game a fantastic plasticity to, stress and anxiety, and a unique use of cymbals and densely interwoven polyrhythms. Bassist Adam Levy, American, he studied double bass at the University of South Florida, at 21, he moved to New York and since 2004 lives in Los Angeles. His game is very emotional , sound unusual , sometimes brutal , especially when the loop. In creating bass lines may resemble Ron Carter. Guitarist Daniel Coffeng comes from Amsterdam, in his play, based on the be- bop and Django Reinhardt , but since imbibed by strenuous study also blues, reggae, rock, soul and the traditional play of the Indian sitar, Japanese koto, African coru and other folk string instruments from around the world, is his conception of a lot of avant-garde jazz.
Album of the total length of 59 minutes copyright includes eight compositions composed by Billie Davies. Only one, "Tango for Patti", has the drum solo as such, i.e. isolated! In every song you are listening to is a web of fabric and layering three continuously playing solo musicians who are not congenial to ingeniously combine in one single creative organism and inexhaustible reservoir of novel musical ideas. Some songs are more avant-garde conceived ( for example, just opening "Collioure" ), some less ( "Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes", "12 Volt" ) , others are more conclusive emphasis on Spanish melody and color ( "Meeting Manitas ", "Gypsy" , "La Sieste" ) and "Les Landes" is appealing to the chanson. However, even for one second, you do not feel boredom or a whiff of cheapness or creative pander .
Without hesitation - one of the most remarkable trio albums of the year!
~Jan Hocek, his VOICE
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Billie Davies: 12 Volt (2013)
By C. MICHAEL BAILEY
Published: November 22, 2013
Billie Davies: 12 Volt Drummer Billie Davies' previous recording, All About Love (Self Produced, 2012) was novel and compelling, a trombone trio with the drummer lead. Davies assembled original and standard works, achieving both educational and artistic endpoints. The present recording, 12 Volt, retains the trio format, substituting the guitar for the trombone and pushes the trio envelope out with a moody collection of eight originals, when considered together comprise an avant-garde suite possibly conceived by Grant Green and John Coltrane.
This music is most comparable to Jimmy Giuffre's 1960s trios exploring free jazz using three independent instruments probing jazz's three-dimensional space. Davies directs a very similar interrogation of spatial sound dependence and independent of time. "Collioure" is based on a descending chordal guitar figure, simple and unadorned with brief drum and arco bass support. Guitarist Daniel Coffeng sparsely solos, extending the opening theme. The title piece is a rollicking jam with all instruments hitting their mark. Davies carefully cultivates her cymbals while bassist Adam Levy provides the harmonic roadmap and time over which Coffeng solos most robustly.
"Les Landes" is a good representation of the disc as a whole, an anxious piece with many corners and edges to navigate. Davie's challenge to her band mates is to glide as smoothly as possible about these corners while she stirs the water with her persistent and restless drumming. The mood is dreamy and slightly soporous, a child of Morpheus and honey, preparing a bed of experiences for the listener.
Track Listing: Collioure; Meeting Manitas; 12 Volt; Les Landes; Tango for Patti; Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes; Gypsy; La Sieste.
Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Daniel Coffeng: guitar; Adam Levy: bass.
Record Label: Cobra Basement
Style: Beyond Jazz
~C Michael Bailey. All About Jazz
Dr. Will Smith's Playlist
Review (Avant Garde): “12 Volt” - Billie Davies
By Dr. William Smith
Published: November 12, 2013.
Billie Davies has an interesting story. Her travels have led her to many places. She began her journey in Belgium and grew up singing, writing, and eventually playing drums at the age of 14. After several awards for her artistic creations, she became a DJ at 23 and played in clubs in Germany and Belgium. It was at this time she was offered a grant to study at Berklee College of Music under Max Roach after he heard her audition tape. He felt that she “could learn more fundamental drumming techniques” but he heard “the natural drummer” in her.
She declined the move to the US at that time but became a professional drummer at 25 citing Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Billy Cobham, Jack De Johnette, Ed Thigpen, and Peter Erskine as her biggest influences.
After moving to the US at 32 she settled in Los Angeles, California and became a US Citizen. She recorded with several artists and began to compose music for her own release. Her latest project “12 Volt” was recorded in April 2013 and released in October. It features Daniel Coffeng on Guitar and Adam Levy on Bass.
The pieces on the album are inspired by her life in the wine regions of France where she lived amongst gypsies. The title comes from the 12 volt battery that ran everything electric in the RV where she stayed with local blues jazz guitarist Claude Mazet. She remembers her life among the gypsies and her life in the south of Europe fondly and “It is that bohemian life, that close to nature life... so close that all the music…everything else you do or think becomes….a reflection of it.”
The first selection on the album is reminiscent of Miles Davis’ electric period of the 70s. There are several themes that are stated initially, these are followed by the improvisation section which brings in ideas from the themes that were presented. The piece ends on the same thematic material that it began with. There are some nice dynamic changes in the music and Ms. Davies creates some pleasant colors with her cymbal work. Daniel Coffeng has ample chops to play a variety of styles and his technique ties the variety of ideas together.
Her style is definitely of the avant garde school of jazz which seeks to go beyond the boundaries of the standard elements of music. We are taught that the elements of music: rhythm, harmony, melody and form, are the key foundational elements of music. Well what happens if you remove these elements can you still call it music? Is it possible to remove them completely? This is the debate that has been going on in the jazz community since Ornette Coleman released Free Jazz in 1960.
Ms. Davies is adding her take on that conversation and she brings an interesting offering to the table with her composition “12 Volt.”
~Dr. William Smith, Will Smith's Playlist.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Billie Davies: 12 VOLT (2013)
By HRAYR ATTARIAN
Published: October 29, 2013
Belgium native and Los Angeles based drummer Billie Davies continues to forge her own path in the improvised music world. Endowed with an explorative temperament and unique, yet definite swing sense, Davies pays homage to Gypsy musicians on her fourth release as a leader, 12 VOLT.
Just to be clear, this is not an album reinterpreting guitarist Django Reinhardt's tunes or anyone else's for that matter. It is a cohesive work of bold innovation and free flowing spontaneity in tribute to the unfettered spirit of those individuals. The title track, for instance, opens with Davies' thundering cascade of beats that fall like refreshing rain over guitarist Daniel Coffeng's earthy, slow simmering, chords. Her restless polyrhythms, tempered by the intricately textured, sublime timbres drive Coffeng's electrifying, fiery improvisation along bassist Adam Levy's densely woven rhythmic trails.
One of the thematic threads of the disc is a superb balance of cerebral creativity and a raw, visceral fervor. The passionate "Tango for Patti" is a dramatic piece filled with thrilling harmonic structures and a subtle and effusive assonance. Coffeng's crisp guitar's logical progression echoes over Davies' ardent, sensual rumble and Levy's delightfully angular, percussive bass lines.
The intelligent, spur of the moment extemporizations maintain throughout a definite melodicism. The bluesy "Gypsy" features Coffeng's soulful and mellifluous strings against Levy's agile walking bass and Davies' rocking drums in an enchanting and thought provoking three-way dance. The closer, "La Sieste," meanwhile, is an ethereal and fantastical composition with gorgeously elegiac tones. Davies' dexterous alternation of whispering brushes and tapping sticks, peppered with silent pauses, creates a hypnotic ambience filled with Coffeng's quietly poetic phrasing.
As evidenced on this uniformly intriguing disc Davies thrives in the sparse, collaborative setting of the trio. Throughout her recorded legacy, her partners have changed but her artistic imagination and her inspired ingenuity have solidified and matured. The result is a stimulating, original and singularly satisfying oeuvre that, hopefully, will continue to expand and evolve.
Track Listing: Collioure; Meeting Manitas; 12 Volt; Les Landes; Tango for Patti; Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes; Gypsy; La Sieste.
Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Daniel Coffeng: guitar; Adam Levy: bass.
Record Label: Cobra Basement
Style: Beyond Jazz
~Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz
Billie Davies: 12 VOLT
On the first anniversary of her last CD release: The Billie Davies Trio - All About Love (Cobra Basement: 2012), 'lifelong natural musician' drummer Billie Davies has released another unimpeachable work: BILLIE DAVIES - 12 VOLT. Whereas, All About Love featured some of the music of venerated composers, including Victor Young, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Mongo Santamaria, 12 VOLT features exclusively original compositions of Billie Davies, revealing yet another formidable creative talent in Davies' impressive artistic arsenal; making this an important CD for Davies, since it adds the crucial tyne of 'composer/arranger' to her sterling artistic fork, augmenting fearless innovation, and superlative drumming technique.
For 12 VOLT, Davies employs again the trio setting, but with a significant change in players. On All About Love, Tom Bone Ralls appeared on trombone, and Oliver Steinberg played bass. Now guitarist Daniel Coffeng supplants Bone Ralls, and bassist Adam Levy takes the place of Steinberg. Davies describes 12 VOLT as an ode to Manitas De Plata, the renowned French-born gypsy guitar master, Django Reinhardt, considered the king of gypsy guitarists., and "all Gypsies, Tsiganes, Manouche and Bohemians all over the world," sure to stir wide appeal, and escalating excitement among her expanding music public.
In 12 VOLT, Davies' trio presents a collection of musical images of the world of the Gypsy in portraits of untouched natural beauty, as well as its untouchable rugged other side, seen in the fierce pride and passion of a forgotten, invisible people, and their way of living; heard in the inspiring Gypsy Flamenco music; felt in the fiery guitar, the dancers' movements and expressions; a mountain of vital culture that demands an odyssey to experience; and Davies went, with her 12-VOLT 'Band on the Run"; no APBs, like the McCartney & Wings 1973 model, but free-spirited bohemians that "... went everywhere the wind was blowing..." (Davies), like (Collioure) with its bewitching European artists' light captured in uncomplicated droplets of color from Daniel Coppeng's guitar, and the easy-listening resonance of Davies' polyrhythmic exchanges.
Davies' other signature contribution to the date, beyond drumming ability, and creative energy, is a remarkable facility to remain unhurried, not irrationally exuberant, but attentive to pristine artistic environments, so as not to provoke uneven corruption or distracting, grainy, biases in the fine textures, natural colors, and flowing sequences of sights and sounds she sees, hears and plays back with impeccable sonic balance, and an almost reverential cadence (Meeting Manitas).
Davies' selection of guitarist Daniel Coffeng, and bassist Adam Levy for this project is noteworthy in its astuteness. Coffeng brings extraordinary facility for transition and energetic flow to avant jazz improvisation (12 Volt) with an extended, progressive, detailed solo, alternating between jazz and rock, but always clear and precise, like the sounds of crickets at night time. Coffeng's musical experience is deeply rooted in music cultures which reach into jazz, blues, soul, reggae, through to classical, rock, Eastern music, Latin American and West African music.
Adam Levy is a well prepared and accomplished upright bass player. His mom was "feeding him boogie woogie piano in their home at a very early age." He gets tons of experience from his brother, Mike, who Levy says is a prodigy on bass. Levy pursued a Jazz degree at the University of South Florida where he studied upright bass. He puts his bona fides in play with a superbly conversant passage depicting peacefulness and harmony, never bitter, (Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes) during exchanges with Davies' expressive drums, and Coffeng's descriptive guitar; reviving the intimate stories of Gypsies toiling in the fields; their loves, lives, prides and passions, against the unending rhythmic drumbeat of moving hands and feet.
These two talented players bring to the date, a collective of experience that compliments, and fuels Davies' dauntless search for fertile creative ground to express the varied, but complex experiences unique to her posit as the cutting-edge artist in Neo-Humanistic Expressionist Jazz (Les Landes; Tango for Patti).
But Gypsies can swing too (Gypsy), because Django, "The King" taught them how. They listened, and never forgot. Now sadness, anger, and disappointment are anathema to them: Davies' vivid drumming, Coffeng's uplifting guitar, and Levy's unassailable bass notes, all say so in their precise rhythmic footprints that revisit musical paths Davies traveled while living, and loving the gypsy life all over the South of Europe; footprints now leading toward exciting, unexplored, far-reaching musical frontier space for her muse to continue that restless, relentless quest to create and give musical ears and voice to what is not there...yet!
~CJ Bond, JAZZ MUSIC
BILLIE DAVIES "12 VOLT"
By: Stepanie Reisnour
Published: October 1, 2013.
"The bohemian beatnik drum stylings of Billie Davies reverb from cymbal to kick drum with the intuitive jazzy drifts of a true drumming savant. Her album, 12 Volt, is a showcase of stop and go flow that keeps the listener in some kind of a suspended reality that feels like a faucet of cold tap water jazz that’s on the fritz. If your ears are still burnin’ from that summer city sun and are in need of a splash of some snare drum love that’s sure to sooth your ears, mind, and soul, do yourself the favor and self-medicate with this avant-garde jazz album overflowing with Billie’s jive drumming spirit.
Listen to this while: smoking your hand rolled cigarettes in some dusky, dimly lit lounge in the Village. Don’t forget your gin and tonic, black beret, red lipstick and snapping fingers for applause."
~Stephanie Reisnour - TomTom Magazine, NY.
Billie Davies – 12 VOLT (2013)
The 23rd Annual L.A. Music Awards has recently nominated drummer and bandleader Davies as “Jazz Artist of the Year” for 2013, a mere four years after she set up shop in Los Angeles and made it her home. But this bohemian from Belgium has quickly made positive impressions everywhere she goes, including this reviewer when sizing up her third album all about Love a year ago.
For album #4 12 Volt, Davies assembled a new trio to go along with her new songs, in which she constructed around a concept of simplicity and being closer to nature. In this case, being closer to nature meant deconstructing jazz to its base components. The liner notes for Billie Davies’ upcoming album went into the detail of what makes the jazz of this drummer stand out from the herd, but one sentence seemed to sum it up nicely: “Davies is not countering the modern jazz movement so much but rather stripping it down to its essence.”
Moving on from the trumpet/bass/drums configuration of Love, Davies enlisted Amsterdam guitarist Daniel Coffeng and acoustic bassist Adam Levy to make this album live in the studio in a single day. That’s an approach that has fostered simplicity and natural playing. The airy, free flowing way these songs are played are like that, too. Take the opening cut, “Collioure,” an esoteric melody that moves at a naturally occurring cadence. Davis is making melody right alongside Coffeng, and Levy’s arco bass provides a well-defined harmonic counterpoint. The second part of song descends and ascends, Davies soloing while closely following Coffeng’s moves. With such attention to timbre, space and mood, it’s easy to forget that much of the music here and on the rest of the album is dissonant, because it’s avant-garde in a very embraceable way.
When listening to Davies play, it’s easier to think of her not as a drummer but a tonal painter who swipes brushstrokes with her drumsticks. “Collioure” is a prime example, and also in her subtly guiding ever so incremental changes in intonation on songs such as “Tango for Patti” as well as confidently leading the group through a deconstructed section within “Les Landes.” On angular blues such as “12 Volt” and “Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes” she swings authoritatively without ever having to resort to brute force.
Coffeng employs the pillowy, sweet tones of Jim Hall, and he demonstrates nifty single note run skills during a solo on “Gypsy.” But his economy of notes is perhaps his greatest asset for this session; it fits in fine with the “less is more” mantra Davies champions and allows her and Levy to be heard as equals. The songs generally follow the head-solos-head format, but the extended solo sections are allowed so much freedom, whole other songs are nearly created between the heads; the group members typically improvise as a unit.
It’s some honor for Billie Davies to be considered for the top jazz musician award in a big musical and cultural center such as Los Angeles, but that the institution pays close attention to the likes of her speaks well for their recognition of outlier talent. And 12 Volt can’t help but to strengthen Davies’ chances for winning it.
12 Volt is due out later this week on CDBaby.
~S Victor Aaron, Something Else!
Billie Davies 12 VOLT 2013
The organic essence of improvisational music. The evocative manipulation of sound and silence into a living breathing microcosm of emotion and spontaneous creativity.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Melodic minimalism...12 Volt is improvisational music stripped down to a bare bones approach of lyrical passion and purpose. Billie Davies is more than a drummer as she possesses compositional skills that have 12 Volt as engaging as perhaps any trio based ensemble working today. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of 12 Volt is that it is a live studio recording. Live studio recordings can be magic or they can be a train wreck.
Strictly as an instrumentalist Billie Davies is one of the more lyrically based drummers in the style of a Max Roach and her work is quickly gaining attention as she was nominated as "Jazz Artist" of the year 2013 by the 23rd annual L.A. Music Awards...The other ensemble members include guitarist Daniel Coffeng and bassist Adam Levy and the collective synergy here is an open ended warmth that seems to radiate from whatever devise you may be using to enjoy this stellar recording. There is a haunting zen like quality here, no notes are wasted while the expressionistic quality embraces a Bohemian like vibe more closely with improvisational music recorded some fifty years previous.
This is a conceptual recording. The stroke of genius here is that the concept is that of abstract nothingness. Musical methodology that is strictly in the moment. Creativity that is unbridled, unchecked and not bound by preconceived notions of what something "should" sound like. Artistic comparisons are inherently unfair. Billie Davies compositions sound like Billie Davies. Daniel Coffeng is an incredibly engaging guitarist in the tradition of perhaps a John Abercrombie. Bassist Adam Levy is the soul pumpkin laying down a bass line reminiscent of a Ron Carter. All three artists are uniquely different but the harmonic exploratory conceived here is performed with a deceptively subtle uniformity while remaining abstract enough to attack the listener on a cerebral front. The perfect marriage of simplicity and complexity.
~Brent Black, Bop-N-Jazz
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