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The Big Takeover Issue #94
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Steve Davis - Meets Hank Jones, Volume 1 (Smoke Sessions)

20 November 2023

In 2008, trombonist Steve Davis and bass player Peter Washington met up with legendary pianist Hank Jones for a relaxed trio session. Inexplicably released only now, that session arrives under Davis’ name as Meets Hank Jones, Volume 1. (Despite the title, the pair had recorded together before.) There’s always a certain special vibe to recordings like this, as if the trio had no idea they were being recorded (untrue, of course), and thus play like they have nothing to prove. Jones’ playing, steeped in the blues, provides a sturdy framework for Davis’ ultra-melodic lead work, while Washington’s bass (which appears only on half the tracks) is so subtle as to be subliminal. The round, rich tone of Davis’ axe sounds especially good on ballads like “But Beautiful” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” but he sounds equally excited on the uptempo numbers, especially “Cry Me a River.” Jones, of course, comports himself with all the taste, elegance, and dignity one would expect from some who’d been playing jazz longer than his bandmates had been alive. No heavy lifting required to enjoy Meets Hank Jones, Volume I – just open ears and an easy chair.