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Drew Davidsen — Spin Cycle

March 19, 2011

Without a doubt, “the journey” for guitarist Drew Davidsen from his native Maryland to the contemporary smoothness of his brand of jazz has been a most pleasant one, from the standpoint of this writer.  I’ve written about Davidsen on a couple of other occasions, and my opinion is always the same. The guy not only plays with style and class, but he understands the nuances and sweetness of the type of melodies and hooks that reach people. His latest, Spin Cycle, is further proof of that.

Stroking with certainty, purpose, and the assurance to his fans that he remains rooted in what makes Drew Davidsen’s music Drew Davidsen’s music, the treats continue here.

Breaking out to state that clearly is the opening and title track, full of spark and high-stepping vigor, he dazzles throughout the album with technique, smart chords, and his impressive array of guitars, which happens to include one of my personal favorites, the Ibanez Artcore, all of which he works with masterful fluidity.

Davidsen’s work has been known to present me with a number of tracks from which to choose a fav, and I am, as usual, hard pressed to do so.  So many have their own magic and presence, be it a moderate, casually paced piece or an up-tempo shaker. The common denominators are crispness and memorable melodies.

One track, “Alexander’s Dream,” has a distinctive quality that, if an old rocker lies back and closes his/her eyes, can take you back to the easy Southern blues/rock of The Allman Brothers Band back when Dickey Betts gave us “Blue Sky” and “Melissa.” Then, there’s the tender acoustic allure of “Catalina Blue,” which is simply peaceful and serene, while “My Club Side” carries a  disco-like groove with it.

To further demonstrate his affinity for the diverse, the adept guitarist then ushers in some reggae rhythm in “Global Sync” and “On the Move” is all high octane drive, complete with a nasty wah pedal for effect.  He then grabs us with his hot, mid-tempo “Drew’s Blues.”  The quiet, reflective “My Father’s World” closes it all out.

Drew Davidsen’s journey seems to bring more and more pleasant adventures for him—and for contemporary jazz fans—with each new release.  Spin Cycle is the next leg on that journey, surely to present a clean path for further success. – Ronald Jackson