Jan. 22, 2013
Drew Davidsen is, hands down, one of the most refreshing guitarists I’ve experienced in contemporary jazz to date. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he hails from—and still resides in—my neck of the woods. Each of his releases has served to make us here in DC/MD/VA area quite proud. His latest venture, True Drew, hits the streets in March and is true to form, offering no disappointments at all.
Working with his good friend and artist/producer Eric Copeland (of Player A), as well as Norman Connors and Preston Glass, Davidsen has pulled together the necessary ingredients to make True Drew a top smooth jazz chart resident.
In addition to the three mentioned above, vocalist Ron Tyson of The Temptations, pianists/keyboardists Bobby Lyle and Bob Baldwin, saxman Eric Marienthal, and bassist Gerald Veasley all toss in their respective talents on this project, adding brilliance and cool to this project.
For the first 5 tracks, including the lead track, “My Guitar,” a bright, airy up-tempo tune inspired by guitar wiz Pat Metheny, Davidsen travels the very cool side of jazz. Actually, I hear a touch of Metheny and Wes Montgomery on a few of these tracks, including “95 South” and “Hi5,” but what you clearly hear is that Drew Davidsen style throughout. The mellow, deliberate approach and attention to the sheer beauty of the jazz guitar do justice to all of these tracks. His riffs and chords are crisp and clean, the melodies catchy, and the rhythms smooth and unhurried. I must also give kudos to Alvin Fisher and Alan Blackman for some really nice flute and strings work on track 5’s “All Night and Forever.” Memorable.
On track 6, “Sweet Spot,” featuring Eric Marienthal on sax, the guitarist opens up a bit more with this driving, funky number, adding some wah wah effect and strong riffs to set the tone.
Breaking into an oh-so-smooth R&Bish tune, “I’m Into You,” Davidsen then calls upon Ron Tyson to deliver that soulful touch he has mastered so well as a Temptation.
Talk about opening up, Davidsen lights into the up-tempo “Do Right” with intensity, drive, some scatting, and convincing riffs that truly soar.
Davidsen’s interpretation of “Change the World,” a tune made famous by guitar master Eric Clapton, is most impressive, and his acoustic take on “All Creatures” is riveting.
The finale, a suave, swaying Bobby Lyle creation is the perfect track on which to just settle back and let the ivories and Davidsen’s silky solo take you on that soulful journey you always seek to take.
As I said at the onset, Drew Davidsen’s style is one of the most refreshing I’ve experienced. Just listen. – Ronald Jackson
Note: At the time of posting, there was no Amazom MP3 sampler available. As soon as one becomes available, we will post it here.