Jamie Davis – It’s A Good Thing – with Orchestra cond. by Shelly Berg – Unity Music DVD + CD
Published on June 1, 2006
Davis’ is a terrific voice definitely worthy of a wider fame than just amongst audiences in his hometown of San Francisco. He was the vocalist with the Count Basie Band on tour from 2000 to 2003, and he has a rich timbre and style probably more rooted in that of the late Joe Williams than anyone else, but he’s not trying to do an imitation by any means. There are influences of various other singers in the baritone range such as Billy Eckstine, as well as Sinatra. His phrasing is superb, smooth as velvet, and his enunciation is right on. The big studio band that was put together to back him incorporates eight Basie alums, and plenty of other top sidemen (although I didn’t recognize any of the names). The arrangements are by some of the top people in the biz, and the recording and mixing cannot be faulted. I especially liked Davis’ scatting on Straight No Chaser, and his Every Day I Have the Blues was different enough from Williams’ version to hold its own just fine.
At first I was really pleased to see another “DualDisc” done the proper way – with two separate discs: one DVD and one a standard CD. One would naturally expect the DVD to be a video version of the dozen tunes performed by Davis on the CD, perhaps even in Dolby 5.1 surround. Well, not so. The DVD is a 38-minute promotion piece for the CD session. It’s the sort of thing you get on many of the bonus extras with movie DVDs nowadays – a lot of people involved in the production slapping one another on the back and gushing how great the slapee is and how terrific it was working with him. You likely wouldn’t play the DVD ever again. One doesn’t get to hear a single one of the tunes all the way thru with Davis at the mike. And when you hear a little snippet, the audio is mono. If the retail on this set is the same as a normal CD, it’s an OK deal; if more, the buyer is being shortchanged.
Tunes: Isn’t She Lovely, Something, I’ve Got the World on a String, Night and Day, Besame Mucho, My Funny Valentine, Straight No Chaser, My Kinda Love, Another Star, Every Day I Have the Blues, The Very Thought of You, Alright Okay You Win.
– John Henry