Jazz CD Reviews
Ryan Davidson – Ryan Davidson Trio – DebrisField Records
Published on November 17, 2011
Ryan Davidson – Ryan Davidson Trio – DebrisField Records, 41:09 [11/8/2011] ****:
(Ryan Davidson – guitar; Ryan Hagler – bass; Ryan Jacobi – drums)
As a member of the six-time Grammy-nominated One O’clock Band Lab Band, Ryan Davidson shared the stage with jazz artists like Dave Brubeck, James Carter, Eddie Gomez and George Garzone. All of this was accomplished as a student at the University of North Texas, where he earned a degree as a Master of Music in Jazz Studies. Within the community of country music, he has done sessions with dozens of acts. His project with the One O’clock Lab Band (Lab ’09) received two Grammy nominations. The alchemy of country and jazz is complex, but interesting.
His debut, Ryan Davidson Trio opens with a cover of “Ghost Riders In The Sky” (popularized by vocalists like Frankie Laine and Vaughn Monroe). Expanding the jazz/country construct, this muscular adaptation evokes the echo-laden rockabilly of Dick Dale or Duane Eddy. The interjection of jazzy chord structures gives the song a fusion sound. The following track, “Im Wunderschonen Monat Mai” gives Davidson an opportunity to showcase his classical training. His abstract interpretation captures the expressive lyrical nature of this seasonal rumination. Bassist Ryan Hagler delivers a nimble, complementary bass line. An intriguing version of Monk’s “Round Midnight” features a solo guitar improvisation that is intricate and spontaneous. Bringing a twang aesthetic to a traditional jazz piece is intriguing. His guitar has texture and a rich tone. The boldness of melodic interpretation is on full display with the standard, “Out Of Nowhere”. Unexpected sonic effects appear at the end of the track.
Original compositions are augmented by the trio dynamics. “Captain Positive” has a loopy bass line and drum solo (Ryan Jacobi…the final component of the “all Ryan” ensemble). The breezy swing is well-crafted. Davidson’s leads are fluid and engaging. This group can rock out, and they do on “Texas Oracle”. There is pretense and attitude in the jagged distortion of the guitar. A change of pace can be found on the moody, acoustic “If You Need Me”. Gentle rhythm and delicate instrumentation harness a subtle folk vibe.
Ryan Davidson Trio is diverse and serves as a listenable introduction to an emerging band.
TrackList: Ghost Riders In The Sky; I’m Wunderschonen Monat Mai (In The Wonderful Month Of May”); Captain Positive; Out Of Nowhere; Conditional; ‘Round Midnight; If You Need Me; Texas Oracle