Friday, August 11, 2017

New Releases: Roger Davidson's Prayer for Tomorrow (with interview)

French-born American jazz pianist Roger Davidson has spent his whole career dabbling in several different kinds of music, from Caribbean to tango to classical. But his true passion, both personally and musically, has always been Brazil, as we can infer from his latest album, Oração para amanhã/Prayer for Tomorrow (Soundbrush Records, 2017). Davidson was born in Paris but soon moved to the United States and settled in the northeast, where he has been performing throughout his life. His music, always inventive and eclectic, has merited the enthusiastic approval of renowned jazz critics such as Will Friedwald, who has written that Davidson's new record features "brilliant musicians [and] great music."

Hendrik Meurkens
Davidson, who started his own label, Soundbrush, as an outlet to release different types of music that he enjoys and is passionate about, is surrounded here by some of the best Brazilian musicians on the current New York scene. Recorded live at NYC's Zinc Bar over the course of several dates in May and October 2016, the album finds Davidson in the company of his new trio—bassist Eduardo Belo and drummer Adriano Santos. The addition of the German-born Hendrik Meurkens on harmonica and vibraphone is welcome indeed, particularly since it brings variety and class to the proceedings with the inclusion of an instrument, the harmonica, that one doesn't get to hear often enough on jazz records these days.

The album showcases twelve of Davidson's new Brazilian-styled compositions whose freshness and diversity of rhythms and approaches always keep the listener interested. The interplay between the four participants is flawless and always full of little surprises here and there, and Meurkens's vibraphone and harmonica blend perfectly well with the overall sound of the trio, making it fuller and more attractive. Prayer for Tomorrow is a welcome addition to the catalog of Davidson's Brazilian outings (The 2003 Richard Rodgers songbook Rodgers in Rio is another good example of what the pianist can do with Brazilian rhythms) and will definitely leave the listener longing for more. Fortunately, Davidson is already working on more music in a similar vein with this same trio. A few weeks ago, Davidson joined us from a French restaurant in New York for a new episode of the Jazz Flashes Podcast. You may listen to the whole conversation, which was extremely interesting despite some minor technical issues, here: