Steve Davis – For Real (2014)

Jazz Messengers-alum and sideman trombonist of choice Steve Davis makes his fourth Posi-Tone disc For Real yet another enjoyable collection of no-bullshit, genuine hard bop.

Retaining Larry Willis (piano), Nat Reeves (bass) and Billy Williams (drums) from the dandy Gettin’ It Done of 2012, For Real pairs Davis with only one other horn this time, the tenor sax of Abraham Burton. Burton, whose sweet elongated notes lifts “Angie’s Groove,” fits in splendidly with Davis’ ’60s Blue Note soul-jazz vibe, the major reason I get a kick out of Davis’ records.

True to that vibe, Davis himself is often remindful of the great Curtis Fuller, and he can burn (as on “Tactics”) and cool down (as on “Days Gone By”) as well as any ‘bone player alive today, in a rare class with Steve Turre and Michael Dease.

This time, Davis went with a slate of all-originals, which, save for Willis’ “Blues On Blues” are self-penned. As before, Davis introduced tunes that could have been conceived fifty years ago and rarely conceived as well since then. Davis’ tunes have a flair for rhythm, too, from the “Sidewinder” boogaloo present on “For Real” to the festive Brazilian carnival groove of “Daylight.”

Steve Davis has led another sturdy date that packs a lot of soul, plenty of acumen and tight ensemble playing. It’s all you can ask for from a straight-ahead date, and Davis does it with regularity. For real.

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For Real goes on sale January 7, delivered by Posi-Tone Records.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at