Driving home from work Wednesday morning, I caught the last hour of Bob Parlocha’s jazz program on WRCJ 90.9 FM. Parlocha opened the last set with On The Sunny Side of The Street from your 2000 album on Concord Records Second Nature. Jesse, it made me think about the first time I heard Second Nature 12 years ago.
I was listening to Ed Love’s jazz radio show on WDET 101.9, and he played three cuts from Second Nature. Around Detroit Love is a jazz legend, and his show is popular. While Love queued up the first cut, he said if Charlie Parker had a grandson it would be alto saxophone player Jesse Davis, a great jazz musician from the Crescent City who been touring with a saxophone ensemble called Sax Machine. Phil Woods, Gary Bartz, and Charles McPherson were members. Jesse, I forgot the title of the first cut Love played. But I recall been immediately smitten by your blowing.
I disagreed with Love that you blow like Parker. But I noticed one small likeness. On up tempo numbers you burned through the changes like Parker could. That’s clear on the 6th cut on Second Nature Marta’s Samba. Many of your fans, that I know, believed you have ties to Cannonball Adderly and Sonny Stitt. I disagree with them also. The first time I heard you I couldn’t hear an influence. You set out to be an original not a copycat. Many jazz musicians influences are obvious.
Anyway, after hearing cuts from Second Nature on Love’s radio show, I had Chris at Street Corner Music order it form me. A week after I receive it, I played it so much it got all scratched up. The rhythm section—Massimo Farao, Aldo Zunino and Massimo “Max Dall’omo—stood out. Farao is a wonderful piano player. I listened to his solos so many times I would awake humming them. Farao made Second Nature memorable. He had the right blend of imagination and know-how.
On I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face, his fingers cried gliding along the piano keys. It was commendable of you letting Farao, Zunino and Dall’omo play Tomnaso alone. I pictured you standing off to the side smiling and your torso swaying side to side as they lollygagged through the song.
Weeks after I listened to Second Nature, I bought Young at Art and Horn of Passion. Neither hit me like Second Nature did. Jesse, I hadn’t played the album in years, so I’m thankful Bob Parlocha played a cut from the disc. I’ve played the album every day since, and I don’t plan to put it away anytime soon.