Percussionist Scott Davidson, whose music is informed by jazz, classical Indian and Middle Eastern music, teamed up with pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio, drummer Whit Dickey and reedist Lloyd Shorter for this album of world encompassing and rhythmic jazz.
Davidson, Scott with Shipp / Shorter / Bisio / Dickey
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"For the past 30 years, percussionist Scott Davidson has led world-music ensembles in Delaware, a decidedly non-commercial calling. He plays a mixture of music that is informed by different traditions of improvisation from jazz, classical Indian and Middle Eastern music.
Improvising while playing before a live audience requires intense focus, he says, and pushes him to be his best. "But when I'm playing, I don't think about the audience too much because it's too distracting," Davidson says. "To play these compositions that we play, you have to concentrate and be in the moment with the music, or else you're not really playing music.
"It's sort of like the Buddhist mindfulness training, where you're there, and if you do get distracted if you're meditating or playing music, then you have to bring yourself back to where you are. Otherwise, you're not really there playing. Especially if you improvise and you go places with the music that are unexpected. That's the most important thing, to be able to listen to the other musicians, or else it'll just end up being a mess."
Davidson long ago sought the tutelage of Robert "Boysie" Lowery, whose legions of pupils included the heralded jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown. From 1976-78, Davidson studied classical Indian music in Ahmedabad, which is north of Mumbai and southeast of Karachi, Pakistan. Classical Indian music employs many devices, and Davidson's fusion groups include these. They use scales from the Middle East, among other regions, and melodies from Indian compositions, though they don't play classical Indian music.
"A lot of things that I play are hard to classify," he says. "But a really good melody is a good melody no matter what country it comes from."
Alongside his bandmates from his Scott Davidson Trio, Lloyd Shorter (oboe and English horn) and Roger Mgrdichian (oud), Davidson writes genre-defying music. And in September 2012, he and Shorter teamed with the Matthew Shipp Trio to put out the album "Dreamland," which was fully improvised. Davidson, who calls the album "progressive jazz," says the types of music he favors "will always be fringe music."
"There's a lot of music I think people would really like," he says, "but they never hear it. It's not on radio very much. When they do hear it, they like it."
Some of the many percussion instruments Davidson plays are congas, djembe (West African) and dumbek (Middle Eastern). At 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, his trio will perform a concert at First Unitarian Church in Sharpley, North Wilmington. For one tune, he'll play a Hang, which is based on steel-pan technology and looks like a flying saucer. The concert will feature a large component of improvisation, he says, with melodies from India, Mali, Turkey and throughout the Middle East.
Davidson also is writing a biography of Wilmington jazz legend Lem Winchester, a vibraphonist who was a friend and contemporary of Brown and studied with Lowery.
With the Division's grant, Davidson has bought a portable recording device to aid in making demos and an effects device for certain electronic instruments to aid in looping. And after 35 years of craving a hammered dulcimer - its strings are stretched over a trapezoidal sounding board and are struck with small mallets - Davidson this year will purchase one for himself.
He plans to play it in a traditional Celtic context, but also non-traditionally, using looping and effects devices on the instrument."-Christopher Yasiejko, Deleware.gov
• Show Bio for Matthew Shipp
"Matthew Shipp was born December 7, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware. He started piano at 5 years old with the regular piano lessons most kids have experienced. He fell in love with jazz at 12 years old. After moving to New York in 1984 he quickly became one of the leading lights in the New York jazz scene. He was a sideman in the David S. Ware quartet and also for Roscoe Mitchell's Note Factory before making the decision to concentrate on his own music.
Mr Shipp has reached the holy grail of jazz in that he possesses a unique style on his instrument that is all of his own- and he's one of the few in jazz that can say so. Mr. Shipp has recorded a lot of albums with many labels but his 2 most enduring relationships have been with two labels. In the 1990s he recorded a number of chamber jazz cds with Hatology, a group of cds that charted a new course for jazz that, to this day, the jazz world has not realized. In the 2000s Mr Shipp has been curator and director of the label Thirsty Ear's "Blue Series" and has also recorded for them. In this collection of recordings he has generated a whole body of work that is visionary, far reaching and many faceted."-Matthew Shipp Website (http://www.matthewshipp.com/bio.html)
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Related Categories of Interest:
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Percussion & Drums
Cultural Musics from Around the World
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Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded on March 12th, 2012 at the Music School of Delaware by Eric Keebler.
Scott Davidson-tabla, Cooperman tar, hang, drumbek, congas, djembe, zenobia marimbula, percussion
Lloyd Shorter-oboe, English horn
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2. Theory of Everything 5:31
3. Whirl 4:52
4. Leah's Song 16:11
5. Sailing Stone 11:35
6. Tachyon Pulse 23:23
7. Clouds in Aquila 4:53
8. Gale Force 7:26