Last Thursday, Oct. 16, I had the pleasure of going to the Trout Museum of Art to hear Tim Davis and his jazz trio play a set as part of the Trout’s Jazz Series.
Tim Davis is a drummer who primarily plays in Chicago but comes to Wisconsin for a few gigs every now and then.
On Thursday, he was playing with a trio of Chicago-based musicians that has been together on and off for the past 20 years. The band consists of Tim Davis on drums, Steve Million on piano and Larry Kohut on bass.The trio played a mix of originals, bebop and hard bop tunes.
Bebop is a sub genre of jazz that has an emphasis on virtuosity and fast-moving chords. Hard bop is similar, but sometimes does not move as quickly. They also added in elements that are not necessarily in either of these sub genres.
There was a heavy emphasis on each instrument doing unusual things. For example, it was not uncommon in the set for Davis to have stretches of time where he was not keeping time and instead playing melodically or sparsely. There were also many points where the bass played the melody instead of a horn or the piano.
This really showed off their talent as individual musicians and as a group. Even while playing in this unusual way, they were able to stay “in the pocket,” meaning they played together tempo-wise and easily locked into a groove. When this happens, it is even easier to add in other elements to spice up the music, such as drum fills.
It also enables each member to try things out, like changing the style or time signature. During one of Million’s solos, Davis went into a rock feel that contrasted greatly to the subtle, swung feel he was playing before. This makes a professional jazz musician stand out.
I enjoyed this performance. It is nice to be able to walk a block from campus and experience a whole other realm of music.