The Jackie Davis Quartet: Easy Does It

A lightly swinging Hammond organ album from 1963

Jackie Davis was among the first players to spearhead the organ-jazz genre in the mid-50s. As a pianist who’s accompanied Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, his touch at the keyboard was especially noticeable on the highly responsive electro-mechanical Hammond organ. His repertoire favored jazz, blues and pop standards, ranging from Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight” to Arlen and Mercer’s “Blues in the Night” and the twelve-bar “Night Train.” After five years on Capitol, Davis moved to Warner Brothers, where his first release was this 1963 production. As the album title implies, Davis’ small combo takes it easy on the tempos, though the Hammond provides plenty of fire and Earl Palmer’s drumming adds compelling accents. Barney Kessel on guitar and Joe Comfort on bass provide rhythm as Davis’ keys dance across the light swing of the title tune, and his keys deftly wind their way around the Latin beat of “Midnight Sun.” It’s not until the album’s closing take on “Saint Louis Blues” that the band turns up the tempo, with Comfort running up and down the strings and Palmer’s snare drum and ride cymbal getting a workout. This is a fine, low-key organ jazz album from an early master of the form. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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