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It's A Good Thing by Jamie Davis

It's a Good Thing by Jamie Davis is much more than that. Perhaps it was modesty that caused Jamie and his collaborators to settle for It's a Good Thing and not go for "It's a Great Thing." Anyway I certainly believe you will find it to be much more than just a good thing.

This is an album that from the listed tracks might seem ordinary even though most of us really dig the standards. But I think it might be closer to an oral examination of the type given in prestigious universities for candidates who seek the recognition that they have mastered their field. Here is why I feel this way.

Each of these songs can be sung and played any number of ways but there are performances of these pieces that we know and favor and so an album of standards is easily comparable to examples of these pieces that act as bench marks. It may be riskier for a singer to attack a song that has been taken to near perfection by generations of masters, then to give his take on an unknown or original piece. This is going up against the tradition and showing the audience how high your reach is, how firm your grasp.

Jamie attempts, masters and sets bench marks of his own with his performance of these songs. He sings in the range of the late Joe Williams and he has honed his chops under the influence of Mr. Williams among others but, he has observed, learned, internalized, and created his own techniques, phrasing and beat and as a result come up with a voice that is truly his own.

So while the inquisitors listen to the candidate, he creates fans, establishes new bench marks and ultimately on the level of vocalist demonstrates mastery.

But there is another level in these performances and that is collaboration. A wonderful singer, even with a great band, who is not a brilliant collaborator isn't really worth listening to. Jamie Davis has gone out of his way to select collaborators who are up to task in every respect. Calling upon musicians from his three years with the Count Bassie Orchestra Jamie plays here with what is virtually the orchestra's rhythm section. Calling again on the great Shelly Berg to conduct, contribute on the piano and as an arranger, Jamie demonstrates a collaborator’s genius.

Finally, the horns and percussion are drawn from generations of great musicians, well seasoned artists with decades of experience to talented youngsters just demonstrating their capabilities to the jazz world. The result is pure joy, great music a treat. Jamie sings to the music, which floats his voice, and the two become one. It's a good thing that this master vocalist has done.

But wait, while the music is a great listen, the half hour long DVD is a great watch. It takes you inside the process of making a studio recording with a big band and lets you meet the guys and gal who created the music. Also it allows you to get some insight into Shelly Berg, John Kelson, David Kiem and all the other artists who you may have heard and to whom you now can put a face.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jamie Davis
  • CD Title: It's A Good Thing
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Unity Music
  • Rating: Two Stars
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