Kevin Davy Quartet @ The Attic

Kevin Davy Quartet – Live at the Attic, Hackney Picture House, London 7th March 2013

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_01
Kevin G. Davy
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

Born in Nottingham, UK where he lived until 1986, Kevin G. Davy started playing trumpet at the age of fourteen. He has well and truly paid his musical dues since then, having toured extensively with artists such as Finley Quaye; Lamb and Adam F. Currently resident in London and now highly respected and recognised as a consummate trumpeter, bandleader and composer, Davy tours around the UK and Europe with his quartet a.k.a. KD Q.

And so, to the Attic at Hackney Picture House where Michael the Dood Edwards along with a few invited friends and guests were privileged to witness Kevin Davy’s most recent quartet live in person in this most intimate of settings. If one was not familiar with Davy’s current album release “The Thoth Project,” then the Attic was the place to be. The album was given a full and proper showcase and it was great to hear it in the live arena.

First up was the keyboard and bass laden “Sass & Brass. After a brief salvo from trumpet maestro and front man Kevin Davy, Al Scott led off proceedings with his uniquely expressive and at the same time introspective keyboard playing laying the foundation of the piece. Al’s piano then neatly segued into Bouzid Adda’s heavy bass riffs which resonated from the sole’s of one’s feet to the crown of one’s head. Sitting comfortably at the back of the stage behind his drum kit was KDQ’s time keeper for the evening, Adrian Lawrence. On loan from fronting his own oufit “Official Burnt Toast,” Mr Lawrence’s inner vibe oozed through his body to his fingertips and in turn the drumsticks in the metronomic way he kept time. All the while their bandleader stood impassive at the right of the stage, with head bowed, trumpet in hand soaking up the sweet rhythms being created around him.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_02
Al Scott (piano)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_03
Kevin G Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

After six or so minutes Davy ambled forward to centre stage, trumpet raised to his lips and sweetly impacted on the piece with his trademark languid but precise style of playing. Like sprinters in the 100 metres, the band were up and running in into their stride from the first note, with all the individual parts working together in perfect unison.

Following a brief introduction of the band by Davy, KD Q then launched into the mid tempo swing of “Pea Hunt.” Having kept a tight groove for just over five-minute, the musical reigns were handed to Bouzid Adda, who over the next three minutes carried the tune with some delightfully paced base playing. The audience sat spellbound by his skill and from the concentration on his face it was evident he was deep inside the music.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_04
Bouzid Adda (bass)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

Props go out once again to Adrian Lawrence on skins, who worked feverishly yet subtly in the background to help keep the groove smooth and in sync.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_05
Adrian Lawrence (drums)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

A quick glance around the room and to a person everyone’s eyes were transfixed on the four consummate musicians perched on the Attic stage. Two more full on tracks followed, the angular drum and bass sound of “Brother Head” and the Rock /Latin influenced “Touch Wood.”

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_06
Al Scott (keyboard)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

For the next track, “Room 5,” the pace was changed up or should I say changed down. A dreamlike aura was created in the room by this Gospel influenced Jazz Waltz, played in 6/8 time. During the first three minutes, Al Scott’s sublime piano playing, his hands barely caressing the keys, drew us into the piece. This stylish intro opened the virtual tour for the main protagonist, Kevin Davy, now brandishing a flugelhorn, to step through. With the horn pointed to the ground ala Miles Davis, Davy played his part majestically, yet understatedly.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_07
Kevin Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

After only a brief burst of the beautifully shaped flugelhorn, glistening under the stage lights, Davy then receded back into the shadows, letting the support cast carry the tune effortlessly. Meanwhile KD sauntered forward to the front of the stage, exchanging his flugelhorn for the more familiar trumpet before retiring again into the darkness to await his next cue. Two minutes later he ambled forward again to deliver one of his most enthralling solos of the evening, this time with a much different tonality and expression, given the change of horns.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_08
Kevin Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

His Solo brought “Room 5” to a natural conclusion as the focus now changed to the transcendental keyboard talents of Al Scott, the tune segueing seamlessly into the spiritual vibes of “Al’s Song,” penned by Mr Scott himself. Approximately two and a half minutes in, just as Al was getting up a head of steam on keys, Mr Davy strolled nonchalantly off the front of the stage to the table where he had earlier left his draught Guinness. KD then raised his glass in acknowledgement of those in attendance before returning to his starting point in readiness for his own solo.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_09
Bouzid Adda (bass); Adrian Lawrence (drums)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

Meanwhile, the band was deep inside the groove – and what a stone cold groove it was! Bouzid Adda on bass and Adrian Lawrence on drums, together created a hypnotic, intense rhythm allowing Al Scott’s silky caressing of the Ebony’s and ivories to float delicately over the top with his intricately precise, yet free-form style of playing. The tune was gathering pace and building momentum nicely, all that remained was for Kevin Davy to bring the ethereal resonance of his trumpet into the mix. His timing was exquisite and the feeling of Ascension imbued in the audience was immense.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_10
Kevin Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

For the final three minutes, it was just a case of “Taking It Home” as the term goes. Al Scott needed no second invitation as he furiously snaked his hands up and down the keyboard, accentuating every note as he did so. The strategically placed base licks of Bouzid Adda and the feather light touch of drummer Adrian Lawrence, aided by the soothing and reassuring tones of Davy’s trumpet ensured KD Q brought “Al’s Song” home for a safe landing.

Once we awoke from our trance like state, we were treated to the purposefully created jazz space of “Freedom Jazz Dance” followed by the expansive melodies of “Acid Passive.” The pen ultimate track of the evening was the title track of Kevin Davy’s current set “The Coming of Thoth.”

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_11
Bouzid Adda (bass)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

This slow burner of a tune has what can only be described as a five minute and thirty second intro. All four musicians began playing so introspectively and thoughtful, as if their instruments were made from crystal and would shatter in an instant…Then boom! A solid blast from Davy’s horn was the spark that ignited his musical cohorts into life. It was like a frenzied yet controlled free for all. Each member of KD Q was seemingly doing their own thing, but still within the context and framework of the bigger picture.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_12
Adrian Lawrence (drums)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_13
Al Scott (keyboard)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

Having performed numerous melodic runs, nine or so minutes in KD smartly eased his trumpet out from the mix and melted into the shadows once more, leaving Al Scott to go to town on the keyboard, his hands at times at right angles to each other as he rocked back and forth and times hunched crab like over his instrument. Adrian Lawrence was keeping a watchful eye on proceedings given his vantage point whilst holding his tempo. But the one constant you could not get away from was Bouzid Adda’s consistent and incessant baseline. His playing was the carbon-fibre backbone on which everyone else could freestyle off. And then twelve minutes in Mr Adda was given some jazz freedom of his own and proceded to give us a bass master class.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_14
Kevin Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

An observation not lost on Mr Davy when – once he had performed his own mini solo with the reverb turned up on his trumpet to round out the tune – walked directly to the man with the red bass and shook his hand appreciatively before acknowledging Bouzid’s bass guitar virtuosity in person and verbally via the microphone.

http://youtu.be/y you are you are you bLJgRibhTE

The evening was rounded out with an absolutely sublime version of “Open Season.” Another track lifted from Kevin Davy’s must have album. But not before KD introduced us once more to his stellar quartet. Introductions over, the band struck up and “NASTY” deep down and dirty groove. Mr Lawrence and Mr Adda combined to bring some ghetto swag to the Attic in Hackney Picture House. Three Minutes into this infectious, trancelike groove, Kevin G. Davy walked front and centre, picked up the mute from the front of the stage, held it to the aperture of his trumpet and blew, creating that warm’n’ bluesy mood a certain Mr Miles Davis would be proud of.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_15
Kevin Davy (trumpet/flugelhorn)
Photo: Courtesy of Nadjib LeFleurier

Having listened to two and a half minutes of this beautiful muted trumpet, we were treated to what Kevin Davy was to refer to at the end of the track as “Official Burnt Toast.” He was referring to the lyrical genius and indeed delivery of the rap/poetry performed by the man of many talents, drummer Adrian Lawrence from “Official Burnt Toast.”

The album version of open season is cool enough, but this live vibe topped off the supreme lyrics of Mr Lawrence took it to a whole new level. With Davy’s trumpet interspersed throughout the tune and jazz link-men, Bouzid and Al holding their own, this was a great way to round off what had been a supreme evening of jazz.

kevin-davy_by_nadjib-lefleurier_16
Adrian Lawrence (drums); Bouzid Adda (bass); Kevin Davy (trumpet) & Al Scott (piano)

I implore you at your earliest opportunity to check out the Kevin Davy Quartet a.k.a. KD Q. You will not be disappointed. In fact you will be inspired, energised and invigorated.

Michael J Edwards

The Kevin Davy Quartet feat:
Kevin Davy – trumpet/flugelhorn
Adrian Lawrence – drums & vocals
Al Scott – piano
Bouzid Adda – bass

Essential Album:
The Thoth Project by Kevin G. Davy

NB*Available now from Amazon and at iTunes

NB* Essential Diary Date: KDQ Live at The Ritzy, Brixton – Wednesday 28th August 2013

Essential Websites:
www.kevindavy.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBurntToast
https://twitter.com/Kevin_Davy

Comments are closed.