Born: December 10, 1955
Billie Davies (born Billie Goegebeur, December 10, 1955 in Bruges) is an American female jazz drummer and composer best known for her Avant Garde and Avant-garde jazz compositions since the mid nineties, and her improvisational drumming techniques she has performed in Europe and on the US West Coast.
CAREER Billie Davies was born in Brugge, Belgium and mostly grew up on the Belgian Coast, Europe, at the North Sea. Her grandfather, Maurice Clybouw, was the first influence in her life to introduce her to the drums when Billie was about three years old. She has had a love relationship with rhythm and drums ever since. Davies is mostly an autodidact whose natural talent, relentless, explorative spirit and multifaceted experiences have led to an innovative approach to jazz. (Hryar Attarian) With a background in Classical and Jazz and a lifetime of musical experiences in jams, performances, recordings and music production, the listener is treated to jazz inclinations within her ensembles that bristle with cutting-edge freshness. (C.J. Bond) Billie has played Jazz, Avant-garde jazz, and Avant-Jazz with Leroy Vinnegar, John Handy, Joe Fuentes, Saul Kaye (on Cobra Basemento, Dreams), Michael Godwin (on Cobra Basemento, Dreams), Lee Elfenbein (on Dreams), Drew Waters, Pierre Swärd, Tom Bone Ralls (on all about Love.), Manny Silvera, Oliver Steinberg (on all about Love.), Daniel Coffeng (on 12 VOLT), Adam Levy (on 12 VOLT), Will Mack, et al. and had guest appearances all over the Northern West Coast. It is these experiences that have shaped Billie into the intuitive and inventive drummer she is today. Her playing style reminds us a lot of Billy Hart....
AwardsRecipient of the 2013 23rd Annual LAMA (Los Angeles Music Awards) "JAZZ ARTIST" Award. L.A. Music Awards - "Jazz Artist of the Year" Certified Nominee 2013.
BILLIE DAVIES - 12 VOLT : HIGH VOLTAGE avant-garde JAZZ
by Jan Hocek
December 5, 2013
She was born in Bruges, Belgium , eccentric , avant-garde jazz drummer - self-taught , relentless and explosive style of playing, jazz innovator , living in Los Angeles since 2009 only, she is this year's winner of the prestigious LA Music Awards in the category Jazz Artist of the Year 2013 - BILLIE DAVIES ! This award helped her to the greatest degree with her last ( the fourth one ) album 12 VOLT , which was released on their own label Cobra Basement.
Billie Davies came to the United States when she was 32. Before that, from the age of 19, she was playing avant-garde jazz and free improvisation throughout Europe, especially France, Spain and the Mediterranean. She learned from recordings that included drummers such as Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Billy Cobham, Peter Erskine, Billy Hart and Jack DeJohnette. In doing so she got herself sucked into the various ethnic influences, particularly Roma music. Revelation for her was meeting with legendary guitarist Ricardo Baliardem, but known by his stage name Manitas De Plata, as well as with bluesman Claude Mazet - both guitarists also respected the traditional rhythmic rules. Even with the Roma, she lived several years in their way of life, which her bohemian temper satisfied so that at twenty-five she refused the offer of the legendary drummer Max Roach to study at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, after he heard her play in Montpellier on the street. All the performances ran on twelve volts , such sound was enough for us says Billie Davies. That's why my album is titled 12 Volt. The music is inspired by memories of that period of my life when I lived so close to nature and wonderful people, natural people. The music is dedicated to all the Roma in Europe, those most amazing musicians I've ever met. I love them.
Album 12 Volt is ranked in the American media in category beyond jazz . The rave reviews are teeming with intellectual phraseology such as organic essence of improvisational music, musical minimalism, the perfect marriage of simplicity and complexity. With that, there is nothing but to agree, but what do they mean by we imagine? To quote once more alone Billie Davies: The foundation of my music is improvisation course. For me it is a conversation between musicians and musical instruments, and common emotional expression based on certain common feelings, thoughts, communicated to the audience, the listener, a community of people. Looking for new observations, new rhythms, trying to find a new, expressive and yet humanistic jazz, avant-garde jazz, yet full of joy, simply avant-garde as such. Something similar was already attempted in 1960 by saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre with his trio - the concept of free - jazz by three independent instruments and creating a new kind of sound, three-dimensional jazz music reminds Billie Davies on the album 12 Volt the most. It goes even further - in her trio the saxophone is, of course, replaced by a guitar, it's not about the number of gypsy guitarists, but it is not as rich as the expressive saxophone, bass, and so she mainly with drums must extend the expressive means, which are, compared with harmonic instruments, obviously limited. But fortunately only seemingly. Davies brings to his game a fantastic plasticity to, stress and anxiety, and a unique use of cymbals and densely interwoven polyrhythms. Bassist Adam Levy, American, he studied double bass at the University of South Florida, at 21, he moved to New York and since 2004 lives in Los Angeles. His game is very emotional , sound unusual , sometimes brutal , especially when the loop. In creating bass lines may resemble Ron Carter. Guitarist Daniel Coffeng comes from Amsterdam, in his play, based on the be- bop and Django Reinhardt , but since imbibed by strenuous study also blues, reggae, rock, soul and the traditional play of the Indian sitar, Japanese koto, African coru and other folk string instruments from around the world, is his conception of a lot of avant-garde jazz.
Album of the total length of 59 minutes copyright includes eight compositions composed by Billie Davies. Only one, Tango for Patti, has the drum solo as such, i.e. isolated! In every song you are listening to is a web of fabric and layering three continuously playing solo musicians who are not congenial to ingeniously combine in one single creative organism and inexhaustible reservoir of novel musical ideas. Some songs are more avant-garde conceived ( for example, just opening Collioure ), some less ( Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes, 12 Volt ) , others are more conclusive emphasis on Spanish melody and color ( Meeting Manitas , Gypsy , La Sieste ) and Les Landes is appealing to the chanson. However, even for one second, you do not feel boredom or a whiff of cheapness or creative pander .
Without hesitation - one of the most remarkable trio albums of the year! ~Jan Hocek, his VOICE.
Billie Davies: 12 Volt (2013)
By C. MICHAEL BAILEY
Published: November 22, 2013
Billie Davies: 12 Volt Drummer Billie Davies' previous recording, All About Love (Self Produced, 2012) was novel and compelling, a trombone trio with the drummer lead. Davies assembled original and standard works, achieving both educational and artistic endpoints. The present recording, 12 Volt, retains the trio format, substituting the guitar for the trombone and pushes the trio envelope out with a moody collection of eight originals, when considered together comprise an avant-garde suite possibly conceived by Grant Green and John Coltrane.
This music is most comparable to Jimmy Giuffre's 1960s trios exploring free jazz using three independent instruments probing jazz's three-dimensional space. Davies directs a very similar interrogation of spatial sound dependence and independent of time. Collioure is based on a descending chordal guitar figure, simple and unadorned with brief drum and arco bass support. Guitarist Daniel Coffeng sparsely solos, extending the opening theme. The title piece is a rolicking jam with all instruments hitting their mark. Davies carefully cultivates her cymbals while bassist Adam Levy provides the harmonic roadmap and time over which Coffeng solos most robustly.
Les Landes is a good representation of the disc as a whole, an anxious piece with many corners and edges to navigate. Davie's challenge to her bandmates is to glide as smoothly as possible about these corners while she stirs the water with her persistent and restless drumming. The mood is dreamy and slightly soporous, a child of Morpheus and honey, preparing a bed of experiences for the listener.
Track Listing: Collioure; Meeting Manitas; 12 Volt; Les Landes; Tango for Patti; Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes; Gypsy; La Sieste.
Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Daniel Coffeng: guitar; Adam Levy: bass.
Record Label: Cobra Basement
Style: Beyond Jazz
All About Jazz
Billie Davies: 12 Volt (2013) By HRAYR ATTARIAN, Published: October 29, 2013
Belgium native and Los Angeles based drummer Billie Davies continues to forge her own path in the improvised music world. Endowed with an explorative temperament and unique, yet definite swing sense, Davies pays homage to Gypsy musicians on her fourth release as a leader, 12 Volt.
Just to be clear, this is not an album reinterpreting guitarist Django Reinhardt's tunes or anyone else's for that matter. It is a cohesive work of bold innovation and free flowing spontaneity in tribute to the unfettered spirit of those individuals. The title track, for instance, opens with Davies' thundering cascade of beats that fall like refreshing rain over guitarist Daniel Coffeng's earthy, slow simmering, chords. Her restless polyrhythms, tempered by the intricately textured, sublime timbres drive Coffeng's electrifying, fiery improvisation along bassist Adam Levy's densely woven rhythmic trails.
One of the thematic threads of the disc is a superb balance of cerebral creativity and a raw, visceral fervor. The passionate Tango for Patti is a dramatic piece filled with thrilling harmonic structures and a subtle and effusive assonance. Coffeng's crisp guitar's logical progression echoes over Davies' ardent, sensual rumble and Levy's delightfully angular, percussive bass lines.
The intelligent, spur of the moment extemporizations maintain throughout a definite melodicism. The bluesy Gypsy features Coffeng's soulful and mellifluous strings against Levy's agile walking bass and Davies' rocking drums in an enchanting and though provoking three-way dance. The closer, La Sieste, meanwhile, is an ethereal and fantastical composition with gorgeously elegiac tones. Davies' dexterous alternation of whispering brushes and tapping sticks, peppered with silent pauses, creates a hypnotic ambience filled with Coffeng's quietly poetic phrasing.
As evidenced on this uniformly intriguing disc Davies thrives in the sparse, collaborative setting of the trio. Throughout her recorded legacy, her partners have changed but her artistic imagination and her inspired ingenuity have solidified and matured. The result is a stimulating, original and singularly satisfying oeuvre that, hopefully, will continue to expand and evolve.
Track Listing: Collioure; Meeting Manitas; 12 Volt; Les Landes; Tango for Patti; Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes; Gypsy; La Sieste.
Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Daniel Coffeng: guitar; Adam Levy: bass.
Record Label: Cobra Basement
Style: Beyond Jazz
Billie Davies: 12 VOLT
On the first anniversary of her last CD release: The Billie Davies Trio - All About Love (Cobra Basement: 2012), 'lifelong natural musician' drummer Billie Davies has released another unimpeachable work: BILLIE DAVIES - 12 VOLT. Whereas, All About Love featured some of the music of venerated composers, including Victor Young, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Mongo Santamaria, 12 VOLT features exclusively original compositions of Billie Davies, revealing yet another formidable creative talent in Davies' impressive artistic arsenal; making this an important CD for Davies, since it adds the crucial tyne of 'composer/arranger' to her sterling artistic fork, augmenting fearless innovation, and superlative drumming technique.
For 12 VOLT, Davies employs again the trio setting, but with a significant change in players. On All About Love, Tom Bone Ralls appeared on trombone, and Oliver Steinberg played bass. Now guitarist Daniel Coffeng supplants Bone Ralls, and bassist Adam Levy takes the place of Steinberg. Davies describes 12 VOLT as an ode to Manitas De Plata, the renowned French-born gypsy guitar master, Django Reinhardt, considered the king of gypsy guitarists., and all Gypsies, Tsiganes, Manouche and Bohemians all over the world, sure to stir wide appeal, and escalating excitement among her expanding music public.
In 12 VOLT, Davies' trio presents a collection of musical images of the world of the Gypsy in portraits of untouched natural beauty, as well as its untouchable rugged other side, seen in the fierce pride and passion of a forgotten, invisible people, and their way of living; heard in the inspiring Gypsy Flamenco music; felt in the fiery guitar, the dancers' movements and expressions; a mountain of vital culture that demands an odyssey to experience; and Davies went, with her 12-VOLT 'Band on the Run; no APBs, like the McCartney & Wings 1973 model, but free-spirited bohemians that ... went everywhere the wind was blowing... (Davies), like (Collioure) with its bewitching European artists' light captured in uncomplicated droplets of color from Daniel Coppeng's guitar, and the easy-listening resonance of Davies' polyrhythmic exchanges.
Davies' other signature contribution to the date, beyond drumming ability, and creative energy, is a remarkable facility to remain unhurried, not irrationally exuberant, but attentive to pristine artistic environments, so as not to provoke uneven corruption or distracting, grainy, biases in the fine textures, natural colors, and flowing sequences of sights and sounds she sees, hears and plays back with impeccable sonic balance, and an almost reverential cadence (Meeting Manitas).
Davies' selection of guitarist Daniel Coffeng, and bassist Adam Levy for this project is noteworthy in its astuteness. Coffeng brings extraordinary facility for transition and energetic flow to avant jazz improvisation (12 Volt) with an extended, progressive, detailed solo, alternating between jazz and rock, but always clear and precise, like the sounds of crickets at night time. Coffeng's musical experience is deeply rooted in music cultures which reach into jazz, blues, soul, reggae, through to classical, rock, Eastern music, Latin American and West African music. Adam Levy is a well prepared and accomplished upright bass player. His mom was feeding him boogie woogie piano in their home at a very early age. He gets tons of experience from his brother, Mike, who Levy says is a prodigy on bass. Levy pursued a Jazz degree at the University of South Florida where he studied upright bass. He puts his bona fides in play with a superbly conversant passage depicting peacefulness and harmony, never bitter, (Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes) during exchanges with Davies' expressive drums, and Coffeng's descriptive guitar; reviving the intimate stories of Gypsies toiling in the fields; their loves, lives, prides and passions, against the unending rhythmic drumbeat of moving hands and feet.
These two talented players bring to the date, a collective of experience that compliments, and fuels Davies' dauntless search for fertile creative ground to express the varied, but complex experiences unique to her posit as the cutting-edge artist in Neo-Humanistic Expressionist Jazz (Les Landes; Tango for Patti). But Gypsies can swing too (Gypsy), because Django, The King taught them how. They listened, and never forgot. Now sadness, anger, and disappointment are anathema to them: Davies' vivid drumming, Coffeng's uplifting guitar, and Levy's unassailable bass notes, all say so in their precise rhythmic footprints that revisit musical paths Davies traveled while living, and loving the gypsy life all over the South of Europe; footprints now leading toward exciting, unexplored, far-reaching musical frontier space for her muse to continue that restless, relentless quest to create and give musical ears and voice to what is not there...yet!
~CJ Bond, JAZZ MUSIC
Billie Davies – 12 VOLT (2013)
The 23rd Annual L.A. Music Awards has recently nominated drummer and bandleader Davies as “Jazz Artist of the Year” for 2013, a mere four years after she set up shop in Los Angeles and made it her home. But this bohemian from Belgium has quickly made positive impressions everywhere she goes, including this reviewer when sizing up her third album all about Love a year ago. For album #4 12 Volt, Davies assembled a new trio to go along with her new songs, in which she constructed around a concept of simplicity and being closer to nature. In this case, being closer to nature meant deconstructing jazz to its base components. The liner notes for Billie Davies’ upcoming album went into the detail of what makes the jazz of this drummer stand out from the herd, but one sentence seemed to sum it up nicely: “Davies is not countering the modern jazz movement so much but rather stripping it down to its essence.”
Moving on from the trumpet/bass/drums configuration of Love, Davies enlisted Amsterdam guitarist Daniel Coffeng and acoustic bassist Adam Levy to make this album live in the studio in a single day. That’s an approach that has fostered simplicity and natural playing. The airy, free flowing way these songs are played are like that, too. Take the opening cut, “Collioure,” an esoteric melody that moves at a naturally occurring cadence. Davis is making melody right alongside Coffeng, and Levy’s arco bass provides a well-defined harmonic counterpoint. The second part of song descends and ascends, Davies soloing while closely following Coffeng’s moves. With such attention to timbre, space and mood, it’s easy to forget that much of the music here and on the rest of the album is dissonant, because it’s avant-garde in a very embraceable way.
When listening to Davies play, it’s easier to think of her not as a drummer but a tonal painter who swipes brushstrokes with her drumsticks. “Collioure” is a prime example, and also in her subtly guiding ever so incremental changes in intonation on songs such as “Tango for Patti” as well as confidently leading the group through a deconstructed section within “Les Landes.” On angular blues such as “!2 Volt” and “Grapes, Plums and Tomatoes” she swings authoritatively without ever having to resort to brute force.
Coffeng employs the pillowy, sweet tones of Jim Hall, and he demonstrates nifty single note run skills during a solo on “Gypsy.” But his economy of notes is perhaps his greatest asset for this session; it fits in fine with the “less is more” mantra Davies champions and allows her and Levy to be heard as equals. The songs generally follow the head-solos-head format, but the extended solo sections are allowed so much freedom, whole other songs are nearly created between the heads; the group members typically improvise as a unit.
It’s some honor for Billie Davies to be considered for the top jazz musician award in a big musical and cultural center such as Los Angeles, but that the institution pays close attention to the likes of her speaks well for their recognition of outlier talent. And 12 Volt can’t help but to strengthen Davies’ chances for winning it.
12 Volt is due out later this week on CDBaby.
~S Victor Aaron, Something Else!
Billie Davies 12 VOLT 2013
The organic essence of improvisational music. The evocative manipulation of sound and silence into a living breathing microcosm of emotion and spontaneous creativity.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Melodic minimalism...12 Volt is improvisational music stripped down to a bare bones approach of lyrical passion and purpose. Billie Davies is more than a drummer as she possesses compositional skills that have 12 Volt as engaging as perhaps any trio based ensemble working today. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of 12 Volt is that it is a live studio recording. Live studio recordings can be magic or they can be a train wreck.
Strictly as an instrumentalist Billie Davies is one of the more lyrically based drummers in the style of a Max Roach and her work is quickly gaining attention as she was nominated as Jazz Artist of the year 2013 by the 23rd annual L.A. Music Awards...The other ensemble members include guitarist Daniel Coffeng and bassist Adam Levy and the collective synergy here is an open ended warmth that seems to radiate from whatever devise you may be using to enjoy this stellar recording. There is a haunting zen like quality here, no notes are wasted while the expressionistic quality embraces a Bohemian like vibe more closely with improvisational music recorded some fifty years previous. This is a conceptual recording. The stroke of genius here is that the concept is that of abstract nothingness. Musical methodology that is strictly in the moment. Creativity that is unbridled, unchecked and not bound by preconceived notions of what something should sound like. Artistic comparisons are inherently unfair. Billie Davies compositions sound like Billie Davies. Daniel Coffeng is an incredibly engaging guitarist in the tradition of perhaps a John Abercrombie. Bassist Adam Levy is the soul pumpkin laying down a bass line reminiscent of a Ron Carter. All three artists are uniquely different but the harmonic exploratory conceived here is performed with a deceptively subtle uniformity while remaining abstract enough to attack the listener on a cerebral front. The perfect marriage of simplicity and complexity.
5 star review
~Brent Black, Bop-N-Jazz
O's PLACE JAZZ MAGAZINE Billie Davies - All About Love O's Notes: Billie Davies plays drums and leads a trio with trombonist Tom Bone Ralls and bassist Oliver Steinberg. The absence of keyboards or guitar leaves a lot of space to enjoy the full tones of these lower register instruments, a rather unique approach. The trio wrote three of the selections plus one from Ralls to go along with six freshly arranged standards. We liked the second rendition of Afro Blue best of all. ~D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Magazine.
JAZZ PROSPECTING The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love (2012, Cobra Basement): Drummer, website describes her as post cool jazz & avant garde drummer — could parse that two ways, with a disconnect either way. Album, her first as far as I can tell, is a trio with trombone (Tom Bone Ralls) and bass (Oliver Steinberg). Tuneful — well, anything with Afro Blue is that and this has two takes — shifted into a lower register, a nice effect, more cool than avant. B+(**) = 4.5 Stars
The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love (2012, Cobra Basement): In my review of the drummer's debut record, I referred to him and his when I should have written her. Not sure how I got confused about that. B+(**)
~Tom Hull, Jazz Prospecting.
JAZZ MUSIC The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love. Jazz combos without chordal accompaniment (pianoless) are rareties these days- if they exist at all. Gerry Mulligan's 1950 quartet, with trumpeter Chet Baker, bassist Bob Whitlock, and drummer Chico Hamilton; along with The Sonny Rollins Trio 1957 Way Out West album, featuring Ray Brown on bass, and Shelly Manne on drums, are two of the quintessential jazz aggregations that set the standard for this grouping. The Billie Davies Band is a pianoless ensemble that manages to overcome the challenges that are inherent in such an arrangement: maintaining stimulating textures and colors without generating chaos; keeping clear harmonic structures; and eschewing loss of place by musicians and listeners. Stripping down the date's selections to their elemental harmonic and melodic form, the trio imbues each song with renewed innovative inventions that emanate from a genuine awareness and respect for their histories. The listener is treated to jazz inclinations within the trio that bristle with cutting-edge freshness. Familiarity and accessibility ignite the listener's interest and assist the players in rising to the challenge of achieving and maintaining harmonic structure on the opening track (Stella By Starlight), Victor Young and Ned Washington's beautiful jazz standard. Trombonist Tom Bone Ralls raspy, but rounded and melodic opening solo is answered by drummer Billie Davies' tasteful, intricate, progressive polyrhythms. It falls naturally to drummer Davies and bassist Oliver Steinberg to map out the changes clearly, leaving space for Bone Ralls' trombone to execute the melody and improvise his composition (Downtown In The Rain). However, it is the trio's reading of Miles Davis' (Jean Pierre: We Want Miles; 1981), that showed the highest level of harmonic and melodic magical interplay; achieved around the sound of Davies' Tony Williams-like time signatures and Steinberg's pulsing bass beat; giving the tune a textured, slinky strut, overlayed with Bone Ralls stupefying trombone reprise of Davis' sound, and ethereal, chant-like voicing, culminating in a Milesian, signature Harmon muted-like coda. Tom Bone Ralls plays the trombone like he's got all the time he needs; not lazy; his phrasing is well rounded, pristine, and is impacted with depth, and an inspired eloquence that is the result of his comprehensive playing experience. His interpretations of John Coltrane's (Naima), and Mongo Santamaria's Afro-Cuban classic (Afro Blue) are soulful, satisfying, and considerably informed by Davies' drumming which eschews self indulgence, instead making space for Tom Bone Ralls to convey each tune's simple, subtle beauty with ravishing, elemental clarity. Billie Davies stunning drumming technique and style are undoubtedly by-products of the vicissitudes attendant to her existence as a 'lifelong natural musician'; and a creative passionate focus to her music, matched only by a fierce inner muse that shepherds her personal and professional stratagems. But it is her uncanny ability to 'listen,' 'hear,' and communicate a certain emotional, common feeling to listeners, musicians, and audience, that makes her a jazz drummer and nourishes her boundless improvisational skills; anticipating the conversations on three of her avant gard compositions, (Green Cheese; BUrst; High Noon) between bassist Steinberg and trombonist Bone Ralls and providing context, energy and drive. In the end, many elements make this date work; the artists, their talent, and experience; Surely Billie Davies' dream and creative endeavor to produce a sublime, genre-stretching, versatile, committed trio. But when everything is considered, tallied, and summed up; the total indicates, that it's really: All About Love. ~CJ Bond, JAZZ MUSIC -
JAZZ TIMES Female Drummer Billie Davies, who originally hails from Belgium is at the helm, leading her trio through a well-balanced program of standards re-arranged and originals that complement each other in the context of this recording with ease. This is not for the casual listener who lives in the swing zone – All About Love is just that, a true love story of the improvisation of jazz and its innate nature to stretch, pull and push the boundaries. The Billie Davies Trio truly shows its devotion to the jazz idiom with this wonderful debut of creative modern borderline Avant-garde offering – truly a delight on many levels and I hope not the last from The Billie Davies Trio. ~Geannine Reid, Jazz Times -
THE BORDERLAND by: John M. Peters The Billie Davies Trio - All About Love (Cobra Basement) Oct 5, 2012
All About Love could equally have been called All About Improv as this album is all about the spontaneous moment that jazz is created. A trio of musicians set in a circle facing each other in a small recording studio and playing off each others creativity. With Billie Davies on drums, Tom Bones Ralls on trombone and Oliver Steinberg on bass, this is a trio that stretches the boundaries beyond the norm. The album contains a mix of original music by the trio and several covers by the likes of Miles Davis, Mongo Santamaria and John Coltrane. Ms Davies hails from Belgium but is veteran traveler around the world and has been long settled in the USA, where she has absorbed a lot of jazz and mastered the drums. I think this may be her first album as leader, but it has a confidence hewn from much playing of improv and avant-garde jazz. As you would imagine with such a line-up of instruments the sound is spare and sparse, rather raw but refined through the musical experience of the three players.
All About Love contains ten tracks and their titles are: Stella By Starlight, Downtown in the Rain, Jean Pierre, Naima, Afro Blue, Green Cheese, Burst!, High Noon, Afro Blue Too, Stella By Starlight Too. I don't think this is an album that will appeal to the casual jazz listener - the strong improvisation and avant-garde nature of the music demands serious attention from a committed listener. But if they do commit their time and ears to this album they won't be disappointed by what they hear.
For more information about this artist, album and availability visit:
JAZZMUSIC by: CJ Bond Oct 2, 2012. The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love. Year: 2012 Style: Jazz Label: Cobra Basement Musicians: Billie Davies - drums; Tom Bone Ralls - trombone; Oliver Steinberg - bass.
CD Review: Jazz combos without chordal accompaniment (pianoless) are rareties these days- if they exist at all. Gerry Mulligan's 1950 quartet, with trumpeter Chet Baker, bassist Bob Whitlock, and drummer Chico Hamilton; along with The Sonny Rollins Trio 1957 Way Out West album, featuring Ray Brown on bass, and Shelly Manne on drums, are two of the quintessential jazz aggregations that set the standard for this grouping. The Billie Davies Trio is a pianoless ensemble that manages to overcome the challenges that are inherent in such an arrangement: maintaining stimulating textures and colors without generating chaos; keeping clear harmonic structures; and eschewing loss of place by musicians and listeners. Stripping down the date's selections to their elemental harmonic and melodic form, the trio imbues each song with renewed innovative inventions that emanate from a genuine awareness and respect for their histories. The listener is treated to jazz inclinations within the trio that bristle with cutting-edge freshness.
Familiarity and accessibility ignite the listener's interest and assist the players in rising to the challenge of achieving and maintaining harmonic structure on the opening track (Stella By Starlight), Victor Young and Ned Washington's beautiful jazz standard. Trombonist Tom Bone Ralls raspy, but rounded and melodic opening solo is answered by drummer Billie Davies' tasteful, intricate, progressive polyrhythms.
It falls naturally to drummer Davies and bassist Oliver Steinberg to map out the changes clearly, leaving space for Bone Ralls' trombone to execute the melody and improvise his composition (Downtown In The Rain). However, it is the trio's reading of Miles Davis' (Jean Pierre: We Want Miles; 1981), that showed the highest level of harmonic and melodic magical interplay; achieved around the sound of Davies' Tony Williams-like time signatures and Steinberg's pulsing bass beat; giving the tune a textured, slinky strut, overlayed with Bone Ralls stupefying trombone reprise of Davis' sound, and ethereal, chant-like voicing, culminating in a Milesian, signature Harmon muted-like coda.
Tom Bone Ralls plays the trombone like he's got all the time he needs; not lazy; his phrasing is well rounded, pristine, and is impacted with depth, and an inspired eloquence that is the result of his comprehensive playing experience. His interpretations of John Coltrane's (Naima), and Mongo Santamaria's Afro-Cuban classic (Afro Blue) are soulful, satisfying, and considerably informed by Davies' drumming which eschews self indulgence, instead making space for Bone Ralls to convey each tune's simple, subtle beauty with ravishing, elemental clarity.
Billie Davies stunning drumming technique and style are undoubtedly by-products of the vicissitudes attendant to her existence as a 'lifelong natural musician'; and a creative passionate focus to her music, matched only by a fierce inner muse that shepherds her personal and professional stratagems. But it is her uncanny ability to 'listen,' 'hear,' and communicate a certain emotional, common feeling to listeners, musicians, and audience, that makes her a jazz drummer and nourishes her boundless improvisational skills; anticipating the conversations on three of her avant gard compositions, (Green Cheese; BUrst; High Noon) between bassist Steinberg and trombonist Bone Ralls and providing context, energy and drive.
In the end, many elements make this date work; the artists, their talent, and experience; Surely Billie Davies' dream and creative endeavor to produce a sublime, genre-stretching, versatile, committed trio. But when everything is considered, tallied, and summed up; the total indicates, that it's really: All About Love.
Track Listing: Stella By Starlight; Downtown In The Rain; Jean Pierre; Naima; Afro Blue; Green Cheese; BUrst; High Noon; Afro Blue Too; Stella By Starlight Too.
Recording Engineer: George Radai.
Mixing by Mike Davies and Billie Davies.
CD Mastering by John Vestman at Vestman Mastering.
Recording & Sound Technology/Engineering Management: Mike Davies.
A Cobra Basement Production.
Recorded at Mike & Billie Davies Studio, Hollywood, California.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ Billie Davies: All About Love (2012) By HRAYR ATTARIAN, Published: September 21, 2012 Billie Davies: All About Love
Idiosyncratic drummer Billie Davies is mostly an autodidact whose natural talent, relentless, explorative spirit and multifaceted experiences have led to an innovative approach to jazz. Her bold individualism is showcased on All About Love, a collaborative effort that has her democratically guiding an unusual, bottom-heavy ensemble with lyrical trombonist Tom Bone Ralls and versatile bassist Oliver Steinberg.
Davies creates complex motives and blurs the distinction between melody and rhythm on such pieces as John Coltrane's Naima and the minimalistic second take of the Mongo Santamaria classic Afro Blue Too. Her rich harmonies contrast nicely with the atonality of her own High Noon that flirts with the avant-garde. The tune also demonstrates the intense camaraderie that drives the intrepid and unpredictable group interplay.
These intelligent three-way conversations, with their musical twists and turns, endow the two short originals, Green Cheese and Burst, with a deliciously surreal atmosphere as Ralls' earthy and expansive trombone blows over the rapidly evolving tapestry of tight bass and drum cadences.
Ralls angular style does not sacrifice any of his warmth and lyricism on Stella by Starlight, and his bluesy embellishments remain highly cerebral on Afro Blue. His muted sound still swaggers on Miles Davis' fusion-esque Jean Pierre. The track also features Steinberg's soulful electric bass and Davies' edgy and swinging kit work.
Steinberg is equally adept on the acoustic version of his instrument, as he amply demonstrates with a complex pizzicato solo on Stella by Starlight Too. His cool and dependable grooves anchor another Davies theme, Downtown in the Rain.
On this third release as a leader, the Belgium native/California-based Davies demonstrates a mature temperament as she skirts the edges of modal and free extemporizations with her delightfully singular trio. The intimate yet progressive music on this too brief album is like modern poetry, mordant yet sublime.
Track Listing: Stella By Starlight; Downtown in the Rain; Jean Pierre; Naima; Afro Blue; Green Cheese; Burst!; High Noon; Afro Blue Too; Stella By Starlight Too.
SOMETHING ELSE! September 15, 2012 at 7:57 am The Billie Davies Trio – all about Love (2012) by S. Victor Aaron
Belgium native Billie Davies first started drumming at the age of three, and even though she dabbled in a number of other artistic endeavors, like singing and DJ’ing, her skills behind the kit were notable enough to garner the attention of Max Roach, who offered her a scholarship at the Berklee School of Music. It was at a time of her life when she was having too much fun to engage in serious studies, so she turned it down.
Eventually though, Davies devoted herself full time toward drumming, picking up innumerable styles that she has mastered, including soul/funk, blues, classical, and all shades of jazz. In the last few year, though, she’s immersed herself into jazz forms exclusively, moving to Hollywood and forming a trio, the Billie Davies Trio. The fruits of her collaboration with trio members Tom Bone Ralls (trombone) and Oliver Steinberg (bass) are set forth in this new CD, all about Love.
all about Love is all about relaxed improvisation, with a hard swing coming from Davies and a distillation of each song’s melody down to only its crucial notes. That leaves vast, wide open spaces in which to stretch out. What sets Davies’ record apart from other drummer-led records is this: she doesn’t have to play so hard nosed to get herself noticed, because there’s only a bass and a tactfully played trombone in front of her. She’s able to attract attention by playing naturally.
Davies, as noted, swings her ass off, but is always layering it with polyrhythms and tasteful fills, a style not terribly afar from the great Elvin Jones’ or the subtle complexity of Peter Erskine. There are a lot of well-worn standards here: “Naima,” “Jean Pierre” (Youtube below) and two renditions a piece of “Stella By Starlight” and “Afro Blue.” That might typically trouble me, but the performances themselves make too much hay for me to pay much mind to what standards have been chosen. In addition to these tunes, Ralls turns in a melodic original “Downtown In The Rain,”(Youtube below) and there are a couple of brief group improvs “Green Cheese” and BUrst!,” as well as a bluesy jam “High Noon.”
The loose feel of all about Love and the effortless mastery of rhythms displayed by Davies make this an easy album to sink your ears into, even though it’s also a record that pushes out the songs to abstract places. Billie Davies has been around a lot of places doing a lot of different things, but on this record, she seems to have settled into the comfy environs of modern jazz.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love (2012) By C. MICHAEL BAILEY, Published: September 2, 2012 The Billie Davies Trio: All About Love Track review of Afro Blue / Afro Blue Too
Jazz compressed into small places, as it is in drummer Billie Davies' trombone trio, often gives the most unpredictable yet satisfying results. Piano-less trios are nothing new, but one lead by a trombonist, while still being comparable to Sonny Rollins' tenor saxophone trios of the 1950s, certainly is. Trombonist Tom Bone Ralls is careful to fill any space, avoiding the overuse of slurs and glissandos. The collection of originals and standards is largely introspective and influenced by saxophonist John Coltrane's horizontal method of improvisation.
This Coltrane strain is most evident on Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue and its reprise—long a staple of Coltrane's late period catharsis. Davies provides polyrhythmic propellant to bassist Oliver Steinberg, while Ralls plays the harmonic head straight. His solo progressively becomes more abstract without becoming dissonant and distant. Steinberg sets up the hypnotic mantra that is punctuated by Davies and takes advantage of the space provided judiciously before the theme reemerges. Afro Blue Too revisits the tune, adding sharper corners to the melody and rhythm while softening the solo spaces. This provides for a nice contrast on this spare instrumental recording.
THIS IS BOOKS MUSIC
by: John Book
REVIEW: The Billie Davies Trio’s “all about Love.”
The music created by Billie Davies (drums), Oliver Steinberg (bass), and Tom Bone Ralls (trombone) on all above Love. (self-released sounds like that cool “after hours” jazz you seek and want to find at 3 or 4 in the morning when you motel smells like cigarettes and ass, you’re hungry, and you’re not tired just yet. Yet you enter a nightclub or basement at the end of town, it still smells like cigarettes and ass but you feel like you’re in familiar territory. This is love, this is jazz, this is life. This is music.
The choice of songs played by Billie Davies and her trio are quite good, including versions of “Naima”, “Afro Blue”, “Stella By Starlight”, and “Jean Pierre”. Davies’ drumming is the anchor behind these, but to hear what Ralls and Steinberg do with the trombone and bass respectively… again, it feels like “after hours” jazz and you may want to listen to this with your eyes closed, wear a blindfold, or simply wait until 2 or 3am in the morning to get a true feel for what they’re trying to create. It’s intimate, moving, and powerful, and those who enjoy their jazz in trio settings will lap this up deliciously. Thank you to Davies, Ralls, and Steinberg for doing this for the Love.
The Billie Davies Trio
All About Love
Cobra Basement 2012
After reviewing releases for well over two years now I know what I like...namely an artist that can take old school and flip the sound into new cool. The Billie Davies Trio does this as well as any trio around but with literally bare bones instrumentation they run on passion, ingenuity and raw talent that ensembles twice their size spend an entire career looking for.
All About Love hits the streets on 09/25/12 and what we have are some iconic classics given a more contemporary spin while maintaining the integrity of the original. When most people think trio they think piano, bass and drums. Here we have Billie Davies on drums, Tom Bone Ralls on trombone and Oliver Steinberg holding things together on bass. Organic, eclectic, or jazz minimalism it works! Outside of a little reverb on the trombone the recording is literally live in the studio, as raw and real as live jazz gets. Opening with Stella By Starlight we have a straight ahead swing, lyrically driven and with spot on phrasing and dynamics. While the instumentation may be somewhat eclectic the accessibility of the music should satisfy those that often say, I don't like jazz but I like that... The John Coltrane classic Naima is dialed back to a more expressive and soulful ballad showcasing the virtuoso talent that is Tom Bone Ralls. Steinberg is rock steady on bass and the deceptively subtle nuances from Davies on drums help take the musical train straight to the station. Afro Blue has a nice syncopated pop and harmonic direction. Swing is king.
What is incredibly refreshing with All About Love is that the music is allowed to flow freely. Nothing is self indulgent, pretentious or over blown but instead Davies as most good drummers will do - pushes the music front and center. There is all most nothing that is not enjoyable with this release. The organic sound is reminiscent of the work of Rudy Van Gelder which should give you an idea of just how pristine the quality of this disc really is. The trio doesn't hang out in odd meter or subscribe to the speed is king school of music theory. The Billie Davies Trio plays it straight, when you are that good you can do that.
Billie Davies has gone from Bohemian jazz gypsy to a formidable talent in jazz drumming. The irony is that her interest was peaked by the Phil Collins pop smash In The Air Tonight. Bottom line is it is not the road taken but reaching your destination as a musician that counts. A superior release that hits all its marks perfectly!
Volume 35/Number 308
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
BILLIE DAVIES TRIO/All About Love:
Nothing new here folks, but a lot of nice playing along the way. Cool school post bop improv, live work outs on jazz standards fill the disc and fill the time nicely. Playing together in the same room in the same take, old school style, this is a nice back in the day throw back jazz trio set with a lady drummer leading the way. Fun stuff that doesn’t aim to change the world, just make it a nicer place.
I would describe this music as contemporary modal with a romantic twist or perhaps neo-Cool Jazz. Very much like Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy & Jackie McLean but in 2012. Lyrical, good phrasing, nice rhythms but at the same time very approachable and listenable even for non jazz audiences. One could not better describe it then Post-Cool Jazz.
12 VoltCobra Basement
All About LoveSelf Produced
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