During his long career, veteran pianist/composer Roger Davidson has confidently and successfully performed in a variety of genres, including everything from the classics to bebop. He even spent some time leading a chamber music group and also wrote a lot of sacred choral music. Born in Paris, he’s also had a long-time fascination with world music, and especially Latin sounds.
Over the past decade he’s put that preference to good use with a half-dozen strong albums, and his newest, Bom Dia, takes him down that path one more time. Joined again by bassist David Finck and drummer Paulo Braga – both celebrated in their own right – he’s also enlisted a guest star for a few cuts, Latin percussionist Marivaldo Dos Santos.
It’s an ideal group for the bossa nova sound that permeates the album’s songs (all of which were composed by Davidson) and they do a good job of creating the authentic feel of lush tropical nights. In fact, Davidson says that the album is a celebration of the origin of bossa nova a half-century ago, when samba rhythms fused with jazz on the Brazilian music scene. It created a sound that led to a boom in popularity in the hands of Stan Getz and others. Of course, we don’t have Getz or any other sax player on this album, but in some ways that almost makes for a purer sound, with the definite feel of authenticity.
The first track is one of the best, and although “Fabiana” is a common name in Brazil, Davidson admits that there is no mystery inspiration for its naming — he just liked the name. In any case, it jumps the listener off into the perfect mood with it’s fast bounce and rhythms, as does another piece, the title song “Bom Dia (Good Day).”
Since all songs are new compositions there are no Latin standards here, but a few tracks have the potential. Among my favorites, the soft ballad “Tristezas do Amor (Love’s Sadness)” is a showcase for Davidson’s keyboard skills, and “Ela Me Ama (She Loves Me),” which is faster and more in the style of the music of Carnival.
My favorite on the album was probably “Contemplacao (Contemplation),” which – in spite of its name – was a fast moving and delightful piece that not only features some nice percussion work but also spotlights bassist Finck. Good stuff.
Overall, a nice collection from Davidson and friends. Recommended.