Few brass players have equaled and none has surpassed cornetist Wild Bill Davison for sheer drive and power.
A first set at the Holiday Inn, Alexandria last night clarified that nearly six decades of blowing has not slowed him down. An abbreviated catalogue of his stylistic traits would include blasts, rips, rasps, growls, smears, chopped off phrases, and bitten off notes, all of these delivered in a feverish staccato line and with head-over-heels attack. His stop-time passage and ride-out chorus on "Sweet Georgia Brown" constituted a compendium of these.
French born Jacques Kerrien, who studied soprano saxophone with Sidney Bechet, played with his master's passion and force but without his vibrato.New Yorker Herb Gardner got off a sobbing plunger-muted solo on "Basin Street."
Tenorist Mason "Country" Thomas' endless flow of ideas was displayed on "Blue Turning Gray," and Larry Eanet at the piano strode in fine form on "Who's Sorry Now."
The ultimate compliment was expressed in Davison's comment, "When you have a drummer like Eddie Physe you don't need a bass player."
Wild Bill Davison's Ambassadors perform again at noon today at the Hayloft in Manassas. It is a benefit concert for jazz writer Lou Byers, a cancer patient.