Ballad for a Future Day

Nearly fifteen years ago, jazz producer Helen Keane who had been Bill Evans manager for decades, produced a demo of a jazz piano trio featuring Roger Davidson, who is also known as a composer of large scale orchestral and choral works. This recording, Davidson’s first as a jazzer and a rubric for subsequent forays such as the 2003 bossa-nova infused Rodgers in Rio, was actually the brainchild of Keane who had heard Davidson perform one of his own “classical” compositions and afterwards exclaimed: “You play really well. What about starting to play jazz?” While Keane was impressed enough to turn the demo into a full album, somehow the session was never released until this month. If you expect this to be some sort of classical crossover thing, you’d be completely mistaken. Davidson’s playing is idiomatically jazz all the way, helped in no small part by his handy sidemen, bassist and the aptly named drummer David Ratajczak. This is all the more remarkable given that the orchestral and choral compositions I’ve heard by Davidson are not at all jazz-tinged.


—FJO