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Avant-garde drummer Billie Davies’ new album “Hand in Hand In the Hand of the Moon”

By Matt Micucci

The first New Orleans album by Billie Davies is a tribute to Danish avant-garde artist Serge Vandercam.

Billie Davies is an American female jazz drummer and composer, born in Bruges, Belgium on December 10, 1955. She is best known for her avant garde and avant-garde jazz compositions, as well as her revered improvisational drumming skills, that especially gained attention from the mid-nineties, after performing around Europe and the US.

She had often quotes her mother Simone Clybouw as her biggest influence both on an artistic and personal level. It was her mother that introduced her to jazz, and named her after the great Billie Holiday. She was hence raised listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, Edith Piaf, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone among other artists.

It was at aroudn the age of 25 that she started the transition to becoming a professional musician, influenced by such artists as Al Foster, Billy Higgins and Peter Erskine.

Her new album Hand in Hand In the Hand of the Moon, is the first album drummer, composer and bandleader Billie Davies recorded since wrapping up a successful, five-year stay in Los Angeles and heading east to the more exotic environs of New Orleans. It was recorded on one take on an afternoon in April, with Ari Kohn on reeds, Branden Lewis on trumpet, Evan Oberla on trombone and Oliver Watkinson on bass.

In this album, Davies homage to Danish-born Belgian artist Serge Vandercam a Danish-born Belgian painter, photographer, sculptor and ceramist associated with the CoBrA group, a European avant-garde movement active from 1948 to 1951, named from the initials of the member’s home cities: Copenhagen (Co), Brussels (Br), Amsterdam (A).

Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon is a musical symphony inspired by Vandercam’s exquisite creations. Davies says it is, “The painter influenced by the drummer and the drummer influenced by the painter over a period of three days of the full moon.” With the album, Davies continues a “collaborative work, conceived in 1995 resulting 20 years later in a series of 8 paintings and a jazz symphony of eight musical movements.”

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