JAZZIZ Backstage Pass: Steve Davis – The Last Jazz Messenger

Steve Davis (Photo: Jimmy Katz)

Trombonist Steve Davis has been a member of some of the most prestigious ensembles in jazz: Chick Corea’s Origins, the Jackie McLean Sextet, Benny Golson’s New Jazztet, the Christian McBride Big Band and the all-star collective One For All. But his biggest claim to fame may be that he was the last musician ever to be hired into Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He even appeared on that legendary group’s final studio album, 1990’s One for All.

Now, nearly 30 years later, Davis has released a new album, Correlations, on which the all-star trombonist has assembled a powerhouse group all his own. Released March 8 on Smoke Sessions Records, the album finds Davis at the helm of a new, multi-generational sextet that is packed with talent and loaded with potential. In a way, the new CD represents a coming-full-circle for Davis, who now occupies the mentor role that Blakey and others once held in his life. In this episode, we talk to Davis about the new CD and what he learned from leaders like Blakey and McLean (Hint: don’t hog the solo spotlight, but do wear the right jacket to the gig).

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