That the loss of a loved one might result in the creation of a fine work of art should come as no great surprise. The list of such works in every artistic genre is long. And For the Love of Lori, saxophonist Charles Davis’s tribute to his wife who died of cancer in 2012, is one fine jazz album, one that clearly belongs on that list.
Leading a sextet that features the trumpet of Joe Magnarelli and the trombone of Steve Davis, alongside pianist Rick Germanson, bassist David Williams and drummer Neil Smith, Charles Davis has put together an eight-track set of originals and standards that not only honors the memory of his wife with its emotional sincerity, but gives listeners an outlet to deal with their own losses. If the album is cathartic for the artist, it is no less cathartic for the sensitive listener.
Almost in a metaphor of the stages of grief, the album moves generally from its second track, a plaintive arrangement of the Irving Berlin classic “What’ll I Do?,” through the impassioned Davis composition that gives the album its title, to the final note of hope for reunion, as in the standard “I’ll Be Seeing You.” For the Love of Lori follows the tried and true pattern—grief, acceptance, hope. Between the stages of grief there are the moments when life goes on, when other thoughts and feelings occupy the psyche, here represented by a variety of interspersed tunes in other moods. “KD,” is a hard bop-styled nod to trumpeter Kenny Dorham, “Into the Himalayas,” an escape into exoticism. There is even an allusion to another more recent death, that of the great pianist Cedar Walton with Germanson’s arrangement of “Cedar’s Blues.”
Admittedly, I may be reading more into the album than intended. So ignore the metaphor if you will, the music really doesn’t need it. This is an album filled with fine solo work from beginning to end. Just to point to a few examples: there is Steve Davis’s mourning trombone on “What’ll I Do?,” to say nothing of the sax work of the leader and Germanson on the piano. Magnarelli has a soulful bit on “For the Love of Lori” as well as some sweet work on “Juliano.” Indeed there is great solo work thoughout from the whole front line.
However you think about it, whether as the emotional journey of a man coming to terms with the death of his beloved, or simply as top notch jazz, For the Love of Lori is one fine album.
Photo credit: nuncaeslupus/YouTube
[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00KIZSXWE,B00K49RGQS]