Release Date: October 03, 2019
Common Tones is Napoleon’s second record on Detroit Music Factory. It explores the balance that comes from the intergenerational musical exchange that is as foundational to jazz as any elements of sound or expression.
Release Date: May 28, 2019
“Making records at Hitsville was a very creative process in which the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts,” says Coffey. “That’s the part that people don’t talk about. It was the teamwork that really made those records work, that’s what we did.”
Not to say that the individual musicians weren’t bringing their distinctive talents to the sessions – that unforgettable opening guitar line on “Just My Imagination” … Coffey made that up on the spot, playing music they had never seen nor rehearsed before the
session, as was often the case. But as he puts it, he played, before anything else, what the music called for.
By contrast, Coffey’s solo work is much more singular. When he’s the featured artist, his style comes through regardless of the genre of music. Whether it’s a funk tune or a jazz standard, you can always tell it’s him.
As a traditional jazz record, what we hear on Down by the River may reflect less of the structure of Coffey’s most famous session work, and perhaps echo more of what he was playing in the listening clubs of Detroit during that same era.
As can be expected, the lineup of musicians that join Coffey on the record are some of Detroit’s best, including: Steve Adams,
Phil Whitfield, John Barron, Mark Byerly, John Rutherford, Keith Kaminski, Damon Warmack, Gayelynn McKinney and Demetrius Nabors.
Release Date: May 17, 2019
“People love hearing two saxophones,” says tenor player Steve Wood. “But it’s more than just the idea of the conflict. I think another thing that people like about it is that both guys are playing the same instrument, but they sound completely different. It’s kind of interesting how two people can take the same instrument and yet sound so totally unlike each other.”
Wood studied music at one of the country’s first jazz programs, under the direction of Marvin “Doc” Holiday at Oakland University. He’s one of the two tenor saxophone players featured in Detroit Tenors. The group’s debut Detroit Music Factory recording, by the same name, is very much about the two-tenor saxophone tradition in jazz.
Detroit Tenors the record, like Detroit Tenors the band, is a shared vision between Wood and fellow tenor saxophone player, Carl Cafagna.
Release Date: May 16, 2019
Bassist Miles Brown comes from a musical family that runs generationally deep. His father is an accomplished jazz guitarist, and was the director of the Jazz Studies program at Ithaca College; his uncle played trumpet in Stan Kenton’s band in the 70s; and his grandfather was a high school band director and a vibes and marimba player for the Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat.
“There were always musicians coming through our house,” remembers Brown. “Mostly jazz musicians, staying the night, eating dinner, rehearsing.”
The format of Evidence of Soul and Body is traditional. The sound world is the acoustic jazz quintet, and there are about an equal number of standards as there are originals. But the arrangements and performances reflect the distinct influences of Brown and the other musicians: drummer Sean Dobbins, pianist Xavier Davis, saxophonist Diego Rivera, and his father, guitarist Steve Brown. The mood of the record is joyful throughout, which Brown attributes to his appreciation for the players.
“The album…is a tribute to music and family,” says Brown. “We created something that grew from the family that surrounds us, supports us and inspires us.”
Release Date: August 13, 2018
In 1994, Xavier Davis was playing with his college ensemble at the International Association of Jazz Educators in Boston when legendary vocalist Betty Carter spotted him. Carter was so impressed with the talented young artist that she invited him to New York, hiring him exclusively as the pianist for her working trio.
Nearly 25 years later, Davis has played on more than 50 albums, including the Grammy-winning recordings “Bringin’ It” and “The Good Feeling,” by the Christian McBride Big Band, with whom he still plays. He has shared the stage and recorded with some of the jazz world’s most celebrated musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln, Steve Turre … the list goes on.
During his time in New York, he also played keyboard for the hit television series “Cosby,” worked as the Musical Director for the Boys Choir of Harlem, and taught in the Jazz Department of the Julliard School of Music for six years.