New York trombonist/composer Michael Davis marks the release of his 11th album with his most dynamic and energizing offering to date. Hip-Bone Big Band showcases the electricity and energy of the modern big band and features an elite roster of New York legends and young lions. The 12 original compositions and arrangements feature a handful of internationally renowned trombone virtuosi, including Davis, Michael Dease, Marshall Gilkes, Conrad Herwig, Andy Martin, Bob McChesney and Bill Reichenbach.
Additionally, the prodigious ensemble is comprised of a who’s who of the jazz and big band worlds including Vanguard Jazz Orchestra veterans Dick Oatts on lead alto, Nick Marchione handling lead trumpet duties and Scott Wendholt holding down the jazz trumpet chair. The saxophone section also features jazz great Bob Malach, Paul Simon’s featured tenor man Andy Snitzer and Steely Dan horn section member Roger Rosenberg on the baritone saxophone. The chairs of rhythm are manned by the best of the best with longtime member of Yellowjackets, drummer Will Kennedy, handling much of the drum responsibilities, New York jazz veteran David Finck anchoring the bass department and long time Chris Botti keyboardist Andy Ezrin rounding out the section on piano.
In addition to the virtuosic ensemble playing and soloing featured on the project, Hip-Bone Big Band is a showcase for Davis’s trademark compositional and arranging style. As a frequent guest artist at colleges around the country for the past 20 years, Davis has been able to write a wide array of pieces that showcase all aspects of big band performance and the trombone in particular.
“Some of these compositions were originally written in the late ’90s, while others were finished a few days before going into the studio,” Davis says with a smile. “Having an ensemble of this magnitude record your music is a dream come true for any musician.”
Davis’s pedigree in the world of big band jazz is as formidable as it is noteworthy. Fresh out of college at the age of 21, he signed on for what would become a two-year stint with Buddy Rich and his high-energy big band. A gig Davis still describes as “one of the best experiences of my career.” During his two years with Buddy, the band would often be utilized as a warm up act for Frank Sinatra and many of the horn players from Buddy’s band would be used to supplement Sinatra’s orchestra. Due to this good fortune, Davis was eventually offered a position in Sinatra’s touring band and ended playing lead trombone with Ol’ Blue Eyes for the better part of seven years.
After further stops with the orchestras of Woody Herman and Louis Bellson, Davis landed a chair in the great Bob Mintzer big band. Mintzer has gone on to become a mentor and major influence to Davis both as a player and a writer. “Bob has been a major inspiration and influence on me and I’m absolutely honored to have been a part of his band for 25 years” says Davis.
Based on his longstanding commitment to music education, Davis will also offer the recording (in physical or digital format) free to students at all schools he is a guest artist at in the future. “It’s vitally important for young musicians to have the opportunity to listen to and emulate the music they perform, and in this case, the music from Hip-Bone Big Band. Through this album, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to their musical development in some small way.”
Davis has enjoyed a diverse and acclaimed career over the past three decades. Widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones from 1994 to 2007, he toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 11 solo albums, composed over 150 works, authored 13 books and appeared on over 500 albums and motion picture soundtracks. He is the founder and president of Hip-Bone Music, offering a wide variety of educational tools aimed to assist young brass players including online master classes, books, extensive interviews with top brass players and practice routines.
As testimony to his versatility and wide regard, the list of jazz and pop luminaries he has worked with includes: Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Jay Z, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Beck, Branford Marsalis, Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, Bob Mintzer, Paul Simon, David Sanborn, Terence Blanchard and scores of others.