COMMOTION is the latest chapter in an evolving story that began when Alvin Davis first started playing Cornet as a 13-year-old schoolboy in Handsworth, Birmingham. The cornet soon became a trumpet and Alvin found himself at the Euphonius School of Music (ESM), under the tutelage of veteran player Jonathan Johnson. Graduating from the ESM with distinction, Alvin soon discovered what he had been looking for - the expressive sound of the alto saxophone, that has become his voice.
'Payin his dues' working with such Giants like ,Edwin Starr, Neville Staples, Alton Ellis, Steel Pulse, classical star Nigel Kennedy, and R&B artists like Jackie Graham proved an excellent training ground.
Following several years of touring, the turning point in Alvin Davis’s career came after working with '80s pop chart toppers Fun boy three: "I started to get frustrated as a sideman, and I felt I had something to contribute so I started writing," he recalls. An initial record deal with an independent label resulted in his 1992 solo debut "Let it Blow" A year later, Alvin Davis was licensed to Sony Records in the U.S and released the second album "Let the vibes decide". The following album, 1995's "Take Flight" was a best-seller and added more lustre to his ever-growing reputation as a masterful musician, with an identifiable style that fused funk, Reggae, R&B and jazz.
The albums reached chart heights, both getting top 10 places in R&R and Gavin , this further expanded Alvin Davis’s popularity. and he soon began achieving international success, resulting in a first visit to the US.
The multi-talented saxophonist, vocalist, producer and songwriter (who wrote or co-wrote eleven tunes on the album) enthusiastically agrees that COMMOTION "is my most fully realized album.
"I feel I've succeeded in incorporating more of an urban flavour, 'cause musically my roots are firmly in R&B and reggae. I grew up listening to Stevie (Wonder), Earth, Wind & Fire, Grover Washington Jr., Ronnie Laws, and these days you'll find me listening to Jill Scott, D'Angelo and other neo soul artists."
Indeed, COMMOTION boasts a stellar cast of current musical stars, including songbird Lupa who provides guest vocals on the memorable cut 'Love for sale'; Bassist and solo artist Peter Reid, who can be heard on "Ghetto Child," a tune co-written by the late great Curtis Mayfield; and industry favourite Lester Davis, featured on the soulful opening cut "Try my love" and "Big time brother". Other notable contributors to Alvin davis's latest artistic triumph include pianist Steve Sheriff of the innovative Jazz team Ty's and musician/producer Gary Graham who co-wrote two tunes on the album. Alvin adds that working with renowned bassist Peter Reid on the groove-flavoured "Ghetto Child" was very special.
"I didn't try to make this record different, but it's true that it has a more intense, funkier feel to it than my previous albums. It has more of an edge, which is interesting, because I didn't plan it that way - I think that's just the way my music's evolving." Alvin davis, one of the most interesting instrumentalists to emerge on the contemporary music scene in the past decade, is waxing lyrical about COMMOTION, his latest tour-de-force, and fourth overall album.
Excited about the prospects for COMMOTION, Alvin davis says, "All I've ever tried to do was make records that I loved personally and hope that my audiences will love them too."
"Making COMMOTION did not involve any pre-planning conceptually. I just started writing songs and considering who would be the best people to work with on those songs." According to Alvin Davis, a key turning point in the recording process was bringing in Grammy award winning engineer Ron Thompson to mix the album: who contributed an amazing amount to the record."
From the sensuality of the ballad "A Blessing" to the acid jazz feel of "Aotearoa" to off-the-hook radio-friendly cuts like "Big Time Brother," "Till Dawn" and the infectious title cut, COMMOTION offers a synthesis of street funk, sensual R&B and contemporary jazz guaranteed to take the listener on a serious trip. Maybe Alvin Davis said it best: "It literally was a journey making the album, and I can't wait for everyone to share that journey when they hear it."
Praise for Alvin Davis
• “…one of the hottest new Jazz / Soul talents.” - Dave Coz
• “Alvin Davis’s fusion comes straight off Sanborn…Alvin doubles on muted trumpet, producing a good impression of Tutu-era Miles…” - Jazz The Magazine, The Observer
• “Be warned…this is not jazz for the faint of heart or the straight purists. There are beats on this record, and while the beats don’t dominate the record, they do help define it…” - The Mac Report, Soul Trade
• “This is hot this is…sounding like those jazz funk days we keep hearing about…tuff.” - Willber Willberforce
• “…full of vibe, musicianship and integrity…he is not afraid to use some new sounds and phrases giving it that '‘new age depth'’...moods, original, uplifting and almost spiritual in places…” - Ash, Soul and Dance Review, Soul Trade 1995
• “Mellow mellow jazz influenced dance…this carries on where ‘Let It Blow’ left off!” - Scootering