Siempre Salsa is an upbeat collection of songs in a variety of settings, all of which have in common the spirit of salsa. The eight songs on the CD were all composed by trombonist Rick Davies and range from straight-up Bronx-style salsa dura to big band and small group Latin jazz.
Wayne Gorbea and Salsa Picante are featured on the two mainstream salsa cuts (“Rosa Primavera” and “Habana Nocturna”). The vocalist on these two selections is Frank Otero. The remaining selections are Latin jazz and feature the Jazzismo sextet joined by various New York and Vermont musicians including the members of Salsa Picante.
Two of the songs (“Insomnio” and “Santos”) are big band songs in the Palladium-era tradition of Machito and Tito Puente; the second of the two is a tribute to the great Latin arranger Ray Santos.
“Rumba Norteña” and “Caliente Time” feature the core members of the Jazzismo sextet: Rick Davies on trombone, tenor saxophonist Alex Stewart, pianist Tom Cleary, bassist John Rivers, drummer Jeff Salisbury and Steve Ferraris on the Congas. Alto Saxophonist David Grippo (Phish, Trey Anastasio, Grippo Funk Band, etc.) is an added guest on “Cena Para Seis” and “Calle Loca.”
Reviews of Salsa Strut the previous Rick Davies CD:
"Latin Jazz with an attitude… This is music that is not only danceable but also good for listening. If you enjoy pure, clean and emotional music then by all means pick it up and add it to your library."
Erik "Chico" Manqueros
Contributing writer LatinJazzClub.com Magazine
"Rick Davies is out with his solo debut. It is exactly the kind of Latin jazz album you would expect from the musical director of Wayne Gorbea's Salsa Picante: all swing and sabor! Arturo O'Farrill is on piano and the rest of the crew are all top shelf."
The Jazz Buffalo
Since moving to New York City in the late 1970s, Rick Davies has worked in a myriad of musical contexts. However, he has primarily focused his creative efforts in the areas of salsa, Latin jazz, and Afro-Caribbean music.
On the salsa, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin jazz scenes, he has performed with many artists and groups (Tito Puente, Johnny Colon, Charlie Palmieri, Marc Anthony, Skah Shah, Ti Manno, Tabou Combo, Arrow, Rey Reyes, Johnny Ray, Manny Oquendo’s Libre, etc.) and recorded on over one hundred albums. For the last decade, he has been the musical director of Wayne Gorbea’s Salsa Picante, performing and composing or arranging works for the group’s popular recordings including Cogele el Gusto, Saboreando, and the band’s most recent release Fiesta en el Bronx. A long association with Jackie Byard and his Apollo Stompers is one highlight of Davies’ mainstream jazz credits. He is featured on Byard’s Phantasies II recording.
Rick Davies released his first album Salsa Stut in 2001 and it features a number of well-known NYC-based musicians including Arturo O'Farrill, Harvie S, Vince Cherico, the late Sam Furnace, and Juan Rodriguez.
Davies remains very active as a performer. Recent credits include recording with the rock group Blondie as well as with Michael Jackson and Wyclef Jean. Davies also did live appearances in late 1999 with Wyclef for President and Mrs. Clinton and at the Giants stadium Netaid concert. He also filmed a VH1 Storytellers episode with Wyclef and the Refugee All-Stars. Davies has traveled extensively with the Big Apple Circus, and appears regularly with Salsa Picante in New York City and around the world. He is currently promoting his group Jazzismo and creating new compositions for this first class Latin jazz ensemble.
As a scholar, Davies has written several monographs, chapters, and articles primarily about Afro-Cuban music and salsa. His book, Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style, was released in May 2003 by Scarecrow Press. He contributed a chapter on Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros to Music From Cuba (Praeger Press, 2001). Other articles he has written include “Sexteto Habanero, Félix Chappottín, and Early Afro-Cuban Trumpet Playing”, “The Conjunto Trumpet Style: Chappottín, Florecita, and Chocolate”, and “Americanizing The Eurocentric Music Curriculum”.
Davies received a Ph.D. from New York University in 1999 (his dissertation was on Cuban brass performance). He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Plattsburgh State University of New York (SUNY).