Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 21 July, 1997


The David Downing Trio

CD Review by Warren D. Adkins


The David Downing Trio is a group of sexy, sophisticated, soundmasters. Their CD, Last Night, Last Call, is jazz at its very pinnacle, instrumentally, lyrically and vocally. And hey, this album isn't just a compendium of late-night moods; its prime-cut daytime fare as well-- extraordinarily enjoyable for listening or background at any hour.

The first selection, also the CD's title song, is set, coincidentally at this hour, in Florida's South Beach. In an upbeat way it bounces from a late-hour bar-stool romance to a happy-go-lucky walk on the ocean, the crisp sea breezes almost palpable as David Downing's style kicks in. The exquisite poetry of the lyrics does too:

I believed I loved you,
last night.

And what a voice, this Downing guy, often smooth enough to match Mel Torme's, but with an even sexier young man's bent. Have you ever fantasized kissing a singer's lips whose face you've never seen? Listen to David Downing and join this reviewer in sending him an urgent request.

The second cut, Slow Dance, starts with intriguing piano (Downing himself is playing and vocalizing. He also does organ, alto and tenor saxophone; Andy King is the acoustic bass and trombone bits, while Jeff Tippins is on drums, auxiliary percussion, and finger snaps.) Two great guests on the album include Paul Moonan (clarinet) and Eric Carter (guitar). If you want to turn your living room into a superb jazz emporium, this is the CD you need.

The third cut is once again, curiously, about a town that's almost too much in the news. Miami, You and Me. This song captures the spirit of South Beach as well as the old standard Moon Over Miami ever did. The melody, pace and lyrics are too hauntingly, too strangely apropos:

You'll survive
down Ocean Drive
You'll get the perfect tan
South Beach born-Rodin
The afternoon will find us
knee-deep in Cuba Libres
Viva Miami me and you

"Miami, Me and You was written during and after a trip to the Art-Deco district of South Miami Beach," says Downing of this composition, "The setting there invites fantasy and romance, and both thrive there all day and all night long. It is a place for friends, or lovers, or both."

Deep River dives like Greg Louganis in fine instrumental form, leading into First Light, which contains a wisely preachless reflection, it seems, on an otherwise downcast theme, suicide. This song hits home, slowly, easily, when unnecessarily dramatic behaviors threaten to crop up in the works. Its a song of hope. The horn in this piece rubs up against the chords with just that touch capable of stimulating orgasms in the mind.

Same Old New Year evokes nostalgia's limits, Downing's voice celebrating a New Year's Eve kiss, admitting to the follies that follow romantics through all seasons:

It's still the silly things, I know
Building castles in the sand
Making angels in the snow.

Here, in the midst of the song, Downing's piano wanders provocatively down memory lane and lands for only a bar or two on These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) without doubt one of the greatest standard songs of yore.

Speaking of his duo friends who make up his trio, Downing says, "Andy King and I have played together for almost four years; Jeff Tippins and I have played together for four months. Andy and I were working as a duo until Jeff came along to sit in as a featured guest, but the moment I heard the three of us play together I knew I had found the combination of sound and personality I had been looking for."

Listening to Last Night, Last Call by the David Downing Trio, you too will know that you've found sounds and personalities worth looking for--even maybe kissing-- sight unseen.

For booking information or for copies of Last Night, Last Call, contact David Downing at (212) 255-5435 or Email:

1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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