You may not know the name of Helen Keane, but you should. She was a rather remarkable woman, one of the few females producing records in the music industry, but she also managed a jaw-dropping list of top flight artists for many years, as she exquisitely enjoyed music and loved to establish and maintain close artistic relationships with her clients: Bill Evans, Joao Gilberto, Mark Murphy, Paquito Rivera, Art Farmer, Steve Kuhn, Claudio Roditi, and a list long and august enough to impress even the most jaded and cynical. Seven of Evans' Keane-produced LPs won Grammies, and many others in her stable were nominated. She was largely responsible for Evans becoming an icon, and it was she who encouraged Roger Davidson to pursue a musical career, introducing him to bassist David Finck, later producing his first jazz release, Ten to Twelve.
Davidson comes to jazz by way of classical training and choral music, as well as a profound interest in spiritual musics and spirituality itself, but I'm tellin' ya, he likewise possesses some good ol' honky-tonk and New Orleans in his soul as well, you can hear it in Remember's compositions and executions quite clearly…but…something in or near that domain seems to hobble what should be an innate passion, a personal stamp. His work is clean and precise but lacks a trademark, a dimension separating him from the bulk of players, so much so that one would be hard-put to locate unique vocabulary and phrasing. This unfortunately lands him in the vicinity of a sophisticated player piano but not a stand-out. We Remember Helen* contains a number of standards and some of Davidson's own compositions, but it fails to convince. Whatever it was Helen heard, I do not.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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