Jazz  Allgemein
Davy Mooney Way Back SSC1659 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberSSC1659
labelSunnyside Records
Release date12/05/2023
  • Felipe Silveira: piano
  • John Ellis: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet (1, 3, 6, 8, 9)
  • Mooney, Davy: guitar, vocals (5)
  • Paulinho Vicente: drums
  • Thiago Alves: bass

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      Description hide

      One of the most valuable gifts of travel is to gain the friendship of those you meet from other cultures. For a musician, this is fundamental in widening a net of collaborators and musical inspiration. The recent pandemic shut down the populace’s normal travel patterns, disrupting these exchanges. On his new recording, Way Back, guitarist Davy Mooney celebrates the return of international travel and his renewed musical partnership with his collaborators in Brazil.

      Traveling to Brazil has become a regular fixture in Mooney’s life since meeting his Brazilian girlfriend, now wife, in 2001. Though he had always been intrigued by the natural combination of jazz guitar with Brazilian music, it wasn’t until 2011 that Mooney began reaching out to musicians in São Paulo and Campinas. He met drummer Paulinho Vicente, bassist Thiago Alves, and pianist Felipe Silveira, with whom he established a fast and deep rapport. They group began to perform and conduct workshops whenever Mooney traveled to the region.

      Naturally, the Brazilian ensemble lent itself to playing Brazilian music in an authentic manner. They also reinterpreted Mooney’s eclectic music, which blends elements of pop and rock with jazz, in a unique, organic way.

      When the pandemic hit in 2020, Mooney experienced a burst of creative energy spurred on by the uncertainty of what lay ahead for the world at large. He began to compose a large part of the music that can be heard on Way Back. The title also references how many of these newer compositions echoed the late-1990s jazz music stylistically; this music was so influential to Mooney in his formative years, especially while studying at NOCCA in New Orleans.

      Mooney knew that one of his first post-pandemic bits of business would be to return to Brazil and record this new music with Vicente, Alves, and Silveira. Mooney also wanted to include a voice that has been present since his days in New Orleans and on his earlier albums, woodwind master John Ellis. Ellis’s melodic playing on saxophone and bass clarinet suits Mooney’s sing-song pieces perfectly. So, in July 2022, the ensemble and Ellis convened at Gargolândia Studio in the woods outside of Campinas, Brazil, to record Way Back.

      The recording begins with “The Ancient Song,” a piece that builds and builds on a bright melodic motif, stretching the material as far as it can go. The title track is a breezy, swinging piece that provides ample space for soloing, including a nice lead off feature for Silveira on piano. “Bachian” actually takes its title and structural concept from a concept of Johan Sebastien Bach, the martial cadence heightened by Ellis’s bass clarinet doubling Alves’s bass. “In This Position” has a moody, searching quality and is inspired by Mooney’s newly found passion for chess, while “Meaning In a Streetlight” takes its title from a lyric in the Sting song “For Her Love”, and features Mooney’s natural voice giving advice to his two young sons.

      “Wintry Mix” is inspired by the winter weather of Denton, Texas, where Mooney teaches at the University of North Texas. The cinematic quality of the writing is kept chugging along by a country music-like beat. The Brazilian beat provided by Mooney’s bandmates can best be felt on “Liz,” a lovely tribute to Liz Phair, one of Mooney’s favorite musicians. The bittersweet ballad, “Doom Scroll,” is a mellow blues, while “La Bruja” is an arrangement of a traditional son jarocho Mexican folk song from Veracruz, where Mooney spent time last year. The recording concludes with “Checkup,” a straight bossa nova tune with a lush harmony inspired by Billy Strayhorn’s “Upper Manhattan Medical Group.”

      Jazz is a language that is spoken all over the world. Speaking it is a way for Davy Mooney to find a connection in other places and with other people. Traveling back to his second home in Brazil, Mooney has recorded a fantastic album of unique original music on Way Back.

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • 1.The Ancient Song06:05
      • 2.Way Back06:17
      • 3.Bachian06:13
      • 4.In This Position07:22
      • 5.Meaning In A Streetlight05:03
      • 6.Wintry Mix06:57
      • 7.Liz05:12
      • 8.Doom Scroll06:32
      • 9.La Bruja05:58
      • 10.Check Up04:59
      • Total:01:00:38