Like the veteran Hollywood film and TV orchestrator he is, Tim Davies understands instinctively how to blend orchestral colors and textures to create moods, aligning himself with his hero, Nelson Riddle. Tonal and textural artistry abound on The Expensive Train Set
, an ambitious endeavor that dwells largely in a meditative atmosphere with touches of melancholia. It features two Davies-led groups: a Los Angeles band of session and touring musicians and an Australian band with which the drummer-bandleader worked in 1998 before moving to the United States.
Davies develops his basic themes with a plethora of rhythmic and melodic variations, key changes and long transitional passages, invoking an era of symphonic jazz works stretching back to George Gershwin's 1924 composition for solo piano and jazz band, "Rhapsody in Blue." It also points to jazz/s continuing growth from folk music to art music.
Davies, who released the CD Epic
in 2002 and the Grammy-nominated Dialmentia
in 2009, spent three-and-a-half years producing The Expensive Train Set
, the first four tracks of which commemorate his newfound fatherhood, the last putting the two bands together via the miracle of remote recording despite being a world apart. The listener may have to work to appreciate the enormous amount of craft that has gone into this project, but in the end it will be worth it.