Guitarist / singer / songwriter Davy Mooney lights up the music wherever he is — playing obbligati to another vocalist, swinging the rhythm in the Grand Street Stompers, spinning out long lines in the fashion of early Joe Pass.  Before I knew anything about him, he had caught my ear.  And he is clearly more than simply a superb band guitarist, as his new CD, PERRIER STREET, proves.  On this Sunnyside CD, Davy is joined by Gordon Au, trumpet; John Cowherd, piano; Brian Blade, drums; Johnaye Kendrick, vocals; Matt Clohessy, bass; John Ellis, tenor sax and bass clarinet.  Here’s a link to find out more and to download the CD.

I missed Davy’s CD release party at the Cornelia Street Cafe, so I proposed a potentially radical idea: I could visit him at home, away from the crash of ice cubes and artificially-dramatic laughter, and record him at home.  He was more than amenable.  Here’s the result: tranquil readings of songs that often have dark messages.

The chiming melody and lines of CRIMSON:

PHELIA (with hints of a barcarolle, Thornhill’s SNOWFALL, and Debussy):

FIRST WORLD DEATH MARCH, a winning combination of jaunty melody and dark lyrics (when “righteous men choose the bloody way”):

The moody ONCE WAS TRUE: “all the voices in the sky are pleading,” a song about God losing faith in human beings:

A nearly hypnotic SWINGSET:

I’d asked Davy to play a “standard,” and he offered a nearly translucent LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE — but wait for the cadenza:

The spinning orchestral velocity of CENTRAL SUPPLY:

ALL OF HER, a “sad song,” secretly based on a familiar nursery rhyme:

Davy told me that his guitar is a semi-hollow seven-string archtop tuned to a low A, created by the Louisianan Jimmy Foster, who died in 2011.  What sounds he gets from it!

If any other improvising soloists want to arrange an at-home session, let’s talk!

May your happiness increase.

8 responses to “AT HOME WITH DAVY MOONEY: SEARCHING LYRICISM (April 4, 2012)

  1. Very haunting music, played impressively great on the guitar. His voice!! When he started to sing I was mesmorized. So clear, so pure,, and on key nothing less than perfect!

  2. Dear Michael,
    Although unlike your Aunt I’m not all that enamored of you. I sent you an email last week on your “swing you cats site ” like nothing. So I’ll just use your regular site or whatever it’s called to reach you. Although like Rhett
    ” Frankly my Dear I Don’t Give A Damn ” if you choose not to reply. At least if I’m critical I know you won’t print it but maybe you will read it.

    This kid guitarist for instance tonight. Give him 6 stars for BORING. If I’ve heard one I’ve heard trillions, same as your precious Lena last week. His guitar is beautiful and his sound is beautiful but their it ends. No matter how good amp guitar sounds I hate and detest them in comparison with acoustic And what is with the stand up bit, only stand up if necessaary or
    when appropriate , god it’s uncivilized. All these ” Pepsi Generation ” kids
    [ I know they can’t help it ] but not an original thought, idea or gesture among any of them. Are you familiar with Snoozer Quinn finger and chordal
    style like Lang [ he was white and from NO ] he’s gone now but was UNIQUE as was of course Lonnie Johnson [ the greatest blues guitarist of
    them all for my money ]. Ulrick Neumann [ Spelling?/ Sweden ] was fabulous, as was Laurinda Almeida and a few others.

    I’m giving you tough love tonight Michael [ be grateful and take it like a man ] I can’t help it you came to jazz late. When I was in NYC in late 47 and early 48 I struggled oh did I struggle, but my experiences of sitting in
    with Bunk and Albert Nicholas and all the others I got to know and hear
    will last me if I survive thru eternity. I got to know Bechet [ he liked me as did Bunk ] Bunk was the greatest and most profound musician I have ever heard. Do you have the Bunk and Don Ewell trio sides? Don and I became very good friends he was an absolute genius. Another great musician largely forgotten was pianist Buster Wilson [ fantastic ] on the Dr. Exner
    sides with Ory. I could go on and on but suffice it to say I see much good
    on your site and today’s scene but also much that’s discouraging, corny and just plain bad.

    Robert Matthews

  3. Ha!! Robert Matthews!! That is CLASSIC moldy curmugdeon – and I LOVE it!! Actually, even worse than Davy’s electric guitar sound is my own on the “SVA Poetry and Jazz” clips Michael posted. I am being completely serious here, not embracing the flippant sarcasm of “The Pepsi Generation” (Luv!) – it was the wrong amp, the wrong soundman, the wrong positioning of El Steinman, I guess the wrong guitar too, and – need I even say it? – the wrong player! Plus it’s way too loud through out. But I don’t want my own critique of my performance to discourage Mr Matthews from posting his own in the comments section of that posting – please, have at it! Michael, big ups to you for posting this guy’s letter – it’s nice to have the vinegar alongside the sacarinne. We gotta get Robert Matthews a blog – the angry, sorta delusional and aggrieved ranting, coupled with a sweetly unaware and needy hubris; I’d read it every day!! Slogan suugestion: “May your crappiness increase!”

  4. Angry Jazz Purist

    Shame on you, Michael, for coming to jazz late. Being born late is no excuse.

  5. A lesser man would have been tempted to blame his parents, but I accept my crimes.

  6. Dear Mr Matthews:

    Please sit on a sharp tack. It’s the civilized thing to do. Sorry, just channeling Snoozer Quinn here…

  7. Stompy Jones

    I agree with AJP. And their it ends.

  8. No: They’re it ends! Damnit!

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