There is a recording I did with Frank Gratkowski, Dave Fox, and Ian Davis called ORM released on Umbrella Recordings. Recorded in October 2004 in Winston-Salem, NC.




Cadence Magazine March 2007 p. 46-47

Pianist Dave Fox, bassist David Menestres, and percussionist Ian Davis are all based in central North Carolina.  The three perform as part of Fox’s quartet (8/04, p.128) and Davis is part of the collective groups Unstable Ensemble and Micro East Collective (along with Cadence scribe Jason Bivins.)  This session was recorded during German reed player Frank Gratkowski’s 12-day residency in North Carolina during the fall or 2004.  Gratkwoski had spent time in North Carolina before, conducting workshops and performing with the Micro East Collective.  Here, the eight collective improvisations have an intimate chamber feel.  This is music full of spontaneous counterpoint as the various voices play off of each other.   Fox, Menestres, and Davis improvise together on a regular basis and it shows in the way that they synch in to the dynamics and densities of the music.  Gratkowski fits in perfectly, placing his carefully wrought reed lines against Fox’s introspective linear musings, Menestres’ elastic bass playing, and Davis’ pointillistic percussion.  The group can tread cautiously, like on the opening piece, or dive into more tumultuous freedom as they do on the third piece.  There, Gratkowski’s alto dive bombs against the pianist’s brittle shards while Davis shows that he can push things with a free swing with the same acuity he shows in his free playing.  The quartet can also display a sensitive melodicisim like on the penultimate piece that evokes the musings of Paul Bley.  Throughout, there is the sounds of four musicians stretching each other as they work their way through.  It is meetings like this one that prove the vitality of regional improvising scenes.  -Michael Rosenstein


From AllAboutJazz.com:

ORM finds Fox on the path of freedom, similarly to last year’s collaborative Foxbourne Chronicles or his gorgeously introspective solo disc, Dedication Suite. Always deeply drawn to harmony, even in its most abstract manifestations, he couldn’t ask for a better partner in saxophonist Frank Gratkowski. Listen to the opening gestures of “Bedo , where Fox echoes Gratkowski’s trichord assertion in kind, bassist David Menestres commencing and concluding the phrase with authoritative slaps. On the title track, Gratkowski’s long alto tones seem to grow out of Fox’ chordal punctuations, while drummer Ian Davis and Menestres provide a soft bed of brushwork and arco insinuations on which the others explore.

Gratkowski is as much a rhythmatist as a melodist and he spends the disc veering between Fox’ rhapsodically linear musings and Davis’ rhythmic intricacies — no mean feat and highly successful. “Euvl finds him initially in Davis’ camp, sharp and rhythmically precise exhalations nevertheless accenting Fox’ chords and lines. In fact, Fox and Davis might be seen as the axis on which the disc turns, Menestres and Gratkowski lending support, texture and color where necessary, the dialectic ensuring a fascinating and gratifying listen throughout.



Gatewalk is a cd released by the Dave Fox Group, featuring Michael Collings on guitar, Ian Davis, on drums, Dave Fox on piano/keyboards, and me.



Cadence, August 2004
By Frank Rubolino

Guitar and Keyboards form an interlocked bond on [Dave Fox Group, Gatewalk], where the Dave Fox Group skips unencumbered through a program of original material. Fox lays down a freelanced foundation on keyboards, and Collings spins off rounds of improvised commentary while bassist Menestres and percussionist Davis develop an impressive unstructured backdrop. Although keyboard/guitar bands typically lean in the Fusion direction, that is certainly not the case here. This group plays wide open, aggressive, and highly innovative Jazz rarely heard with this instrumentation. Fox’s approach on keyboards places the music squarely in the creative improvised sector and is anything but a compromise to popularity. He produces a plethora of diverse keyboard sounds; his attack is fully liberated, and his solos are well-designed, spontaneous outpourings.

Fox does introduce some discipline into the equation, typically as initial road markers for the band’s undefined journeys. “Gatewalk,” for example, begins with a specified theme but immediately curves off the road onto unpaved, open terrain. Conversely, “Bran Flakes” takes a fully unstructured developmental route to unpredictable destinations without ever looking at a road map. Menestres and Davis go off on tangents with regularity, spicing the action with irregular drumbeats and divergent bass patterns. They keep the sessioni n an unbalanced mode, permitting Collings and Fox to become explorers of their new found territory. Collings is particularly innovative on guitar; he sings out with ringing improvisations to mesh precisely with Fox’s probing articulation. This cooks on all burners; the artists individually take risks yet their collective voices come together as a unified yet abstract equation. This is the quartet’s first release, but these guys are poised for a leap into the big-time.

JazzReview.com, August 2004

By Glenn Astarita

Here is an East Coast based quartet that navigates a wide spectrum of sound and ideas, without becoming indulgent or bombastic. There are some ethereal dreamscapes, yet the band also incorporates an avant, slant on jazz-fusion tinted with cool hooks and other pleasantries.

Drummer Ian Davis turns up the heat when necessary. However, Davis’ lightly swarming attack, coupled with bassist David Menestres’ limber lines provide a fluent bottom end. Guitarist Michael Collings frequently complements keyboardist Dave Fox’s thoughtful musings awash with breezy swing grooves, elements of noise music and intermittent injections of progressive rock vamps. Think of taking a spin on a roller coaster, running at half-speed! Essentially, the group’s well thought out game plan translates into a focused engagement, consisting of climactically oriented deviations from previously rendered themes. As they navigate a multihued array of sound amid quiet vistas, haunting lyricism and sporadic jaunts into the red zone! (Recommended…)