Billie Davies | Hand in Hand in the Hand of the Moon

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Hand in Hand in the Hand of the Moon

by Billie Davies

A jazz symphony inspired by paintings by Serge Vandercam influenced by Billie Davies on drums. A collaborative work during a full moon cycle in 1995 resulting 20 years later in a series of 8 paintings and a jazz symphony of 8 improvisational movements.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hand in Hand in the Hand of the Moon
7:27 album only
2. Hand in Hand
7:04 album only
3. In the Hand of the Moon
7:29 album only
4. Hand in the Hand in the Hand of the Moon, Listen to the Bird
8:01 album only
5. As She Tells
7:12 album only
6. The Shark in the Hand
4:42 album only
7. Tiburon
8:38 album only
8. The Bridge
9:08 album only


Album Notes
A Jazz Symphony

An homage to Serge Vandercam (Copenhagen, Denmark, 1924 - Wavre, Belgium, March 10, 2005).
A jazz symphony inspired by paintings by Serge Vandercam and drums by Billie Davies (Brugge, Belgium, 1955).
The painter influenced by the drummer and the drummer influenced by the painter over a period of three days of the full moon.
A collaborative work, conceived in 1995 resulting 20 years later in a series of 8 paintings and a jazz symphony of 8 improvisational movements. A symphony to the magic in Fine Art. A symphony to Nature.
A symphony to the Bird, with the wish that People listen to Mother Nature, People listen to the Bird.

- The Movements -
prelude. Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon - 7:26
i. Hand In Hand - 7:02
ii. In The Hand Of The Moon - 7:27
iii. Hand In The Hand In The Hand Of The Moon, Listen To The Bird - 7:59
iv. As She Tells - 7:10
v. The Shark In The Hand - 4:40
vi. Tiburon - 8:36
vii. The Bridge - 9:08
This music was recorded live in one take on an afternoon in April with all musicians in one 600 Square Feet room that was acoustically treated.
A slide show was playing photos that were taken during the painting/drumming session in 1995 and other photos of Serge Vandercam and Billie Davies.
For each movement the corresponding actual painting was hanging on a wall, visible to all musicians, in bright light.

- The Paintings -
7 movement paintings were painted by Serge Vandercam (1924, Denmark - 2005 Belgium) in February of 1995 as a collaborative improvisational work inspired by drums played by Billie Davies during the three days of the full moon.
The prelude painting was painted by Billie Davies in 1995.The Art on the CD cover was painted by Billie Davies in 1996.

- The Musicians -
Alex Blaine on tenor sax, Branden Lewis on trumpet, Evan Oberla on trombone
Billie Davies on drums, Ed Strohsahl on upright bass

- The Recording -
Recorded Live in New Orleans by Mike Davies on April 24, 2015 at the 415 Blossom Street Studio. Mixing by Mike Davies. Mastering by John Vestman. Produced by Mike Davies.

Billie Davies is an American female jazz drummer, composer and bandleader best known for her Avant-jazz, Free-jazz and Avant-garde compositions since the mid nineties, and her improvisational drumming techniques she has performed in Europe and in the US.
Billie Davies hails originally from Brugge, Belgium and mostly grew up on the Belgian Coast at the North Sea in Europe. Her grandfather, Maurice Clybouw, was the first influence in her life to introduce her to the drums when Billie was about three years old. She has had a love relationship with rhythm and drums ever since.
At a crossroads in her musical career, Billie ended up receiving a grant from Max Roach to come study at Berklee College of Music, this was after he heard one of her tapes she laid down with a bass player in Montpellier, France. Billie was however having too much fun in the south of France, living the life of a gypsy jazz musician and therefore decided not to take the offer. In his words: "Hearing from your tape, you could learn more fundamental drumming techniques, but I also hear the natural drummer, so my advice is for you not to worry too much about your technical skill, you will develop your own, I can definitely hear that, but just in case that you might want to study in a good program, please accept my invitation in the form of a talent grant to come study at the Berklee College of Music, all you need to worry about is finding a place to live and some money to survive."
Aged 25 Davies made the transition to become a professional musician. Some of her influences stem from classical, gypsy, manouche, blues, jazz, free jazz and soul/funk. As a player she feels that Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Billy Cobham, Jack De Johnette, Ed Thigpen, and Peter Erskine have been her biggest influences, she learned from them extensively. Becoming completely immersed into the jazz, free jazz and avant-garde world, which is second nature for her stylistically, three years later, she was a professional drummer, and the rest is history... She performed throughout the Netherlands,Belgium, France ... "A Revelation for her was meeting with legendary guitarist Ricardo Baliardo, but known by his stage name Manitas de Plata, as well as playing with bluesman Claude Mazet - both guitarists also respected the traditional rhythmic rules. Even with the Roma, she lived several years in their way of life, which her bohemian temper satisfied so that at twenty-five she refused the offer of the legendary drummer Max Roach to study at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, after he heard her play in Montpellier on the street."(Jan Hocek) ... Italy, Northern Africa, Spain, Portugal and Greece for the next 7 years. She knew her love of drumming had become her life.
A move to the United States at age 32 gave her an opportunity to record two albums, "Cobra Basemento" and "Dreams" with Saul Kaye on guitar and Michael Godwin on bass, as well as becoming a US Citizen.
In 2009, she made Los Angeles, California her home base and in 2011, in Hollywood, she began writing for her new album "all about Love." In June 2012 she independently released "all about Love." with Tom Bone Ralls on trombone and Oliver Steinberg on bass. In April 2013, Davies recorded "12 VOLT" with Daniel Coffeng on guitar and Adam Levy on bass. It was released on October 10, 2013.
In March of 2014 she moved her operations to New Orleans where she since permanently resides and works.
In April of 2015 she recorded "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" at her studio on the west bank of the Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, with Alex Blaine on tenor sax, Branden Lewis on trumpet, Evan Oberla on trombone, Ed Strohsahl on upright bass.

Billie Davies: Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
Budd Kopman on All About Jazz
May 24, 2016
Billie Davies: Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
Free drummer Billie Davies calls Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon a symphony, which implies composition, larger planned structures, etc. Nothing like that is here, as the music was improvised and recorded in one session. However, this music is not just a free session of highly intuitive and sensitive players; it has a reason for being, and that reason is the intersection of the life paths of two artists working in different media -Davies, a musician and Serge Vandercam, a painter, at specific time and place.

In correspondence, Davies described their meeting and subsequent relationship: "That is a long story that started with me re-discovering the CoBrA art movement after having been away from all that culture, I was surrounded by in Europe and that represented my inner self, my roots and my energy, for too long. Serge Vandercam became the absolute what purity of expression is concerned to me, and I had to meet this man. So after searching for a while to get his phone number, and found it, I called him up just like I did with many other artists... We became friends on the phone, and talked for hours, between Brussels and San Francisco, and finally about three years later, in 1993 I think, I went to visit him in Brussels while I was in Europe visiting my family in Bruges. I so believed in his art as being a true and pure expression, that I got him a one-man show at a Gallery in San Francisco in 1995, that night there was a light beam shining up in the city, his art was electrifying and it was during that time also, as he was staying with me for about a month, that we created the work, him painting and me playing the drums, in the three days of the full moon. I remember one night, I realized I did not know who I was anymore, I woke him up by calling him, there was a nine hour difference, and I cried it out to him, that I did not know who I was anymore and what I was supposed to be, and he just yelled back at me to stop whining like a little girl and to listen to what he had to say: "YOU ARE AN ARTIST, accept it and get over it, I wake up every morning and go to bed every night asking myself who I am! You are an artist, and never ever forget that again."

Now, of course, the music stands on its own without all of this introduction and references; but there is no doubt that looking at the Vandercam's paintings from 1995, which are reproduced in the liner, does affect the listening experience. The liner also contains Davies' translation from the French of a poem by François Jacqmin:

One has to give that justice to art,
That it brings proof that nothing functions.
It establishes that there is no use,
Not for the universe,
Not for religion.
It's flagrant uselessness makes one discover that something,
Of which no-one gave much thought,
Suddenly becomes essential.

Why art? From where comes the creative urge? Music, in general, is extremely abstract, and reaches our emotional center through some unknown conduit, sometimes changing our lives forever. Jazz lives on the boundary of art and entertainment, and can exist in each world, performing different functions.

However, improvised creative music that ventures beyond "style," that aims for direct emotional communication from player to listener, can become "Art With No Purpose" other than to exist for the time it is played. Recording the ephemeral almost becomes a sacrilege.

Davies obviously misses the spark, the condensed energy that was Vandercam and wanted, no needed, to connect back to her memory of him, to bring his being into the present if only for a short time.

Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon is the result of that need, and it is some of the most heartfelt music you will ever hear. The opening "Prelude" solo piece by Davies introduces a rhythmic figure (tik-tik boom, boom, boom) that kind of pervades the entire work. It has the sound of sadness, longing and loss, but also something of a New Orleans musician's funeral march, which, however, with a subtle change, can swing.

Each subsequent piece, named for the painting which inspired it, is listed on the liner also with a key/tonal area (representing chakras) and words or phrases that represented the emotions surrounding the painting and playing of Vandercam and Davies back in 1995: Life, To Feel; Grounding, To Have; Creation, To Speak; Love, To Love; Power, To Act; Insight, Wisdom, To See; Transcendence, To Know.

All of this might sound heady and somewhat mystical, but, somewhat paradoxically, it is that abstract thing, music, which condenses these emotions, managing to make them concrete. In the end, you will end up somehow knowing Davies and Vandercam (as well as the band members).

Words and music can be like oil and water, so there is nothing else to say but that Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon is an experience not to be missed.

Track Listing: Prelude: Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon; Hand In Hand; In The Hand Of The Moon; Hand In The Hand In The Hand Of The Moon, Listen To The Bird; As She Tells; The Shark In The Hand; Tiburon; The Bridge.

Personnel: Billie Davies: drums; Alex Blaine: tenor sax; Branden Lewis: trumpet, Evan Oberla: trombone; Ed Strohsahl: double bass.

Title: Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Cobra Basement



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