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Lockjaw Davis + Wild Bill Davis

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Tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis (above) and organist Wild Bill Davis recorded together intermittently in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Their first session together was in 1959 on Arnett Cobb's Blow, Arnett, Blow for Prestige. Then, they were together on Sonny Stitt's The Matadors Meet The Bull: Stitt for Roulette in 1966. Finally, there was a series of recordings in France in 1976 for the Black & White label. The first was a live date in the town of Chateauneuf du Pape on January 17. On Jan. 21 and 22, and Feb. 1, the two Davises were in a Paris studio recording Jaws Strikes Again, Allright OK You Win, Don't Be That Way and Comin' Home. On each of the 1976 recordings, Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis and Wild Bill Davis were joined by Billy Butler (g) and Oliver Jackson (d).

Wild Bill Davis (above) was one of the Hammond organ's pioneers in the ealry 1950s. Int he '40s, he played piano and arranged for Louis Jordan's popular Tympany Five. Davis switched to organ in the late 1940s and recorded for Okeh. Davis is probably best known for his arrangement of April in Paris. Basie's band was supposed to accompany him in 1955, but when Davis couldn't make the session, Basie had the band record the chart.

Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis was an early bebop saxophonist and founding member of the reed section in Count Basie's New Testament band in 1952, becoming the band's most exciting, hard-blowing soloist in the late 1950s and early '60s.

The pairing of the Davises at Chateauneuf du Pape gives us a chance to hear a dynamic organist and brash tenor saxophonist square off. On many songs, like Things Ain't What They Used to Be and Lester Leaps In, we hear both musicians take searing solos. But ultimately, what we hear in the organist is a surregate for the Basie band, as his playing takes on the different sections of the orchestra. As for Davis, it's just another night at the tough tenor office.

Wild Bill Davis died in 1995; Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis died in 1986.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find Wild Bill Davis and Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis in Chateauneuf Du Pape here.

JazzWax clips: Here's Wild Bill Davis alive in France playing Oh Ah Dee Dee...

 

Here's Wild Bill Davis and Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis playing Lester Leaps In...

Lester Leaps In

Here's Wild Bill Davis playing his arrangement of April in Paris...

 

Here's Wild Bill with Duke Ellington playing April in Paris...

 

And here's the Count Basie Orchestra's April in Paris, with Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis seated second from the right on tenor sax...

 

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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