From the audience, a great performance comes across like a seamless miracle. If you could get the performer's commentary on what he does, though, you'd learn that each combines theory, technique and tricks of the trade with his talent in a totally individual way - and that's what students and fans have the opportunity to discover in an intimate series of workshops at Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 from 1pm - 3 pm.
Richard Davis is a renowned educator and performing artist whose virtuoso bass playing was a major asset on recordings by Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin, Dexter Gordon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Andrew Hill, Ben Webster, Elvin Jones, Stan Getz, Earl Hines, Hank Jones and Billy Cobham. Born in Chicago on April 15, 1930, his early jazz jobs included stints with pianist Ahmad Jamal (1953-1954) and singer Sarah Vaughan (1957-1960). He was a regular member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra from 1966-1972 and in 1977 became an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he still teaches. Davis has made over a dozen albums as a leader, including dates for the MPS, Muse, Flying Dutchman, Galaxy, Hep and Sweet Basil labels. His latest recording is 2001's The Bassist: Homage to Diversity on the Palmetto label.
One of the most technically skilled of all acoustic bassists, Davis is equally at home in the jazz and classical worlds, having played in symphony orchestras during the 1960s under the batons of Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein. His great versatility as a bassist keeps him in constant demand for worldwide concert appearances. For over forty years he has drawn enthusiastic audiences throughout Europe, in Japan, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, Hong Kong and Israel.
At a typical workshop, the visiting artist performs for a bit, discusses the theory and technique in his performance, invites a member of the audience to play and offers feedback and help with style and execution. Throughout, he answers questions from workshop participants. Because of the access and interchange available in the sessions, students have a treasure in this series," says critic Gary Giddins. Since space is limited to 50 people, pre-registration is advised. Anyone can receive a schedule of upcoming workshops by calling (212) 714-7722.