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Art Davis Passes On


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#1 ep1str0phy

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 03:01 PM

Reports (one of the other boards) have it that Art Davis died this past Sunday. I'll be spinning some Trane, and definitely Life some time in the immediate future... a fine bassist and a pioneer, I'll sure miss his playing... RIP.

#2 sidewinder

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 03:18 PM

Really very sorry to hear this. At the time of opening this post his very fine playing on the Art Blakey Quartet Impulse session was playing on my system. I was thinking at the time just what a fabulous player he was (his work on 'Africa Brass' is a particular favourite). He'll be missed. :(

Sat right next to him once at a Steve Lacy gig. Looked like a great guy - and a big guy, for sure.

Edited by sidewinder, 01 August 2007 - 03:27 PM.


#3 mikeweil

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 05:21 PM

Oh no! One of the greatest of them all. Huge tone, excellent timing, good intonation. A monster bassist.
R.I.P.

#4 Adam

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 06:12 PM

He was a wonderful part of the LA jazz scene for many years as an educator, player. i remember seeing him and Horace Tapscott in concert, especially a duet show once at LACMA on a rainy day, when they brought the concert indoors, with people packed on the floor oand on teh balcony overlooking them. I also saw him attending a variety of shows. Very sad.

#5 clifford_thornton

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 08:49 PM

Wow, sad to hear this.

The Blakey 4tet is indeed a particularly fine one!

RIP.

#6 B. Goren.

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 09:37 PM

Sad news to start the day with. RIP.

#7 ep1str0phy

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:33 PM

Thanks for the recollection, Adam. In the past years the LACMA concerts have provided what, in light of the seeming fragmentation among the LA camps, has proven a valuable educational and artistic service to this community. I was unfortunately unable to see Tapscott or Davis perform live--especially back in the day--but I can revel in the history of my complicated but strangely beautiful (I mean, home is home) LA hometown. I'm glad to know someone got a little closer to these wonderful souls in the midst of all the isolation...

#8 brownie

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 12:13 AM

Has this been confirmed?
His website has nothing about it...

Would be sad news if it's true!

#9 king ubu

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:20 AM

I have been playing the Roach Mosaic set with additional other discs in between and have just entered the tuba band months... Davis was a monster player! His playing on the Newport live set (with broken arm or fingers or something!) is terrific!

He always struck me as a terrific musician when playing with Roach - and as "just" a very good bass player in most of the other contexts I've heard him in. Magic at work when he and Roach got together!

#10 mikeweil

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 03:34 AM

Check out Elvin's self-titled Riverside album - he's great there too.
I guess he just wasn't your ideal session call bassist, but jelled when he built up a good working relationship. Doing just a studio date didn't inspire him as much, it seems.

#11 king ubu

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 03:53 AM

Check out Elvin's self-titled Riverside album - he's great there too.
I guess he just wasn't your ideal session call bassist, but jelled when he built up a good working relationship. Doing just a studio date didn't inspire him as much, it seems.


I don't have that Elvin album yet - it's on my huuuuuge OJC/Fantasy to get list...

Probably he was (is? has the news been confirmed in any way by now?) just too strong a musical personality. I mean his walking lines, his timing, all of it is too personal for him to just fit in on any kind of jam session or loosely arranged studio date. With Roach though, he's very inspired and inspiring, I find - much more so than George Morrow, who just happens to play the bass in the band, most of the time, Davis is there, you can feel him at any given moment and he's actively shaping the music, not just accompanying - that's how it feels to me, at least...

#12 mikeweil

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 04:52 AM

Good description. I think it has something to do with the absence/presence of pianists. A busy pianist will clash with Davis. Hank Jones on Elvin's LP plays sparingly, almost like a third horn, and it works.
People said about Roach that he did the piano player's comping on the drums. That, with a strong bassist, doesn't leave any room for a pianist. Roach does the rhythmic part of the comping, Davis the harmonic part.

Edited by mikeweil, 02 August 2007 - 05:03 AM.


#13 deadcoldfish

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 01:27 PM

Has this been confirmed?
His website has nothing about it...

Would be sad news if it's true!


any confirmation yet ? latimes.com doesn't have any reference in the obits.

#14 ep1str0phy

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 02:05 PM

Yes, strange we haven't heard anything official, but the guy who reported this one also reported on Mosca and Dallas. Hopefully some news will turn up soon.

#15 brownie

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 12:42 AM

Brief news item found in the last edition of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane and other jazz greats, has died. He was 73. Davis, whom jazz critic Nat Hentoff once described as "beyond category," died Sunday from a heart attack at his home in Long Beach, Calif., said his son, Kimaili Davis.

#16 Cyril

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:15 AM

Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane and other jazz greats, was blacklisted in the 1970s for speaking up about racism in the music industry, and then later in life earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and balanced performance dates with appointments to see patients, has died. He was 73.

link

#17 sidewinder

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:30 AM

died Sunday from a heart attack at his home in Long Beach, Calif.,.[/i]


Didn't realise he lived there - that's where I saw him at the Lacy gig.

#18 medjuck

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 01:25 PM

From the LA Times.

Art Davis, 73; known for mastery of the bass, also was a psychologist
By Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Times Staff Writer
August 4, 2007

Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane and other jazz greats, was blacklisted in the 1970s for speaking up about racism in the music industry, and then later in life earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and balanced performance dates with appointments to see patients, has died. He was 73.

Davis, a player whom jazz critic Nat Hentoff once described as "an astonishing player" and "beyond category," died of a heart attack Sunday at his home in Long Beach, said his son Kimaili Davis.

"He was adventurous with his approach to playing music," said pianist Nate Morgan, who played with the elder Davis intermittently over the last 10 years. "It takes a certain amount of integrity to step outside the box and say, 'I like it here and I'm going to hang here for a while.' "

Known for his stunning and complete mastery of the instrument, Davis was able to genre-hop comfortably. He played classical music with the New York Philharmonic, was a member of the NBC, Westinghouse and CBS orchestras, and played for Broadway shows.

The most intense and enriching experience of Davis' career was his collaboration with John Coltrane. Described by Hentoff as Coltrane's favorite bassist, Davis performed on the saxophonist's albums including "Ascension," Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Africa/Brass Sessions" and "Ole Coltrane." The two musicians met one night in the late 1950s at Small's Paradise, a jazz club in Harlem, where Davis was playing with drummer Max Roach. Coltrane invited Davis to play with him the following morning at one of his legendary grueling practice sessions.

A few years later, when Coltrane was building his quartet, he invited Davis to join. By then he had become averse to touring and so declined, although he periodically played with the group.

Davis viewed his instrument as "the backbone of the band," one that should "inspire the group by proposing harmonic information with a certain sound quality and rhythmic impulses," Davis said in an excerpt from So What magazine posted on his website. "You let the bass do the talking. A bassist cannot be satisfied with playing straight." By following his own advice, Davis' career flourished. He played with a long and varied list of artists: Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, John Denver, the trio Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan.

Pianist Ahmad Jamal once dubbed Davis the "forgotten genius" because the outspoken bassist had been blacklisted for many years. Davis' decision to take a stand against racism was born of his experiences in music.

Davis began studying piano at age 5 in Harrisburg, Pa., where he was born Dec. 5, 1933. By sixth grade Davis studied the tuba in school simply because it was the only instrument available, he said.

By 1951 he decided to make music his career but chose the double bass, believing it would allow more opportunities to make a living. At age 17 he studied with the principal double bassist at the Philadelphia Orchestra. But when he auditioned for his hometown's symphony, the audition committee was so unduly harsh and demanding that the conductor Edwin MacArthur questioned their objectivity.

"The answer was, 'Well, he's [colored]' — and there was silence," Davis recalled in a 2002 article in Double Bassist magazine. "Finally MacArthur burst out, 'If you don't want him, then you don't want me.' So they quickly got together and accepted me." After high school, Davis studied classical music on scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. At night he played jazz in New York clubs.

"It all sounded good to me — and I felt I could do a number of different fields," he told Double Bassist. "I was of one the first to switch back and forth from jazz to classical."

But the switch was not always an easy one. Davis encountered situations where race was more important than performance. In the 1970s, his fortunes waned after he filed an unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit against the New York Philharmonic. Like other black musicians who challenged job hiring practices, he lost work and important industry connections.

"As a person, he had enormous integrity," Hentoff said in an interview this week. "He wouldn't bend to accommodate bias or the ignorance of some of the people in the music business."

With less work coming his way, Davis returned to school and in 1981 earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University. Davis was for many years a practicing psychologist while also working as a musician.

"I went up against the big power people and lost 10 years of my life. I feel vindicated [through his court case], and I wouldn't be a Dr. Art Davis if it hadn't happened," he told Double Bassist.

As a result of his lawsuit and protest, Davis played a key role in the increased use of the so-called blind audition, in which musicians are heard but not seen by those evaluating them, Hentoff said.

The accomplished musician also pioneered a fingering technique for the bass and wrote "The Arthur Davis System for Double Bass."

Davis also wore the hat of university professor; for two years he taught at UC Irvine. Most recently Davis was a part-time music instructor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. He could be regularly heard on Sundays at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel. Among musicians, Davis was highly respected for his work and his role in the Coltrane legacy.

"And he always had a great attitude, no matter what kind of music we were playing or how difficult the circumstances were," said Jan Jordan, the pianist who played with Davis at the Ritz.

"He always reached out to people in the audience."

In addition to his son Kimaili of Oak Park, Davis is survived by son Mureithi Davis of Tustin and daughter Taisha Jack of Culver City. Davis' wife, Gladys, died in 1995.

--

jocelyn.stewart@latimes.com

Edited by medjuck, 04 August 2007 - 01:27 PM.


#19 JSngry

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:59 PM

Art Davis was a real man.

#20 brownie

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 12:29 PM

French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is currently vacationing in the USA and who is not know for his interest in jazz sent however a communique mourning the passing on of Art Davis.
This is the text in french as reported by AP France:

Le président français Nicolas Sarkozy a salué, samedi, dans un communiqué, la mémoire de ce "grand musicien" et "humaniste". "Art Davis est un remarquable musicien et un formidable contrebassiste. Il a joué avec les plus grands noms de la planète du jazz", a-t-il rappelé.

"Art Davis s'est aussi beaucoup battu pour que cessent les discriminations à l'embauche et le racisme à l'égard des personnes de couleur, discriminations dont il a pu souffrir lui-même dans sa carrière de musicien", note Nicolas Sarkozy depuis son communiqué diffusé par l'Elysée. "En suivant parallèlement à ses activités musicales une carrière universitaire et médicale comme psychologue, Art Davis a apporté une preuve supplémentaire que la musique conduit à tout, et que c'est la plus belle expression de l'intelligence et de la tolérance", conclut le chef de l'Etat français. (AP)


I'm sure Sarkozy never heard of him before yesterday.

Hope Bush will also have now a memorial tribute to Art Davis!

#21 sidewinder

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 12:58 PM

It's nice to think that someone within the French administration (if not the boss man himself) has his ears open. :tup

The chances of that happening with Gordon Brown's lot over here are zero !

Edited by sidewinder, 05 August 2007 - 12:59 PM.


#22 brownie

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 03:38 PM

It's nice to think that someone within the French administration (if not the boss man himself) has his ears open. :tup

The chances of that happening with Gordon Brown's lot over here are zero !


I'll let you have our Nicolas! Not sure I'll take your Brown :blink:

#23 clifford_thornton

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 07:44 PM

We'll throw in a Bush for free!

#24 sidewinder

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 12:21 AM

[I'll let you have our Nicolas! Not sure I'll take your Brown :blink:


Wouldn't recommend it. He'd tax jazz, given the chance.

#25 king ubu

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 11:07 AM

Rachida!

Alibi...

#26 sidewinder

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Posted 07 August 2007 - 12:43 AM

The BBC reports Art Davis' passing.

Art Davis

#27 Holy Ghost

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 02:16 PM

Wow, more bad news. :( In addition to his work with Blakey and Trane, I also liked his work on The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard. What a big, rich monster tone he had.

#28 alocispepraluger102

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 02:34 PM

Wow, more bad news. :( In addition to his work with Blakey and Trane, I also liked his work on The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard. What a big, rich monster tone he had.


heard an interview with him in 1981 where he was considering just then amplifying his bass.

relisten to ascension. the recording grows more beautiful with each hearing, and art davis' bass is a huge part of it.

Edited by alocispepraluger102, 08 August 2007 - 02:39 PM.


#29 brownie

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 12:58 AM

It took nearly a month for The New York Times to report on the death of Art Davis!

http://www.nytimes.c...ic/21davis.html

and they did not even bother to write an obituary of their own. Just relied on the AP newsstory...



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