b. 15 April 1930, Chicago, Illinois, USA. A superbly accomplished jazz bass player, Davis worked in and around his home town during the late 40s and early 50s while continuing his musical studies. Between 1953 and 1955, he worked with Sun Ra, Ahmad Jamal and Don Shirley and later in the decade began a long association with Sarah Vaughan. In the 60s Davis worked with a number of musicians associated with the more forward-thinking areas of jazz. Notable among these was Eric Dolphy and also Jaki Byard. Davis’ eclecticism was such that he was called upon for recording sessions and public appearances with musicians as diverse as Earl Hines, Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Billy Cobham and Igor Stravinsky. For a long period at the end of the 60s he was also first-call bass player for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. In 1977 Davis began teaching at the University of Wisconsin. A masterly technician, Davis plays with a full sound and his accompaniment is a great benefit to soloists. His own solos are conceived with intelligence and a powerful yet always tuneful plangency.
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