Davis played early on with Charlie Palmieri (1979), Sam Jones (1979–82), Machito (1980–81), and Benny Goodman (1982–83). He toured Ireland with Al Cohn in 1983-84, then played with Bob Haggart in 1984-85. Concurrently, he also led the house band at Jimmy Ryan's in New York City from 1980, directly following Roy Eldridge in this position. Jimmy Ryan's closed in 1983, but Davis continued to lead this band in other performances as Jimmy Ryan's All-Stars; this ensemble continued to be active into the late 1990s, and counted among its sidemen Ted Sturgis, Joe Muranyi, and Eddie Locke. Davis led a quartet with Locke, Richard Wyands, and Murray Wall from 1986, in addition to playing with the Savoy Sultans from 1984-91. In the mid-1980s he did work with Arvell Shaw as part of Armstrong Legacy. He played as a sideman with Buck Clayton from 1986 to 1992 and toured with Buddy Tate between 1986 and 1990; he also accompanied Ruth Brown in 1989, Annie Ross in 1991-92 and Frank Sinatra in 1991-93. From 1997 he played in Chuck Folds's group at Sweet Basil in New York.
- Gary W. Kennedy, "Spanky Davis". Grove Jazz online.