Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

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Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
Background information
Birth nameEdward F. Davis
Born(1922-03-02)March 2, 1922
New York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 1986(1986-11-03) (aged 64)
Culver City, California, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing
LabelsPrestige, Riverside, RCA Victor

Edward F. Davis (March 2, 1922 – November 3, 1986),[1] known professionally as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.[2] It is unclear how he acquired the moniker "Lockjaw" (later shortened to "Jaws"): it is either said that it came from the title of a tune or from his way of biting hard on the saxophone mouthpiece.[3] Other theories have been put forward.[4]


Davis played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, Eddie Bonnemère, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie, as well as leading his own bands and making many recordings as a leader. He played in the swing, bop, hard bop, Latin jazz, and soul jazz genres. Some of his recordings from the 1940s also could be classified as rhythm and blues.

In 1940, when Teddy Hill became the manager of the legendary Minton's Jazz club, he put Eddie Davis in charge of deciding which musicians could, or couldn't, sit in during the jam sessions (playing in this Minton's sessions was coveted by many, including musicians which were not up to the demanding standards of the venue).[5]

His 1946 band, Eddie Davis and His Beboppers, featured Fats Navarro, Al Haig, Huey Long,[6] Gene Ramey and Denzil Best.

In the 1950s, he was playing with Sonny Stitt, while from 1960 to 1962, he and fellow tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin led a quintet.

Starting in 1955, and up to 1960, Eddie Davis pioneered the tenor sax/Hammond organ combo, in a group featuring Shirley Scott on the Hammond B3.[7]

From the mid-1960s, Davis and Griffin also performed together as part of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, along with other, mainly European, jazz musicians.[8]

Davis died of Hodgkin's lymphoma in Culver City, California, at the age of 64.[9]


As leader/co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Mildred Anderson

With Count Basie

With Billy Butler

  • Don't Be That Way (Black & Blue, 1976)

With Benny Carter

With the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band

With Arnett Cobb

With Gene "Mighty Flea" Conners

  • Coming Home (Black & Blue, 1976)

With Wild Bill Davis

  • All Right OK You Win (Black & Blue, 1976)

With Harry Edison

With Red Garland

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Al Grey

With Tiny Grimes

With Coleman Hawkins

With Jo Jones

With Quincy Jones

With Al Smith

  • Hear My Blues (Bluesville, 1959)[10] – with Shirley Scott; also released as Blues Shout! (Prestige, 1964)

With Sonny Stitt


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 260. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Hightower, Laura. "Davis, Eddie 'Lockjaw'". Encyclopedia.com.
  4. ^ "Jazz Nicknames" on Allaboutjazz.com.
  5. ^ "Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis" at Jazzleadsheets.com.
  6. ^ Huey Long biography at Venus Hair, which establishes that this member of The Ink Spots was also the guitarist of Davis's Beboppers.
  7. ^ Nadal, James, "Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis", Allaboutjazz.com.
  8. ^ Kart, Larry (November 4, 1986). "Tenor Saxophone Great Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis". Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ "Eddie (Lockjaw) Davis Dies; Saxophonist With Jazz Greats". The New York Times. Associated Press. November 6, 1986.
  10. ^ Alex Henderson (September 20, 1959). "Hear My Blues - Mildred Anderson, Al Smith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2016.

External links[edit]