Davis on the cover of his 1958 album
Most Happy Hammond
|Born||December 13, 1920|
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
|Died||November 2, 1999 (aged 78)|
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, soul jazz|
|Labels||Capitol, Warner Bros., EMI|
|Associated acts||Louis Jordan|
Jackie Davis (December 13, 1920 – November 2, 1999) was an American soul jazz singer, organist and bandleader. He is notable for his contributions in bringing the Hammond organ to the forefront of jazz and pop, preceding the better-known Jimmy Smith by several years.
Life and career
Davis was born and grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and started playing piano at the age of ten, before studying music at Florida A&M. He experimented with jazz on the pipe organ, before switching to the Hammond. He was influenced by Wild Bill Davis and Bill Doggett, and after a spell backing Louis Jordan, he started fronting his own jazz groups.
His solo career began in earnest after a residency at the Club Harlem in Philadelphia in 1951, and from there he began touring across the US, with the Hammond now being his trademark. He notably preceded Jimmy Smith in using the instrument in small jazz combos. Regular touring led to a recording contract with Capitol, with whom he recorded several albums. His initial sessions were on a Model B, but by the time he recorded Hi-Fi Hammond Vol.2, he had upgraded to the classic B-3.
In the 1960s, he signed to Warner Bros. Records, releasing Easy Does It as The Jackie Davis Quartet, following it up with Jackie Davis Plus Voices, which also featured the Sid Bass Chorus on backing vocals. For this album, Davis put more of an emphasis on his vocal skills, using the Hammond sparingly.
He made a brief comeback in 1980, recording a self-titled album for EMI, and making a cameo appearance in the film Caddyshack as the country club valet Porterhouse. He kept Jacksonville as his homebase and died on November 2, 1999 following a stroke.
While Davis is remembered mostly as a jazz organist, he was capable of a wide variety of styles, though he himself preferred to focus on jazz. In 1963, in an interview for the Hammond Times, he thought "the term 'jazz' is vastly overworked and misused ... Basically, jazz is a style of making music." He felt that the Hammond gave him the versatility he needed to emulate the sound of a big band in a small group. Author and Hammond enthusiast Scott Faragher feels that Davis' recorded output has been overlooked because it sounds dated, but stresses his importance in giving the Hammond recognition in the jazz and pop world should not be underestimated.
|1952||The Jackie Davis Trio||Trend TL-1010||LP|
|1956||Hi-Fi Hammond||Capitol T-686||LP|
|1957||Chasing Shadows||Capitol T-815||LP|
|1958||Jumpin' Jackie||Capitol T-974||LP|
|1958||Most Happy Hammond||Capitol T-1046||LP|
|1959||Hammond Gone Cha-Cha||Capitol T-1338||LP|
|1959||Jackie Davis Meets the Trombones||Capitol T-1180||LP|
|1960||Tiger on the Hammond||Capitol T-1419||LP|
|1960||Hi-Fi Hammond Vol 2||Capitol T-1517||LP|
|1962||Big Beat Hammond||Capitol T-1686||LP|
|1963||Easy Does It||Warner Brothers W-1492||LP|
|1963||Jackie Davis Plus Voices||Warner Brothers W-1515||LP||with Sid Bass Chorus|
|1968||The Sacred Side of Jackie Davis||Brunswick BL-754143||LP|
|Jackie Davis Plays The Park Plaza||RCA PC/PCS-1061||LP|
|Jackie Davis Entertains!||Columbia EL-112||LP|
|1980||Jackie Davis||EMI 1A 054-26474||LP|
|2007||Jackie Davis (reissue)||Fonos LP-9410||CD|
|1970||The Best of Jackie Davis||Capitol 5C 054.80309||LP|
|1996||Mambo Fever - Ultra-Lounge Vol 2||Capitol CDP 7243 8 32564 2 6||CD|
|1996||Organs in Orbit - Ultra-Lounge Vol 11||Capitol CDP 7243 8 37597 2 9||CD|
|2001||The Story of Jazz - Jackie Davis||EMI 724357621526||CD|
|2008||Jumping Hi-Fi Hammond||Jasmine JASCD 472||CD|
|1955||Dinah Washington||After Hours with Miss D||Emarcy MG 36028||LP, CD|
|1958||Louis Jordan||Man We're Wailin'||Mercury MG 20331||LP|
|1978||Ella Fitzgerald||Lady Time||Pablo 2310 825||LP, CD|
- www.jackiedavis.info | website dedicated to Jackie Davis. Includes complete discography, audio samples, biography and more.
- Faragher, Scott (2011). The Hammond Organ : An introduction to the instrument and the players who made it famous. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 235–237. ISBN 978-1-4584-0287-5.
- Huey, Steve. "Jackie Davis – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
- Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine (editors). All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music. Backbeat Books. p. 305. ISBN 978-0-87930-717-2.
- Enstice, Wayne (2004). Jazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-one Musicians, Volume 1. Indiana University Press. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-253-34436-6.