The Charlie Davis Orchestra

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The Charlie Davis Orchestra was an early jazz band from Indiana that was active in the late 1920s, had an influence upon the quickly emerging swing jazz movement and is notable for having had Dick Powell as its lead vocalist for part of its incarnation.[1]


One of the most famous bands in the Hoosier state at the time, The Charlie Davis Orchestra first gained notoriety in the late 1920s playing the Indiana Theatre and the Columbia Club, and made radio broadcasts over stations WLW and WFBM - where many of their recordings were made.

During its lifespan, the band had close connections with The Royal Peacocks, the Jean Goldkette orchestra and the highly influential Hoagy Carmichael.

As their popularity increased they toured as far as New York City and perhaps beyond, with notable appearances at the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre and the New York Paramount Theatre, sharing billings with Duke Ellington and Rubinoff.[2]


With the advent of the Great Depression, the band and its band members found the market for small and large orchestras change overnight and could not weather the shock of fewer bookings. It disbanded in 1929.[3]


  • Charlie Davis - piano, trumpet, bandleader
  • Ralph Hayes - trumpet
  • Harry Wiliford - trumpet and vocals
  • Charlie Fach - trombone
  • Phil Davis - trombone
  • Kenny Knot - piano
  • Ralph Lillard - drums and composer
  • Lewis Lowe - vocals
  • Dick Powell - vocals
  • Ray Shonfield - saxophone

Known recordings[edit]

  • Vocalion 15648 – "There's No End to My Love for You", 1928
  • Vocalion 15701 – "When", 1928
  • Vocalion 15701 – "The Drag", 1928
  • Vocalion 15702 – "You're a Real Sweetheart," 1928
  • Vocalion 15782 – "Just Like a Melody Out of the Sky", 1928
  • Vocalion 15728 – "You're A Real Sweetheart", 1928
  • Brunswick 4037 – "Suppose Nobody Cared", 1928
  • Gennett 20353 – "Mean to Me", 1929

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Dick Powell Biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  2. ^ International Association of Jazz Record Collectors (IAJRC) LP 34, 1982
  3. ^ Duncan P. Schiedt - "The Jazz State Of Indiana"