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Biography

Edward Davis (March 2, 1922 - November 3, 1986), who performed and recorded as Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.

He played with Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, 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 of the 1940s also could be classified as rhythm and blues.

In the 1950s, he played with Sonny Stitt and with organist Shirley Scott, while from 1960 to 1962 he and fellow tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin led a quintet. From the mid-60s, Davis and Griffin also performed together as part of the Kenny Clarke - Francy Boland Big Band, along with other, mainly European jazz musicians.

His playing influenced Harry Gibson profoundly. Famous for his habit of tossing the saxophone in the air and catching it on completion of a solo, he did this to show that he was a master of the instrument, not the other way round…

Possessor of a cutting and immediately identifiable tough tenor tone, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis could hold his own in a saxophone battle with anyone. Early on, he picked up experience playing with the bands of Cootie Williams (1942-1944), Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1945-1946), and Louis Armstrong. He began heading his own groups from 1946 and Davis' earliest recordings as a leader tended to be explosive R&B affairs with plenty of screaming from his horn; he matched wits successfully with Fats Navarro on one session. Davis was with Count Basie's Orchestra on several occasional (including 1952-1953, 1957, and 1964-1973) and teamed up with Shirley Scott's trio during 1955-1960. During 1960-1962, he collaborated in some exciting performances and recordings with Johnny Griffin, a fellow tenor who was just as combative as Davis. After temporarily retiring to become a booking agent (1963-1964), Davis rejoined Basie. In his later years, Lockjaw often recorded with Harry "Sweets" Edison and he remained a busy soloist up until his death. Through the decades, he recorded as a leader for many labels, including Savoy, Apollo, Roost, King, Roulette, Prestige/Jazzland/Moodsville, RCA, Storyville, MPS, Black & Blue, Spotlite, SteepleChase, Pablo, Muse, and Enja. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

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