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The Career Of Richard Davis

Jazz Unlimited for December 13, 2015 will be “The Career of Richard Davis.”  Bassist Richard Davis was born in Chicago in 1930.  In high school, he studied with Captain Walter Dyett.  After college, he worked in dance bands and with Don Shirley.  He got to New York in 1954, playing with the Sauter-Finnegan Orchestra.  Davis accompanied Sarah Vaughan from 1957-1960.  During this time, he was building a studio career playing music of many genres.  His studio work included hit records by Laura Nyro (Smile) Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run) and Van Morrison (Astral Weeks).  In addition, he was playing with some of the most forward-looking musicians of that period: Andrew Hill, Eric Dolphy, Booker Ervin, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Bobby Hutcherson.  He was the bassist for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (1966-1973).  Davis was named Best Bassist in the Downbeat International Jazz Critics poll (1967-1974).  In 1977, Davis moved to the University of Wisconsin, becoming a professor of jazz and classical bass, jazz history and combo improvisation.  In addition, he has had a career in classical music, playing under the baton of many famous conductors, including Igor Stravinsky.  In 2014, he was named an NEA Jazz Master.  He is also President of the Wisconsin Institute for the healing of Racism.  This show features him with Sir Roland Hanna, Earl Hines, Johnny Hartman, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Clifford Jordan, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and St. Louisans Oliver Nelson, John Hicks, Ronnie Burrage, Baikida Carroll and Marty Ehrlich, among others.

The Slide Show contains photographs of some of the musicians heard on this show.

The Archive for this show will be available until the mornig of December 21, 2015.

Here is a video of Richard Davis performing a bass solo during the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters Concert on January 13, 2014

Dennis Owsley has broadcast a weekly jazz show for St. Louis Public Radio since April 1983. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and is a retired Monsanto Senior Science Fellow and college teacher. His show, Jazz Unlimited, airs every Sunday from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. The show has the largest jazz audience in St. Louis and was named Best Jazz Radio Show in St. Louis for the years 2005-2007 and 2009 by the Riverfront Times. In celebration of his 25 years on the air, January 24, 2008 was proclaimed Dennis Owsley Day" in the City of St. Louis. He is the 2010 winner of the St. Louis Public Radio Millard S. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award. Dennis is also a noted photographer, and his exhibit, In the Moment: Photographs of Jazz Musicians, ran from September 23, 2005 to January 21, 2006 at the Sheldon Art Gallery. He is a lifetime student of jazz history and teaches short courses on the subject. Dennis is the author of the award-winning book City of Gabriels: The History of Jazz in St. Louis 1985-1973, published in 2006.

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