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Re: [RedHotJazz] Art Davis; double bassist who played with jazz greats; 73

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  • tc
    Much love and respect. R.I.P.
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 12, 2007
      Much love and respect. R.I.P.

      On 8/11/07, pdqblues <PDQBlues@...> wrote:
      > http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070807/news_1m7davis.html
      > OBITUARY
      > Art Davis; double bassist who played with jazz greats; 73
      > August 7, 2007
      > Art Davis, the renowned double bassist who played with John Coltrane
      > and other jazz greats, has died. He was 73.
      > Mr. Davis died of a heart attack July 29 at his home in Long Beach,
      > his son Kimaili Davis told the Los Angeles Times.
      > Mr. Davis was blacklisted in the 1970s for speaking up about racism in
      > the music industry, and he later earned a doctorate in clinical
      > psychology, balancing performance dates with appointments to see patients.
      > "He was adventurous with his approach to playing music," said pianist
      > Nate Morgan, who played with the elder Davis intermittently over the
      > past 10 years. "It takes a certain amount of integrity to step outside
      > the box and say, 'I like it here, and I'm going to hang here for a
      > while.' "
      > Known for his stunning and complete mastery of the instrument, Mr.
      > Davis was able to jump between genres. He played classical music with
      > the New York Philharmonic; was a member of the NBC, Westinghouse and
      > CBS orchestras; and played for Broadway shows.
      > The most enriching experience of his career was collaborating with
      > John Coltrane. Described by jazz critic Nat Hentoff as Coltrane's
      > favorite bassist, Mr. Davis performed on the saxophonist's albums
      > including "Ascension," Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Africa/Brass Sessions"
      > and "Ole Coltrane."
      > The two musicians met one night in the late 1950s at Small's Paradise,
      > a jazz club in Harlem.
      > Mr. Davis viewed his instrument as "the backbone of the band," one
      > that should "inspire the group by proposing harmonic information with
      > a certain sound quality and rhythmic impulses," Mr. Davis said in an
      > excerpt from So What magazine posted on his Web site.
      > By following his own advice, Mr. Davis' career flourished. He played
      > with a long and varied list of artists: Thelonious Monk; Duke
      > Ellington; Rahsaan Roland Kirk; Louis Armstrong; Judy Garland; John
      > Denver; the trio Peter, Paul and Mary; and Bob Dylan.
      > Mr. Davis began studying piano at age 5 in Harrisburg, Pa., where he
      > was born in 1933. By sixth grade, Mr. Davis studied the tuba in school
      > because it was the only instrument available, he said.
      > By 1951, he decided to make music his career. He chose the double
      > bass, believing it would allow more opportunities to make a living. At
      > age 17, he studied with the principal double bassist at the
      > Philadelphia Orchestra. But when he auditioned for his hometown's
      > symphony, the audition committee was so unduly harsh and demanding
      > that the conductor Edwin MacArthur questioned their objectivity.
      > "The answer was, 'Well, he's colored,' and there was silence," Mr.
      > Davis recalled in a 2002 article in Double Bassist magazine. "Finally
      > MacArthur burst out, 'If you don't want him, then you don't want me.'
      > So they quickly got together and accepted me."
      > After high school, Mr. Davis studied classical music on scholarship at
      > the Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. At
      > night he played jazz in New York clubs.
      > In the 1970s, his fortunes waned after he filed an unsuccessful
      > discrimination lawsuit against the New York Philharmonic. Like other
      > black musicians who challenged hiring practices, he lost work and
      > industry connections.
      > With less work coming his way, Mr. Davis returned to school and in
      > 1981, earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from New York
      > University. For many years he was a practicing psychologist while also
      > working as a musician.
      > As a result of his lawsuit and protest, Mr. Davis played a key role in
      > the increased use of the so-called blind audition, in which musicians
      > are heard but not seen by those evaluating them, Hentoff said.
      > The accomplished musician also pioneered a fingering technique for the
      > bass and wrote "The Arthur Davis System for Double Bass."
      > Mr. Davis also wore the hat of university professor. He taught at the
      > University of California Irvine for two years. Most recently, Mr.
      > Davis was a part-time music instructor at Orange Coast College in
      > Costa Mesa.
      > Besides his son Kimaili, Mr. Davis is survived by another son and a
      > daughter.
      > (c) Copyright 2007 Union-Tribune Publishing Co. • A Copley Newspaper Site
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