Friday, August 03, 2007

Art Davis

Last Saturday another great musician died - the bass player Art Davis. Davis, owing to various circumstances, is not nearly as well known as he should be. Perhaps most familiar to most people through various two-bass set-ups with John Coltrane (including Ascension and the recently unearthed first - sextet - take of A Love Supreme) he was an absolutely monster bass player, supremely powerful and musical. His work with Max Roach is also fantastic. A talented orchestral player (and a practicing clinical psychologist!), he was one of the youngest musicians and very first African Americans to become a staff musician on network television in the 1960s. My suspicion was that were this not the case he might well have been Coltrane's regular bass player at that period (not to take anything away from the equally astonishing Jimmy Garrison, by the way). If you can find it, I recommend checking out the film Imagine the Sound, where Davis plays in trio with Bill Dixon - the music is remarkable, and the contrast in the interview sections between what looks like a four-foot tall and highly loquacious Dixon and the nine-foot and virtually silent Davis is priceless.


olie brice said...

it seems to me that theres a whole list of Coltrane's bassists who are woefully underappreciated. Jimmy Garrison doesn't seem to get the attention the rest of the quartet get, and Reggie Workman and Art Davis even more so. Add to the list Steve Davis, who plays some beautifully swinging blues on 'coltrane plays the blues'.

Dominic Lash said...

Couldn't agree more!