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Monks Mood

Walter Davis Jr.


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September 2, 1932 - June 2, 1990


Walter Davis Jr. preforms live in Washington D.C. on October 6, 1986.

Every jazz story is unique, but Davis' more than most.

Born in in Richmond, Virginia, Walter Davis Jr. played piano with Babs Gonzales' Three Bips & a Bop in his teens before moving to New York in the early 1950s.

Davis recorded with Max Roach and performed with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie proceeding to become the pianist and composer-arranger for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1959.

Then in the 1960s he retired from music for a while to run a tailor shop and paint before traveling to study music in India in 1969.

Fortunately for us, he came back to perform with Sonny Rollins during the early 1970s and again with the "Jazz Messengers" in 1975, finally organizing his own group late in the decade.

He was also a much sought after sideman for recordings by Kenny Clarke, Sonny Criss, Jackie McLean, Pierre Michelot, Archie Shepp and many others.

A serious student of the music of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk Davis was also known for combining traditional harmonies with modern theory in his own modern compositions including "Scorpio Rising", "Backgammon", "Ronnie Is a Dynamite Lady", "Uranus", and "Gypsy Folk Tales".

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