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About Jackie Davis

One of the earliest jazz organists, Jackie Davis emerged not long after Wild Bill Davis, around the same time as Milt Buckner and Bill Doggett. Davis was born in Jacksonville, FL, on December 13, 1920, and began playing piano around town before he was even ten. He soon joined a band and a 19-piece orchestra, and went on to study music at Florida A&M. He experimented with pipe organ, but didn't make the switch until the advent of the Hammond, which responded much more quickly to the player's hands, making it far more suitable for jazz. Early on, Davis was a follower of Wild Bill Davis, and like Bill Doggett, he gained valuable experience playing for a little over a year in Louis Jordan's band. Davis began leading his own sessions in the mid-'50s, and spent 16 years recording numerous albums for Capitol, debuting with Hi-Fi Hammond. Most of his work fell into the realm of small-group soul-jazz, often with covers of pop standards, though there were occasional changes in instrumentation (Jackie Davis Meets the Trombones, The Hammond Organ Plus Voices) and stylistic detours (Hammond Gone Cha-Cha, plus some later gospel sessions). Davis returned with a new self-titled album for EMI in 1980, plus an appearance in the comedy Caddyshack. Davis continued to make his home in Jacksonville, where he died on November 2, 1999, following complications from a stroke. ~ Steve Huey

Jacksonville, FL
13 Dec 1920