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Davey Williams

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Guitarist, Curlew member, and LaDonna Smith collaborator Davey Williams began playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He played in various rock bands during his last years of high school, and upon graduating he studied with and played in the band of Delta blues musician Johnny Shines. He played with Shines throughout 1971, and continued to appear at occasional performances through the late '80s. Also during the first half of the '70s, Williams performed in the Salt & Pepper Soul Band & Show and the University of Alabama 'B' Jazz Ensemble, had his first concert with LaDonna Smith, and founded the Transmuseq duo and an improvisational music studio of the same name. The first releases on Transmuseq came out in 1978. Williams first toured the U.S. in 1978, and toured Europe the next year. From the early to mid-'80s, Williams played in the avant-blues band Trains in Trouble. Beginning in the '80s, and continuing through the '90s, Williams played the occasional solo guitar concert. In 1986, he joined the experimental rock/new music group Curlew, led by saxophonist George Cartwright, with organist Wayne Horvitz, cellist Tom Cora, and more. Williams remained in Curlew throughout the '80s and '90s. He also played with Col. Bruce Hampton during the mid-'80s, led and composed for the band OK, Nurse during the late '80s, and played in the experimental punk band Fuzzy Suns for a year in the early '90s. Around the same time as Fuzzy Suns, Williams got involved with the Say What! improvisational trio. He has played in various ensembles -- including some with trombonist Jim Staley and drum machine artist Ikue Mori -- at improvised and new composed music festivals and venues worldwide, totaling over 1,500 concerts. Williams appears on over 40 recordings, including some of his own. He is co-founder and editor of The Improviser, a journal of free improvisation that began in 1981. In the late '80s, he freelanced as music critic for The Birmingham News, and has written articles on improvisation, and on the connection between free sound and surrealism, that have been published in various magazines and journals. In 1990, Williams served on the advisory panel to NEA's Interdisciplinary Arts, and later that decade he authored a cartoon book about fried eggs. His recorded output during the 2000s included Texas Was Delicious (Megalon, 2000), Humdinger (Atavistic, 2001), and Numb Right (Megalon, 2002). ~ Joslyn Layne

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s