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Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

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Biography

Possessor of a cutting and immediately identifiable tough tenor tone, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis could hold his own in a saxophone battle with anyone. Early on, he picked up experience playing with the bands of Cootie Williams (1942-1944), Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1945-1946), and Louis Armstrong. He began heading his own groups from 1946 and Davis' earliest recordings as a leader tended to be explosive R&B affairs with plenty of screaming from his horn; he matched wits successfully with Fats Navarro on one session. Davis was with Count Basie's Orchestra on several occasional (including 1952-1953, 1957, and 1964-1973) and teamed up with Shirley Scott's trio during 1955-1960. During 1960-1962, he collaborated in some exciting performances and recordings with Johnny Griffin, a fellow tenor who was just as combative as Davis. After temporarily retiring to become a booking agent (1963-1964), Davis rejoined Basie. In his later years, Lockjaw often recorded with Harry "Sweets" Edison and he remained a busy soloist up until his death. Through the decades, he recorded as a leader for many labels, including Savoy, Apollo, Roost, King, Roulette, Prestige/Jazzland/Moodsville, RCA, Storyville, MPS, Black & Blue, Spotlite, SteepleChase, Pablo, Muse, and Enja.

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