Sunday, February 10, 2008

SOUL BLOWIN'

Last week, Lockjaw, I listened exclusively to The Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Cookbook Volumes 1 and 2, and Smokin’, three classic albums you cut back to back in 1958 with organist Shirley Scott. You had a voluptuous tone. The notes you played seemed to come from the basement of your soul. I'll label what you did on those classics "soul-blowing". Is that an appropriate characterization? If asked to take the blindfold test jazz historian Leonard Feather started in Down Beat magazine, I could identify your sound from a crowd of tenor saxophonists. Your voice was that distinct.

That voluptuous tone and Scott’s gracefulness made for the prefect union. On the blues ballad “In The Kitchen,” I felt like I was peeping through the keyhole of your souls. You guys were musical soul-mates, indeed.

Is it true you fell for Scott’s immediately after hearing her perform at a little dive in Philly her hometown ? She impressed you with the support she gave her band-mates. When they stumbled, Scott guided them back on course.

Growing up in big bands led by such greats as Count Basie and Andy Kirk, you valued that kind of self-less attitude. That night you asked Scott to join your band. Did she accept right away? Did you have to get permission from her folks?

I bet a lot of jazz fans were upset when you guys split. Why did you and Scott quit making music together? Had the relationship run its course? Did Scott want to be a leader? When you decided to quit playing and became a booking agent, did Scott want you to reconsider? I understand for whatever reasons relationships change and people want to pursue other dreams. You and Scott moved on.

You made classics tenor sax battle albums with Johnny Griffin such as The Tenor Scene, Pisces, and Live at Minton’s. Those battles were brutal. How were you guys able to stay friends after blowing each other to bits on the bandstand?

Scott started her solo career in 1958, and made 42 albums including Queen of the Organ and Blue Seven. I hope before you split with Scott you told her what she meant to your band, and that she made those Prestige albums, especially Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Cookbook Volume 1 gems.
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