I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Art Davis for more than fifteen years, dating back to a meeting at his long-time gig at the Four Seasons in Newport Beach in the late 1980's. While Art wasn't as well known as some of his contemporaries, he had a unique place in jazz history, playing with many of its greatest legends, including John Coltrane and Bill Evans. In more recent years he settled into a quiet life teaching and playing mostly in Orange County, California, including his most recent stint at the Laguna Niguel Ritz-Carlton.
Though Davis wasn't known well in many contemporary jazz circles, he held a place of considerable esteem among his peers. When I mentioned seeing Davis to sought-after Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip on a recent Southern California trip, Haslip immediately asked me to get in contact with him to see if he might be interested in additional studio and other work. He was a major fan, as were many others in the know.
Art Davis was posessed of a wealth of musical knowledge, as well as a willingess to allow others into his life, as he did for me. For that, I will be grateful for having made his acquaintance. If there is an afterlife, I'm sure Art has one of the first bass chairs in the Eternal Orchestra Of Jazz.
Art Davis with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Fortune and Freddie Hubbard - "Blues Minor"