Walter Davis Jr. Day

September 2, 1932 – June 2, 1990


Monks Mood

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Pianist and composer Walter Davis, Jr. was born on September 2, 1932 in Richmond, Virginia.

As a teen, Davis accompanied bebop singer Babs Gonzales.

In the early ‘50s, Davis moved to New York and worked with some of early bop’s biggest names including Charlie Parker and Max Roach.

After a long engagement at Paris’ Le Chat Qui Pêche in the 1960s, Davis temporarily retired from music for a while to run a tailor shop and paint, before traveling to study music in India in 1969.

Fortunately for us, he came back to perform with Sonny Rollins during the early 1970s and again with the “Jazz Messengers” in 1975, finally organizing his own group late in the decade.

He was also a much sought-after sideman for recordings by Kenny Clarke, Sonny Criss, Jackie McLean, Pierre Michelot, Archie Shepp, and many others.

A serious student of the music of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, Davis was also known for combining traditional harmonies with modern theory in his own modern compositions, including “Scorpio Rising”, “Backgammon”, “Ronnie Is a Dynamite Lady”, “Uranus”, and “Gypsy Folk Tales”.


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