Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Day

March 2, 1922 – November 3, 1986

A tribute tothe tough-toned tenor

Tenor-saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis was born on March 2, 1922 in New York City.

Largely self-taught, Davis picked up valuable experience playing with the big bands of Cootie Williams (1942-44), Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1945-46) and Louis Armstrong.

He led his own recording groups starting in 1946, featuring an explosive and at-the-time frantic style inspired by the r&b honkers; one session teamed him with Fats Navarro.

Although his style would calm down a little, Davis’ cutting and immediately identifiable tough tenor tone and his impressive musicianship allowed him to hold his own with anyone in a saxophone battle.

Lockjaw became famous for his association with Count Basie, playing regularly in his orchestra during 1952-53, 1957 and 1964-73 and in many reunions.

He led a soulful hard bop band that included organist Shirley Scott’s trio during 1955-60, and co-led a classic quintet with fellow tenor Johnny Griffin who was just as competitive and combative as Lockjaw.

After his final period with Basie, Davis often teamed up with trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison and was well recorded by Norman Granz for the Pablo label, also being showcased on some worthy late-period sessions in Europe.

“Take The ‘A’ Train” features Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis in 1985 at Jazzhus Slukefter in Copenhagen.


Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, tenor
Niels Jorgen Steen, piano
Jesper Lundgaard, bass
Ed Thigpen, drums

-Scott Yanow


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