All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Walter Davis Jr.

Walter Davis Jr. Walter Davis Jr.

Walter Davis, Jr.a superb jazz pianist who played with and was a respected peer of the founding fathers of bebop, was born September 2, 1932 in Richmond, Virginia, and was reared in East Orange, New Jersey. His mother sang gospel; his father and four uncles played church and stride piano. By the time he entered high school, Walter was clearly a gifted classical pianist, but hearing Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the legendary Billy Eckstine big band changed his music and his life. In 1949, he played his first gig with Bird at the Apollo. It went so well that Bird asked Walter’s mother if he could go with him on a road tour. One show happened to be seen by his high school principal; that finished school for Walter.

Within months, Walter was a regular at the historic Harlem and 52nd Street jam sessions that formed the roots of modern jazz. A pair of inseparable friends and giants of the jazz piano, Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, took the promising teenager under their wing and taught him all they knew about the music and the world of jazz. He remained close to them, musically and personally, until their respective deaths.

Walter’s first recording was with Max Roach’s early fifties group. Then he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s 1965 big band that toured four continents, and played with Diz, off and on, for the next thirty years. From 1958-1960, he recorded a classic series of Blue Note albums with Donald Byrd, Art Taylor, and Jackie McLean. The series culminated in “Davis Cup,” an album of Davis originals and his first session as a leader.

Read more

Tags

September 18, 2019

Walter Davis Jr.: Davis Cup

Photos

Albums

Album In Walked Thelonious by Walter Davis Jr.

In Walked Thelonious

Mapleshade Recordings
2005

buy
 

Uranus

ugEXPLODE
1981

buy

Watch

Similar

Kenny Burrell Kenny Burrell
guitar, electric
Hank Mobley Hank Mobley
saxophone, tenor
Thad Jones Thad Jones
trumpet
Ike Quebec Ike Quebec
saxophone, tenor
James Moody James Moody
woodwinds
Tina Brooks Tina Brooks
saxophone, tenor

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.