Friday, 14 January 2022

Maxwell Davis born 14 January 1916

Thomas Maxwell Davis, Jr. (January 14, 1916 – September 18, 1970), was an American rhythm and blues saxophonist, arranger, bandleader and record producer. 

Davis was born in Independence, Kansas. By the age of twelve he was practicing hard on the saxophone having already tried the violin and piano. A few years later he had formed his own group and at the age of seventeen earned a berth in the territory band of Gene Coy. In 1937, he moved to Los Angeles, California, playing saxophone in the Fletcher Henderson orchestra. After some years playing swing and jazz, he became more involved in the West Coast R&B scene in the mid-1940s,becoming a regular session musician and arranger for the fast-growing independent record labels such as Aladdin. 

He also played with Norman Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic in 1944  and Ray Anthony’s big band. He also recorded with the Jay McShann band, featuring the blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon. 

By 1952, Davis had played on numerous R&B hits by Percy Mayfield, Peppermint Harris, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, T-Bone Walker, Amos Milburn, and others. He also arranged and played on Little Willie Littlefield's 1952 "K. C. Lovin'" for Federal Records. 

                          

In 1954, he left Aladdin and joined the Bihari brothers at Modern Records (and its subsidiaries RPM, Crown and Kent). Among the artists he worked with were Etta James, B.B. King, Richard Berry, Marvin & Johnny, The Teen Queens, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Jesse Belvin. 

As the Biharis' main band leader, Davis directed a string of albums for Crown Records in the late 50s. These featured his arrangements of music associated with several noted big band leaders. The bands assembled for these dates included the cream of studio players together with musicians who had played in the bands concerned. In contrast with his R&B, blues and jazz work, Davis also played in film studio orchestras. 

Although his success rate started to diminish thereafter, he became regarded as an elder statesman and as "the father of West Coast R&B". 

Often overlooked, Davis was one of many unsung musicians whose work was much respected by his peers while passing unnoticed by the fans. "Maxwell Davis is an unsung hero of early rhythm and blues," noted the songwriter and producer Mike Stoller. "He produced, in effect, all of the record sessions for Aladdin records, Modern records, all the local independent rhythm and blues companies in the early 1950s, late 1940s in Los Angeles." 

In the late sixties Maxwell was working on Modern’s re-activated Kent label, producing blues hits by Lowell Fulson, Z.Z. Hill and B.B. King. He recorded a final song with singer Jackie Day and was still working when he died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, on September 18, 1970. 

(Edited from Wikipedia, Oldies.com & Ace liner notes)

7 comments:

boppinbob said...

For “Maxwell Davis & Others: Wailin' Daddy
- The Best Of Maxwell Davis 1945-1959 (3-CD)” go here:

https://workupload.com/file/FTw8JF8Zm2e

CD 1
1. Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra - MT Boogie (2:47)
2. Maxwell Davis' Swingtet - Lonesome Road Blues (3:07)
3. Maxwell Davis' Swingtet - Honey Dripper (2:34)
4. Maxwell Davis All-Stars - Hung Out (3:08)
5. Maxwell Davis All-Stars - Th' Adams Bop Hop (2:41)
6. Maxwell Davis & Marshall Royal - September In The Rain (3:14)
7. Maxwell Davis & Marshall Royal - Little White Lies (2:58)
8. Maxwell Davis Orchestra - Boogie Cocktails (3:00)
9. Maxwell Davis Orchestra - Belmont Special (3:25)
10. Maxwell Davis Orchestra - Bristol Drive (2:25)
11. Maxwell Davis Orchestra - Resistor (2:53)
12. Maxwell Davis & His Blenders - Welcome Home Baby (2:43)
13. Maxwell Davis & His Blenders - Get Out (1:59)
14. Maxwell Davis - Hey, Good Lookin' (2:19)
15. Maxwell Davis - I'm Waiting Just For You (2:16)
16. Maxwell Davis - I'll Always Be In Love With You (2:06)
17. Maxwell Davis - Blue Tango (2:57)
18. Maxwell Davis - The Glory Of Love (2:13)
19. Maxwell Davis - Popsicle (2:43)
20. Maxwell Davis - Blue Shuffle (2:04)
21. Maxwell Davis All-Stars - Side Car (2:26)
22. Maxwell Davis All-Stars - The Way You Look Tonight (2:42)
23. Maxwell Davis - Hot Point (2:15)
24. Maxwell Davis - Strange Sensation (2:55)
25. Maxwell Davis - Ooh! (2:00)
26. Maxwell Davis - Look Sharp - Be Sharp (The Gillette March) (2:23)
27. Maxwell Davis - Hey Boy (2:01)
28. Maxwell Davis & His Rock 'n' Roll Orchestra - Thunderbird (1:50)
29. Maxwell Davis & His Rock 'n' Roll Orchestra - Bluesville (2:03)
30. Maxwell Davis & His Rock 'n' Roll Orchestra - Tempo Rock (2:42)
31. Maxwell Davis & His Rock 'n' Roll Orchestra - Cool Diggin' (2:44)

CD 2
1. Helen Humes All Stars - Riffin' Without Helen (3:13)
2. Jo Evans - Goody Goody Baby (2:37)
3. Jo Jo Adams - Hard Headed Woman Blues (2:37)
4. Jake Porter - Opus Five - Jake's Jive (2:29)
5. Jake Porter - Jump Safari (2:40)
6. Helen Humes - It's Better To Give Than To Receive (2:57)
7. Mary De Pina - Boogie Woogie Man (2:41)
8. Effie Smith - Effie's Boogie (3:00)
9. Charles Mingus Sextet - Swingin' An Echo (3:06)
10. Geechie Smith - T-Town Jump (2:43)
11. Gene Phillips - Big Legs (2:59)
12. Crown Prince Waterford - Love Awhile (2:23)
13. Lloyd Glenn & His All Stars - Jumpin' With Lloyd (2:26)
14. Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Without Me Baby (2:29)
15. Big Joe Turner - Don't Talk Me To Death (I Ain't Ready To Die) (2:57)
16. Betty Hall Jones - The Same Old Boogie (2:48)
17. Pete Johnson Sextette - Half Tight Boogie (3:04)
18. Little Miss Cornshucks - Cornshucks' Blues (2:51)
19. Jimmy Witherspoon - Call My Baby (2:24)
20. Joe Swift - Alligator Meat (2:56)
21. Big Speed McDaniels - The Jumping Boogie Blues (2:44)
22. Mabel Scott - Gee (2:52)
23. Lowell Fulson - Jimmy's Blues (2:43)
24. Felix Gross - Peaceful Lovin' (3:00)
25. Lee Young & His Band - Seeing Double (2:56)
26. Micky Cooper - When I Had Money (2:11)
27. Percy Mayfield - Half Awoke (2:38)
28. Amos Milburn - Pot Luck Boogie (2:40)

boppinbob said...

CD 3
1. Calvin Boze - Waiting And Drinking (2:31)
2. Floyd Dixon - Real Lovin' Mama (2:49)
3. Helen Humes - He May Be Yours (2:38)
4. Joe Liggins - Going Back To New Orleans (2:52)
5. La Melle Prince - Get High (2:46)
6. Meredith Howard - Goodbye (2:33)
7. Red Callender Sextette - Chico's Boogie (2:51)
8. Peppermint Harris - Let The Back Door Hit You (2:40)
9. T-Bone Walker - Welcome Blues (2:26)
10. Eddie Johnson - Mr Juice Head (2:44)
11. Mabel Scott - Wailin' Daddy (2:52)
12. June Christy - Some Folks Do (2:38)
13. Ray Anthony & His Orchestra - Blow, Man, Blow! (2:34)
14. Rock Heart Johnson - Rock Heart Johnson (2:31)
15. Bob Williams - Talk To Me (2:41)
16. Jimmy Nelson - Cry Hard Luck (2:29)
17. Percy Mayfield - Loose Lips (1:57)
18. Ike Carpenter & His Orchestra - Pachuko Hop (2:15)
19. Louis Jordan - Hog Wash (2:58)
20. Clarence Garlow - I'm Hurt (2:16)
21. Earl Curry - I Want Your Loving (3:00)
22. B.B. King - I'm In Love (2:17)
23. Patti Anne - Shtiggy Boom (2:19)
24. Rusty McDonald - Dirty Pool (2:24)
25. The Cocoas - Flip Your Daddy (2:22)
26. Oscar McLollie & His Honeyjumpers - Hot Banana (2:21)
27. Cordella De Milo - I Ain't Gonna Hush (2:33)
28. Young Jessie - Mary Lou (3:02)
29. George Smith - Cross-Eyed Suzie Lee (2:22)
30. Little Willie Littlefield - Kansas City (2:46)

A big thank you goes to Denis who suggested today’s birthday musician and also for the loan of the above 3CD set.

This mid price set covers his career from 1945 to 1959. CD1 (subtitled “Bluesville: The Best of Maxwell’s Singles) is a collection of recordings Maxwell made under his own name. Included are some of the poppy instrumentals he recorded at Aladdin in the 1950s.plus the harder hitting instrumentals he cut for Modern and RPM.. There’s also a whole bunch of mid to late 1940s jump blues cuts from the likes of Black & White, 4Star, Swing Beat and Modern many of which have probably never been compiled on CD or vinyl.

The remaining two CDs follow Maxwell’s career as a producer / arranger through the 1940s and 1950s, being titled “Swingin’ An Echo: Blowin’ Through The ‘40s” and “Blow, Man, Blow: Rockin’ Through The ‘50s” on which Davis appears as accompanist, be it band member, session player or band leader…but always contributing an exciting tenor sax solo or two!

The labels with which Davis was associated represent a stunning role call of the major players in Post war R&B: legendary indies such as Aladdin/Philo, Modern/RPM, Imperial/Colony, King/Federal, Exclusive/Excelsior, Specialty, Down Beat/Swing Time and Black & White, as well as major labels like Capitol, Decca/Brunswick, Mercury and RCA Victor, and smaller operations like Supreme, Pacific, Miltone and Chesterfield.

lafong said...

Excellent choice, Bob. Strong stuff.

David Federman said...

Your blog and my cup runneth over. Thank you.

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