My other passion besides music is food. Over the last few years I have gotten into cooking, and love to get into the kitchen deep, just like the crates, and put together something special for my family. Over this holiday, my wife and I hosted our first Thanksgiving, and cooked up a complete, home made dinner for about 10 guests. From brining to whipping to blanching, it couldn’t have turned out better (and we have left overs for days!). Today, I’m going into the Jazz Cookbook of the Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis Quintet with “The Chef” on Prestige Records from 1958.
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis was born in New York City in 1922. He never tok a music lesson, picked up a saxophone, and never looked back. Becoming notable at Clark’s Uptown House in NYC in the 1930′s, this tenor saxophone virtuoso found his musical roots in the Blues and Swing, and would go on to become an influence to more than one sax player. Davis would make his mark early in big bands led by himself, as well as Cootie Williams, Lucky Millinder, Louis Armstrong, and Andy Kirk, but became pioneer of the Soul Jazz sound. His pairing with organist Shirley Scott ushered in the genre in the 50′s, (they proved that the organ was not just a novelty instrument) and the tenor sax/ organ duo made moves their own way.
“ Playing with Eddie is a pleasure, not a job at all ” – organist Shirley Scott, 1960
Although the two would part company, unfortunately Davis could never get back to that place or sound he achieved with Miss Scott. Instead, he jumped ship with over to Count Basie and the high profile Prestige label, where he played with him throughout the 60′s and 70′s. Davis also led bands as well, and would release “battle” records with Johnny Griffin, both exposing a range of sounds and styles. Taking a break at one point to become a booking agent and the manager of his former boss Count Basie, Jaws finished up his career playing Europe with Basie and artists like Norman Granz (who featured Ella Fitzgerald) and taking part in recording and live sessions up until his death in 1986. Jaws was a legend of the tenor saxophone who could play many different styles, battle like no other, and left a mark in Jazz (particularly Soul Jazz) that future players will reference for a long time.
“The Chef” is exactly the type of side that I put on when I’m in the kitchen. Scott’s B3 grooves while Davis’ smooth tenor moves like a chef’s knife through a nice filet. Help from George Duvivier on bass (an NYC Jazz vet who worked with Billy Eckstine and Bud Powell among others), drummer Arthur Edgehill (Horace Silver and Kenny Dorham vet and a ‘descendent of the Roach-Clark-Blakey mold’ ) and Oakland, CA’s Jerome Richardson on flute and tenor sax add the spices that Chef Jaws needs to keep this recipe smooth. I’d highly recommend this Lp, as well as all of Jaws’ collaborations with Shirley Scott. A cool introductions to the genre of Soul Jazz. This is a great side, and a god piece of Jazz to cook to as well. Keep Diggin’!