Dave Davis (on the right) with current bandleader and original Arkestra member since 1958, Marshall Allen standing centre. (Photo by Peri Merdivan)
For our second 'Music that speaks to...' session, we have jazz aristocracy in the house to share some of the music that helps them through life. None other than Dave Davis, trombonist with one of musical history's most experimental and profoundly influential bands, the Sun Ra Arkestra. Led by the cosmic philosopher, pianist (and synthesiser player), composer and interstellar poet, Sun Ra, the band have communicated an outerworldly vision allied with a fierce musical courage and seeking of the truth that has inspired innumerable musicians from George Clinton and MC5 to any jazz musician or lover that wanted to stretch right out. Since Sun Ra's death in 1993, original member and saxophonist Marshall Allen has continued the legacy and the band remains one of the most vital live acts that you are likely to witness.
We were humbled to DJ for the band when they came to to play at Nottingham Contemporary as part of the major Alien Encounters exhibition and managed to get some of the band (including Dave) dancing to a set of breakneck free jazz! The Arkestra's performance that night instantly entered mine and Joff's top three gigs of all time, hypnotic and wild, concentrated and visionary, too much...
We asked Dave to share some of the music that touches him whether old or new and he very kindly said yes, giving us a personal and occasionally surprising selection of Grade A goodness... I'll leave it to Mr. Dave Davis..........
'I have become quite lazy with the digital age. These days I mostly play music constantly in the digital form on random from my library. Usually I’ll select a genre to make a good background for whatever I’m doing. There are some particular tunes that can come on and I am forced to stop, listen and react. These tunes are not necessarily my favourites, but the ones that speak to me and put me in a certain mode. I could mention many more and even more from Sun Ra, but will just name a few.'
'This song actually puts fear in me. It tells me to think serious about what I really should value'
'Every time I hear this I am reminded to be myself and don’t be afraid to express myself'
'This is personal and not sure if influenced by title but after hearing this I know how hip my Aunt Ivory Jean back in Kansas City is'
'Besides touching my soul, this tells me I must practice and learn every aspect of my instrument'
'For some reason this Duke tune tells me to think mature'
'All the bullshit I experienced helped to make me strong'
'Although not religious at all, it still hits my spirit and tells me to respect my roots'
'A lesson in creativity. All the music I love is and can still be relevant'
'You can find soul in all cultures'
'I was so fortunate as a boy'
Many thanks to Dave and we hope you enjoy this killer selection as much as we did.....a true gent who knows..
Stay tuned for more special guests coming soon!
Words by Ex-Friendly