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Art Davis

In a musical career that has spanned four decades, Dr. Art Davis has played his bass with a myriad of the greatest jazz, classical, and popular artists in the world. He has shared his talents with not only the best jazz musicians (John Coltrane, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Thelonius Monk, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, etc.), but with notable figures from popular music such as Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, Minne Pearl, Barbara Streisand, Hank Williams. Davis' career has also seen performances with major orchestras such as the National Symphony, NBC Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Radio City Music Hall Symphony, Westchester Symphony, Orange County Symphony and others. Click here for a discography.

Davis studied the tuba as well as the piano as a boy in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania before switching to the bass in high school. He won numerous awards on both tuba and double-bass while attending high school. Upon graduation, he moved to New York to study via scholarship at both the Manhattan School of Music as well as the Juilliard School of Music. While attending the latter he studied with world renown cellist Lazlo Varga and Anselme Fortier, who was principal bassist with the New York Philharmonic at that time. He earned a B.A. degree, triple major in psychology, music, physics, summa sum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Art Davis' recording debut came in 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival, with Max Roach's group that included the legendary Booker Little and George Coleman. Davis maintained a strong personal relationship with Max, and Booker Little became one of his best friends.

John Coltrane came into Art Davis' life while Davis was working with Max Roach's group at Small's Paradise in Harlem. Coltrane at that time was in Miles Davis' band and between sets asked Art if he would like to "practice" with him. Art agreed and Coltrane replied "How about tomorrow morning?" At 8:00 the following morning John Coltrane was in the lobby of Art's hotel and called him on the house phone. After that first meeting, the two practiced regularly for about a year, the sessions lasting for many hours without a break. It was during this year that John Coltrane wrote the tune "Giant Steps". Davis credits the association with John Coltrane as the most intense and enriching musical experience of his career. Until Coltrane's death in 1967, Art remained close musically and personally with him and was a member of the bands on several Coltrane albums including, "Ascension", "Africa Brass I and II", "Olé! Coltrane", and others. Art's discography as a member of Coltrane's groups also includes the original recording of "A Love Supreme" (which remains unreleased) with Coltrane's regular quartet and Archie Shepp. Art also toured intermittently with John Coltrane. Due to Davis' studio and other commitments, he was unable to become a permanent member of Coltrane's quartet, but John insisted on their continued relationship.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Metaphysics: The Lost...

Omnivore Recordings



Self Produced


Midnight Stroll

Self Produced





Puttin' on the Ritz

Self Produced



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