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Lowell Davidson

Lowell Davidson was an experimental music pianist, composer, church organist at the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God, aluminum contrabassist, and percussionist.

Graduated from Boston Latin School and in 1958 received a full scholarship to attend Harvard, intending to be a doctor of bio-chemistry. (This was the time of Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert experimentations with psychedelics.) In his seventh year as an undergraduate—he had been taking too much time from his studies to play in New York with Ornette Coleman, and other masters of avant-garde jazz—the scholarship was withdrawn. Without tuition money he was forced to leave Harvard. He began various Faustian experimentations with to gain paranormal abilities in both bio-chemical medical research and in music.

His tall athletic body, and brilliant mind could take only so much. As Icarus in Greek mythology he flew too close to the sun god Helios; the wax holding his wings melted, and he fell to his death.

Many of the recognized leaders of avant-garde jazz said that his work was outstanding: Ornette Coleman often mentioned that Lowell Davidson was his favorite pianist. Bill Dixon, instrumental figure in the birth of free jazz and not particularly known for heaping praise on others, called him, “A very advanced pianist.” Famed jazz drummer Paul Motion, before his death, remembered as one major highlight of his long career a concert that that he played with Davidson around 1972.

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