Will Bill Davis was the pioneer of the organ in jazz, but got left bobbing in the wake after gentlemen like Jimmy Smith and Baby Face Willette hit the scene. However, while hanging around in the margins, Davis continued to plug on, demonstrating that he could hang with the best of them. The Everest Years collects four different sessions that he led for the label, and while the results are somewhat uneven, the end result is a pleasant organ-filled jaunt.
Despite his leadership, Davis isn't the star here. Sidemen like guitarist Bill Jennings and saxophonist George Clark kick things up a notch with tasty soloing. The sessions stick primarily with the standard organ jazz format: steamy standards and blues with plenty of loose solos. Only an uneven session featuring music from "Milk and Honey with trumpeter Charlie Shavers and flautist/guitarist Les Spann fails to deliver, demonstrating the pitfalls that organists can fall prey to when they stray to far from what works. A run-through of tunes from "My Fair Lady works far better, even if it does ride the coattails of Shelley Manne's release.
While it's not likely to win over any converts from the Jimmy Smith fan club, the collected work of Davis for the Everest label is fine organ jazz delivered from one of the guys who established the instrument's role in jazz.
Track Listing: The Madison Time (Part II); Blue Skies; Soft Winds; Organ Grinder's Swing; Flying Home;
Independence Hora; I Will Follow You; That Was Yesterday; Milk & Honey; Let's Not Waste A
Moment; Dis Heah; Angel Eyes; What's New; Like Young; Wenkie; 'Round Midnight; Blues
for Joe; Cubato; and more.
Personnel: Wild Bill Davis: organ; George Clark, Maurice Simon: tenor sax; Grady Tate, Jo Jones:
drums; Calvin Newborn, Bill Jennings, Les Spann: guitar; Milt Hilton: bass.