Lockjaw Davis: Fox and Hounds - JazzWax

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October 01, 2008


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raul Bernardo

Hir, Sir
I am also an admirer of the great Lockjaw. I'd like to point out one record I think displays is unique style: "The Heavy Hitter" recorded for Muse (I have a 32 jazz issue). With a fabulous rhythm section Eddie displays all the fire and tenderness of his art. Many thanks for remembering so very fantastic players.
Best regards

Michael Steinman

Jazz fanciers fortunate enough to live near to New York City in the late Sixties and Seventies learned, as I did, invaluable things from listening to Ed Beach. He was, as you say, cool enough to cause hypothermia. I taped many of his shows and kept the tapes as priceless sentimental artifacts for years -- even now I can see the tape boxes and hear his deep, hip, amused voice. You know that he was a bebop pianist in Portland, Oregon, in the Forties? Still alive, in his eighties. Bless him for all he gave us.

David Evans

Yeah, Lockjaw! When I was a kid my favorite record was Basie's Atom Bomb album. Jaws is all over that. I made an 8-track copy for the car and drove around blasting that all over town.

Heavy Hitter is great playing and appealing in its casual vibe--you get the sense that they showed up, rolled tape, played, packed up and were outta there in under an hour.

There are great moments on a Norman Granz with Zoot and Oscar Peterson--I love the brief ballad feature on "Don't Worry 'Bout Me". THAT's how to play a ballad!

Also worthy: Joe Williams, "I Just Want To Sing", 1985 Delos cd. Jaws, Benny Golson, Thad Jones with Norman Simmons (Joe's regular band?).

By the way, Jaws and Ben Webster were great friends but I don't know of any records of them together. If it's out there, Marc will find it.

Bob Curtin

Jaws was one of those tough-tender tenors who could boot a band into overdrive one minute and seduce you into the backseat the next. I'm particularly fond of his battles with Johnny Griffin, but my favorite single Jaws moment is when he's supplying the breathy subtone obbligato behind Sinatra on "I've Got a Crush on You" during the "Sinatra at the Sands" recording. Frank, who must have become accustomed to Harry Edison's minimalist trumpet beeping in such situations, seems half annoyed ("There you go again!") and half intrigued as Jaws' lush licks start elbwoing their way into the foreground. Finally, Sinatra succumbs with an invitation to Jaws to go "pick out the furniture"!

And have you ever run into his program for drinking at a gig? An old friend once showed me a jazz magazine article in which Jaws lays out a course of drinking over about two sets that would have put Jackie Gleason, Dean Martin and Foster Brooks combined under the table by about the eighth tune. I'd love to find that article again.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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