James Davis
and the
Paddock Jazz Band


 
 

Once upon a time, there was a young man named James Davis. Jake caught his act in the 1980's in New Orleans and was blown away. There are good reasons for this. First, James played a helluva trumpet - with musicianship rivaling Al Hirt - but more importantly, he played both trumpet and trombone, and almost at the same time!!!
 
 


 
 

Just listen to these cuts, and you'll be as sorry as we are that he has seemingly disappeared from the scene - if not the world. If any of you down there know where he is, please let Jake and Elwood know.



UPDATE: Jake learned from James' daughter that he passed away in Columbus, Ohio. This is indeed sad news for those of us who saw him, heard him and were mesmerized by his talent. There will never ever be another like James Davis in our book.

She wrote: "
You have done more for us by acknowledging my father than we could ever do for you by telling stories....Thank you so much, for everything.
-- Stevie"


Thank you, Stevie for telling us what we prayed wasn't true, but it closed a door that would have remained hauntingly open forever. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your Mom.

And as for you, you blazing comet of talent...


Rest in peace, friend.



James wrote descriptions about the guys playing with him on these cuts, so it's best to let him talk about the folks he knows best.
Walter Lewis - piano Shovel chords. Delightful man. Quiet, almost humble. Tells the worst jokes in the world.
Stan Williams - Drums A musician who plays drums - very rare. Self-effacing, easy going. Enjoys agitating everyone for fun.
Art Langston - Bass Driving bass. Hard to understand sometimes. Enjoys agitating Stan.
Bill Kelsey - Clarinet, saxes The best damned clarinet player I've ever heard. Hare Krishna devotee, (He wanted me to tell you that).
James Davis, trumpet and trombone Would rather listen to Walter, Stan, Art and Bill.

The Songs

Basin Street (Real Audio - 6:12) James (as usual) tells it like it is...that's why we love him!!
Welcome to the club.
Struttin' With Some Barbeque
(Real Audio - 6:39)
James said, "Louis wrote it - he can call it anything he wants..."
Remember, when you hear that luscious trombone, it is THE MAN - swapping one horn for another...
Marie Laveau
(Real Audio - 5:46)
Marie Laveau was a voodoo queen in New Orleans in the 1800's. She is buried in the old St. Louis Cemetary, and today her tomb draws thousands of visitors who make offerings to her in the hope that their lives will improve.
This tune sold a ton of records... and it was well warranted - self-explanatory and ready to rock!!
You go guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saints
(Real Audio - 4:43)
OK, OK, OK - everybody does "The Saints", but James' version is different (aren't they all?) Jake loves to listen to this one, because he can visualize this tall guy on the bandstand, his voice cracking with abuse from booze and cigarettes - having a helluva time playing his music. The little trickery Art does in his bass solo (first a bar or two from Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite then the bowed Old Kentucky Home) make this one a smiler.
Wolverine Blues
(Real Audio - 4:42)
Another opportunity for James to switch from trumpet to trombone and back again with seamless and lightning precision.
Do You Know What It Means (To Miss New Orleans)
(Real Audio - 
Almost a prerequisite for any NOLA jazz group, this one is especially poignant, because at the end James invites us back down to hear them play. Bad news is, the Paddock Lounge is no more, and neither apparently is James.

 
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