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It is a mystery how Jackie Davis’ name rarely appears on the pantheon of great organists, let alone great jazzmen. After all, he collaborated with certified icons, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington, and he was an early pioneer of the Hammond B3 Organ. In fact, he preceded the great Jimmy Smith in taking the instrument out of its church setting and on the road as the lead in small jazz groups.
His success in the 50s is unquestioned, and in the 60s he began utilizing his vocals more on a deal with Warner Records. But it is in association with the Hammond that we had most significance, able to wield the instrument with such versatility that he could accompany a soloist as well as imitate the sound of a big band.
It is also his personality that shines through, especially in this performance captured in Brussels in 1967 – he has a twinkle in his eye and an infectious grin as he dishes out his own brand of virtuosity on much-loved themes. The perfect way to reconnect with a musician who should never have drifted into obscurity.