Former American Jazz Bassist, Richard Davis Died at 93

Last Updated on September 7, 2023, 3:58 pm

Richard Davis, an American Jazz bassist, passed away on September 6, 2023, in Madison, WI/Sun Prairie; he died at 93. Davis’s death circumstances have not been disclosed publicly; however, some reports claimed that he died of natural cause.

His death news was released through social media on September 7, B-Side confirmed his death news through a Facebook post:

“Farewell Richard Davis, 93, passed away. The Chicago-born artist, who moved to Madison in 1977 to work as a music professor at UW-Madison, was a world-class jazz bassist and educator that Madison could proudly claim as “our own” for the previous 46 years. He retired in 2016 after having instructed and guided many pupils.”

He left behind his family and daughter, Persia. Thoughts and condolence to his family, mates, and community. Davis’ funeral details have not been made public yet.

Who was Richard Davis?

Richard Davis was born on April 15, 1930; he was a professor of Bass (European Classical and Jazz)) and a musician who performed internationally. Jazz History and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chicago.

Davis spent 23 years establishing himself in New York City before coming to UW-Madison in 1977; he was one of the best bass players in the world. He was ranked the top bassist in the Downbeat International Critics Poll From 1967 to 1974.

He had produced 3000 tracks of jingles in support roles and several albums as a leader. He has performed and recorded with several famous artists including:  Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Don Sebesky, Oliver Nelson, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Miles, Bruce Springsteen, Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Ahmad Jamal, and a long list of other notables.

Davis is perhaps best known for his work on other people’s albums, such as Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch!, Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, about which critic Greil Marcus remarked, “Richard Davis provided the greatest bass ever heard on a rock album.”

He has performed and recorded with numerous jazz and even rock icons. One cannot overestimate his influence both locally and globally. The East Side Madison Street, named in his honor four years ago, is also shown.

As one of the top bassists in the world, Davis’s music has impacted the lives of countless fans, and his teaching has inspired generations of students both in the classroom and through the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc., which offers music lessons to young people who are struggling financially.

Although the tremendous jazz professor could have concluded his illustrious career there, his quest for social justice and eradicating racism has transformed the lives of many who have heeded his call to open their hearts, minds, and souls to racism’s disease and history.

Richard Davis served as a Lion on the Bass; he paved the way for racial and intercultural understanding on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His legacy always endures in the industry.

Davis gained significant respect and popularity throughout his career, and he is an idol for future artists. Social media have been flooded with prayers and condolences after the loss of the legendary artist. Rest in peace, Richard Davis.

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