Friday, February 1, 2008

MyJoog Artist - Daryl Davis

In the early 1990's, the great bluesman, Pinetop Perkins, interrupted one of his shows at the now defunct Tornado Alley to ask a member of the audience join him on the piano. From the first table, Daryl Davis rose and played the rest of the night with his mentor. For several years earlier, Mr. Perkins had selected the then 27-year-old Davis "to succeed him in the piano and vocal slot of the Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band". For the rest of the evening, the two piano bluesman played selections from Muddy Waters and various Boogie Woogie compilations that I will never forget. Since then, I have followed Davis as he has performed in venues throughout the mid-Atlantic.

Davis' resume is impressive - he has played with such great artists as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley's Jordanaires, and The Coasters. He was also the featured pianist on Cephas & Wiggins' 1992 Grammy Award winning album, Flip Flop & Fly. Showing musical diversity - he scored the music to the popular children's story, Abigail. And in 2005 he won his first Wammie (Washington Area Music Awards) in the Roots Rock category which he followed in 2006 with a Wammie in the Blues/Traditional category.

Now on to the show. On most occasions Daryl Davis plays in smaller venues such as Bangkok Blues so you have an excellent chance to see him up close. He alternates between traditional Chicago blues to crowd pleasing boogie. Lately he has been mixing in songs from his latest CD American Roots. Look for "Romp In The Swamp".

Besides being an extraordinary musician Mr. Davis is a respected author and speaker. After feeling the affects of racism while growing up, he decided to "understand the hate that is inherent in racism". He was able to interview Roger Kelley, then "Imperial Wizard" of the Klan in the state of Maryland, first by disclosing his race. After many encounters they developed a friendship and Kelley eventually quit the Klan. And othe "former members that left have given Davis their robes as a token of respect, and he keeps them as a reminder that he can make a difference". You can read about these exploits in his fascinating book, Klan-Destine Relationships: A Black Man's Odyssey in the Ku Klux Klan and in this Washington Post article.

Fans of Daryl Davis will be able to re-live his days with the now 94 year old Pinetop Perkins as they join the fabulous Nighthawks at Glen Echo Park on March 15th. This should be an unbelievable show. I'll see you there.

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