Richard Davis


Richard Davis is the Professor of Bass (European Classical and Jazz), Jazz History, and Combo Improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chicago born, Richard Davis came to the UW in 1977 after spending twenty-three years in New York City establishing himself as one of the world’s premier bass players. Downbeat International Critic’s Poll named him Best Bassist from 1967-74. He took the same honors from that publication’s Readers’ Poll for seven consecutive years. A virtuoso, highly respected in any jazz style, he has worked with a long and stellar list of artists. He has made over a dozen albums as a leader and featured artist for various record labels, including the much praised Epistrophy and Now’s the Time (MUSE). Some of his performance/recording credits include Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, John Lennon, Miles Davis, and a host of other notables. 

Mr. Davis is equally at home in the world of classical music, having played under the batons of Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein. His great versatility as a bassist keeps him in constant demand for worldwide concert appearances. For over thirty years he has drawn enthusiastic audiences in Europe, Russia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the West Indies, Hong Kong, and Israel. The promotion of Richard’s 1987 album and compact disc, Persia My Dear (DISC UNION), with Sir Roland Hanna & Frederick Waits, takes the ensemble frequently to Japan, where in the past decade, his popular following has elevated him to superstardom. 

Richard Davis & Friends is an extraordinary All-Star Quintet led by this internationally renowned bassist. Among the “Friends” of Richard Davis are some of America’s most illustrious jazz artists. In the rhythm section, Richard is most often joined by the consummate pianist, Sir Roland Hanna and the dynamic percussionist, Ronnie Burrage, both of whom share Davis’s mastery and conception. Two of the brightest young stars in jazz today complete the ensemble: the brilliant trumpeter, Cecil Bridgewater, and the critically acclaimed tenor saxophonist, Ricky Ford. This group has recorded two recently released compact discs.