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Wild Bill Davis

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Wild Bill Davis

Jazz organist Wild Bill Davis and double-bassist Chubby Jackson performing at the 1979 North Sea Jazz Festival

Wild Bill Davis (November 24, 1918 – August 17, 1995) was the stage name of American jazz pianist, organist, and arranger William Strethen Davis.


Davis was born in Tympany Five, the backing group for Louis Jordan. Prior to the emergence of Jimmy Smith in 1956, Davis (whom Smith had reportedly first seen playing organ in the 1930s) was the pacesetter among organists.

Davis originally played guitar and wrote arrangements for OKeh.

Davis was originally supposed to record "April in Paris" with Count Basie's Orchestra in 1955 but when he could not make the session, Basie used his arrangement for the full band and had a major hit.

In addition to working with his own groups in the 1960s, Davis made several albums with his friend Johnny Hodges, leading to tours during 1969–71 with Duke Ellington. In the 1970s he recorded for the Black & Blue Records label with a variety of swing all-stars, and he also played with Lionel Hampton, appearing at festivals through the early 1990s. Davis died in Moorestown, New Jersey.


As leader

  • Sweet and Hot (Riverside Records)
  • 1953: On The Loose (Epic)
  • 1955: Wild Bill Davis At Birdland (Columbia)with Floyd Smith(guitar), Chris Columbus(drums)
  • 1958: Wild Bill Davis Swings Hit Songs From "My Fair Lady" (Everest Records) with Maurice Simon, Jo Jones, Milt Hinton
  • 1959: In The Groove! (Fresh Sound, 1959–60) with Grady Tate
  • 1959: In A Mellow Tone (same)
  • 1960: Dis Heah (Everest)
  • 1964: Free Frantic And Funky (RCA)
  • 1964: Blue Rabbit with Johnny Hodges (Verve)
  • 1965: Con Soul And Sax with Johnny Hodges (RCA)
  • 1965: Wings and Things with Johnny Hodges (Verve)
  • 1966: Live At Count Basie's (RCA)
  • 1966: In Atlantic City with Johnny Hodges (RCA)
  • 1966: Midnight to Dawn (RCA)
  • 1966: Flying Home (Sunset)
  • 1967: Doin' His Thing (RCA)
  • 1976: Live with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (Black And Blue)
  • 1986: Live at Swiss Radio Studio Zürich (Jazz Connaisseur) with Clifford Scott, Dickie Thompson, Clyde Lucas
  • 1986: Greatest Organ Solos Ever (Jazz Connaisseur)
  • 1987: 70th/30th Anniversary Live Concert LP together with Austrian Jazz organist T.C. Pfeiler
  • 1990: That's All with Plas Johnson (Jazz Connaisseur)

As sideman

With Ray Brown

With Arnett Cobb

With Duke Ellington

With Sonny Stitt


  • Allmusic


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