Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Davis, Richard

Davis, Richard, bass, educator; b. Chicago, IL, 15 April 1930. Davis is an international performing musician and Professor of Bass (European Classical and Jazz), Jazz History and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chicago born, he came to the UW-Madison in 1977 after spending 23 years in New York City. The Downbeat International Critics Poll named him Best Bassist from 1967-74. He has recorded a dozen albums as a leader and 2000 recordings/jingles as a sideman.  Some of his performance/recording credits include Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Dexter Gordon, Ahmad Jamal and a host of other notables.

Davis is equally at home in the world of euro classical music, having played under the batons of George Szell, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein. For nearly fifty years he has drawn enthusiastic audiences in Japan, Europe, Russia, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, Hong Kong, Israel and United States.

In 1993, he founded the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc. which annually brings in 17 masterful bass instructors/performers to teach young bassists ages 3-18. In 1998 he created the Retention Action Project (R.A.P.) focused on open dialogues in subjects that educate all of us to multicultural differences. R.A.P. collaborates with Vice Chancellor Paul W. Barrows (student affairs) and Seema Kapani, Diversity Education Coordinator/Trainer (Equity and Diversity Resourse Center).

He has been instrumental in bringing to the UW campus renowned speakers and social change activists such as Peggy McIntosh, Jane Elliott, Francie Kendall, Nathan Rutstein,  Victor Lewis, Hugh Vasquez, Color of Fear (Stir Fry Productions,1994 and Allan G. Johnson (Gender Knot). Davis initiated the S.E.E.D (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) on the U of W/Madison campus. He has also initiating a chapter in Madison  of the "Institutes for the Healing of Racism,Inc. with the intent to introduce the oneness of humankind to the Univ, Madison Metropolitan School District, Police, Fire departments and community churches.

Davis has received honorary doctorate degrees in Musical Arts and Humane Letters, and the Hilldale Award for distinguished teaching from former Chancellor Donna Shalala. In 2000 he received the Manfred E. Swarsensky Humanitarian Award from the Rotary Club Of Madison. International Peace Award Tokyo Japan, U of Wi/Madison Mentors Award. On 11/13/01 he  received the Governor's (Wisconsin) Arts Award. In the year 2002 he received the Urban League Whitney M. Young Award, N.A.A.C.P. W.E.B.DuBois Advocates award, YWCA Social Justice Award, Dr M.L.K. Jr. Humanitarian 2003 award and many other community based awards.

The Bassists (2000); So In Love

Contact information:
Richard Davis
Home Phone: (608) 255-6666
Fax: at home (608) 255-5524
Cell: Pocket(608) 692-0378,Car (608) 692-2772
Home Address
902 West Shore Drive
Madison, WI 53715
Office: (608) 263-1911
4415 Humanities Building
University Wisc/Madison

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