Jazz History Quiz #94

November 12th, 2016

The correct answer is Wild Bill Davison!

One of the great Dixieland trumpeters, Wild Bill Davison had a colorful and emotional style that ranged from sarcasm to sentimentality with plenty of growls and shakes. His unexpected placement of high notes was a highlight of his solos and his strong personality put him far ahead of the competition. In the 1920s, he played with the Ohio Lucky Seven, the Chubb-Steinberg Orchestra (with whom he made his recording debut), the Seattle Harmony Kings, and Benny Meroff. After he was involved in a fatal car accident that ended the life of Frankie Teschemacher in 1932 (his auto was blindsided by a taxi), Davison spent the remainder of the 1930s in exile in Milwaukee. By 1941, he was in New York and in 1943 made some brilliant recordings for Commodore (including a classic version of “That’s a Plenty”) that solidified his reputation. After a period in the Army, Davison became a fixture with Eddie Condon’s bands starting in 1945, playing nightly at Condon’s. In the 1950s, he was quite effective on a pair of albums with string orchestras, but most of his career was spent fronting Dixieland bands either as a leader or with Condon. Wild Bill toured Europe often from the 1960s, recorded constantly, had a colorful life filled with remarkable episodes, and was active up until his death. A very detailed 1996 biography (The Wildest One by Hal Willard) has many hilarious anecdotes and shows just how unique a life Wild Bill Davison had.

– Scott Yanow, for All Music Guide to Jazz

 

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