According to the West Virginia Jazz Society (WVJS), the musicianship of many of the artists they book for their live jazz events is frequently augmented by a range of other skills and professional interests.
One example of this, says WVJS Vice President Rose Ann Policano, is Dr. Michael Davison, a trumpeter and legendary performer as founder and leader of the Latin Jazz Messengers, the 6-member ensemble due to play in Kelly’s Pub on Friday, June 10, for Uptown Clarksburg’s 2016 Summer Jazz Stroll.
Davison is also a respected professor, published composer, author, documentary film maker, and ethnomusicologist.
“Davison and his Latin Jazz Messengers deliver a powerful and entertaining performance filled with high energy rhythms and captivating solos,” said Policano, a member of the informal talent committee formed to select artists for WVJS referrals. “Davison himself is also an accomplished musical scholar and educator, as well as a documentary film maker. It all goes together to make for a top quality event, one that provides a lot of benefit to the community.”
Davison’s resume says his love of music has shaped his life and career.
“He is literally known worldwide,” added Policano. “He is in demand for jazz and classical recitals all over the United States as well as in parts of France, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, China and Cuba. “
Davison has recorded four jazz CDs as both a leader and sideman. His classical CD, Fenster, received rave reviews from the International Trumpet Guild Journal. As a jazz musician, Davison has performed with the late tenor saxophonist and 11-time Grammy winner, Michael Brecker; popular jazz trombonist, Curtis Fuller and legendary Latin jazz saxophonist and composer, Justo Almario. He has also performed alongside some of Motown’s most iconic singers and groups, including Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations and The Four Tops.
Davison has published two transcription books on famed trumpeter Randy Brecker. “Randy Brecker: Artist Transcriptions/Trumpet” was published by Hal Leonard Publishing Company and “The Music of Randy Brecker: Solo Transcriptions and Performing Artist Master Class CD” was published by Warner Bros. In addition to transcribing, Davison has also published jazz and AfroCuban compositions with Walrus Music. In 1986, Davison accepted a job as head of the jazz and trumpet programs at the University of Richmond.
Widely considered an expert and respected scholar on Cuban-musical styles, he performs and teaches Cuban music at the University of Richmond and worldwide. He was recently awarded the prestigious Educator of the Year award. His influence as an educator goes beyond the University of Richmond campus. Davison also serves as trumpet instructor and head of the brass area at the renowned Interlochen International Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan.
Davison, along with producer Ed Tillett, completed Cuba: Rhythm in Motion, a documentary tracing the musical genealogy between Cuban rhythms and American jazz. The film premiered on the campus of the University of Richmond in 2007 and has been shown around the world, including Spain, Australia and Mexico.
Dr. Davison is presently writing a book on Cuban folk music. An active recitalist, Davison has performed on public radio, with the University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble, and as soloist with the Richmond Symphony, among many other appearances. Davison has written numerous articles for DownBeat, G.I.A. Quarterly, and Fanfare magazine.
He has published many jazz combo charts with Advance Music Company and is a clinician for the Selmer/Bach company.
The Latin Jazz Messengers will perform beginning at 6:30pm to 7:45pm, 8:15pm to 9:30pm and 10pm to 11pm. Five additional jazz ensembles will also perform during the Stroll in five other unique venues. For more information on Davison, the Latin Jazz Messengers, or the Summer Jazz Stroll email: STROLL@WVJazzSociety.com, or phone 304-269-3683.
Davison’s appearance is made possible through a grant from The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County’s Barbara B. Highland Fund for the Arts.
Photo: The Latin Jazz Messengers. Mike Davison pictured second from the left.