JUNE 22, 1988


Born September 21, 1944, in Norman, Oklahoma, Davis was of Creek and Seminole ancestry on his father’s side and Kiowa heritage on his mother’s side.  At 16, he toured with country music legend Conway Twitty.  Moving to California, and through his friendship with Levon Helm of the Band, he became friends with Leon Russell and started doing session work, including guitarwork on the Monkees’ first hit, “Last Train to Clarksville.”  From there, in the late 60s and into the 70s he collaborated with Taj Mahal, John Lennon, George Harrison, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Arlo Guthrie, the Steve Miller Band, Jackson Browne, Keith Moon, Rod Stewart, and the 5th Dimension.  He recorded three solo albums in the early 1970s with Clapton and Russell as backup musicians.  Davis died at age 43. In 2002, he was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and in 2011 to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.  

Sources:  “Jesse Ed Davis,” Oklahoma.  Retrieved 7/4/2019, https://www.travelok.com/music-trail/artists/jesse-ed-davis Mark Arax And Paul Feldman, “OBITUARIES : Backed Up Major Artists : Jesse Ed Davis, 43; Noted Rock Guitarist,” L.A. Times, 6/24/1988.  Retrieved 7/4/2019, http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-24/news/mn-5697_1_jesse-ed-davis
Photo:  Charles Frizzell (1941-2004), 7/25/1968.   Jesse Ed Davis (guitarist), backing Taj Mahal at the Newport Folk Festival.  Charles Frizzell Collection (PH 81).  Courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Boise Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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