Dennis Davis
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Dennis Davis

Band Jazz R&B


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"Quotes about Dennis from his colleagues "

Sterling Campbell: "When I was 14 years old, Dennis Davis moved into my building, and I came across him in the lobby. He was on his way to do a show at Madison Square Garden! I told him I play drums and he invited me to the show. That show was my first introduction to David's music and to the brilliance of Dennis Davis. And I knew what I wanted to do with my life! Being on stage with him last year in New York was like coming around full circle! Dennis has had a huge influence on my playing. In fact, the way I approached this last small tour was a tribute to Dennis' style."
David Bowie: "Dennis was so open, He was almost orgiastic in his approach to trying out new stuff. He'd say, 'Yeah, let's do that new shit, man." I told him about a Charlie Mingus gig that I saw where the drummer had polythene tubes that would go into the drums, and he would suck and blow to change the pressure as he played. Dennis was out the next day buying that stuff. Dennis is crazy, an absolute loony man, but he had a lot of his own thoughts on things, and he would throw us all kinds of curve-balls." Bowie seems to take some sort of parental pride in relating that Dennis Davis was in fact Sterling Campbell's drum teacher, and likes to illustrate the relationship with a little anecdote. "This is very "Dennis." Sterling Campbell used to go over to Dennis's house to ask for lessons, and Dennis would say, 'Ah... sure. You want to clean those windows? [laughs] Sterling looked after Dennis's pad, and in return Dennis taught him. Isn't that great? Dennis, of course, came to many of the gigs we did when Sterling was around, and then in turn, Sterling has always come to all the Zach gigs. And then all three of them have turned up on some occasions. They all get on very well with each other. So it's lovely that I've got this kind of real lineage between them, going back to 1976."
Tony Visconti: "Dennis was the life of the party. He could do a mime act on the closed-circuit-tv camera and have us in stitches. He claimed he took a short cut through a highly classified hanger and saw a crashed UFO from the catwalk he was on. He stared at it for ages until a guard told him to leave because he wasn't classified to be there. He was warned not to ever mention what he saw. I don't know if this is true, but it was highly entertaining. French tv sucks, Dennis is the best we had. I suppose if I could get David, the remaining Beatles, Beck, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, to create a super-group with Dennis Davis on drums, I'd be very happy."
- Quotes about Dennis from his colleagues


Roy Ayers Best of Roy Ayers: Love Fantasy (1970) Drums
Roy Ayers Coffy (1973) Drums
Roy Ayers Ubiquity Vibrations (1976) Drums
Roy Ayers I'm the One (for Your Love... (1987) Drums
Roy Ayers Evolution: The Polydor Anthology (1995) Drums, Vocals
Roy Ayers Naste' (1995) Drums
Roy Ayers Good Vibrations (1995) Drums
Roy Ayers Essential Groove Live (1996) Drums
Roy Ayers Hot (1996) Drums
Roy Ayers & Bonita Brisker Spoken Word (1998) Drums
Roy Ayers Searchin'/Hot (1999) Drums
Roy Ayers Juice (1999) Drums
Roy Ayers Good Vibrations/Essential Groove (1999) Drums
George Benson Good King Bad (1975) Bass, Drums
David Bowie Young Americans (1975) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Station to Station (1976) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Low (1977) Percussion
David Bowie Heroes (1977) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Stage (1978) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Lodger (1979) Bass, Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980) Percussion
David Bowie Another Face (1981) Percussion
David Bowie Rare (1983) Percussion
David Bowie Sound + Vision [Box] (1989) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Changesbowie (1990) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Changes [Rykodisc] (1990) Drums
David Bowie Young Americans [Bonus CD... (1991) Percussion, Drums
David Bowie Changes [EMI] (1999) Percussion, Drums (Snare)
David Bowie All Saints - Instrumentals Drums
Zachary C. Breaux Groovin' (1992) Percussion, Drums
Ronnie Foster Cheshire Cat (1975) Drums
Ronnie Foster Love Satellite (1978) Drums
Charles Jackson Gonna Getcha Love (1979) Drums
Garland Jeffreys Guts for Love (1983) Percussion, Drums
Eddie Murphy How Could It Be (1985) Drums
Sylvia Striplin Give Me Your Love (1998) Drums
Alyson Williams Raw (1989) Drums
Stevie Wonder Journey Through the Secret Life of (1979) Drums, Syndrum
Stevie Wonder Hotter Than July (1980) Drums
Stevie Wonder Original Musiquarium I (1982) Drums
Stevie Wonder At the Close of the Century (1999) Drums
Zulema R S V P (1975) Drums
Various Artists Cool Sounds from a Hot Club, Live... (1979) Drums
Various Artists Night at Ronnie Scott's, Vol. 4 (1987) Drums
Various Artists Move to Groove: The Best of 1970s... (1995) Drums
Various Artists One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The... (1997) Drums

And the latest:
Dennis Davis The Groovemaster - Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Production



Dennis Davis was born on August 28 in Manhattan, New York to Alice and "Sugarfoot" Davis. His family also included two sisters, Denise and Donna, and his brother Butch. It was Dennis' Uncle who turned Dennis on to drums and percussion at an early age, and Dennis would soon play throughout his school years and would learn through the tuteledge of his drum teacher, George Scott beginning from the age of 8. Dennis would have the privilege of studying with legendary drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones. Dennis even managed to win the legendary Apollo theater's amateur night prize an amazing 4 times!
Dennis began playing like with the Clark Terry Big Band in 1967 until he was called for duty in the Vietnam War (he was wounded during his tour of duty). He would play in the United States Navy drum and bugle corp during that time, further honing his skills. Upon the end of his tenure in Vietnam, Dennis quickly landed some major gigs, including his first tour and album with Jazz Vibraphonist extraordinaire Roy Ayers. Dennis would soon hook up with David Bowie for Bowie's "Young Americans" album, the album that would give Dennis the opportunity to play not only with Bowie, but with John Lennon. Whirlwind World tours playing with Bowie would soon follow, and Dennis was a huge part of Bowie's legendary "Berlin Trio" of albums (Low, Heroes, Lodger) that were considered Bowie's most brilliant and creative works. Stints with George Benson would follow before Dennis hooked up with Stevie Wonder in 1979 for studio and live work. A funny story about this is that when Stevie called Dennis for the gig, Dennis had no idea he was talking to Stevie Wonder, as Wonder used his real name (Steveland Morris) when making the initial call. Imagine Dennis' delight when he realized who Steveland Morris actually was!
Dennis continued a great working relationship with Roy Ayers throughout the years, and in 1991. Dennis joined up with Roy's band full time for studio work and tours until 2004 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. But the cancer didn't stop Dennis playing drums. He has survived and quietly began piecing his own album together over the last few years. Dennis finally put the finishing touches on his first official solo album, entitled "The Groovemaster". Dennis still lives in his native New York city, still busy with local gigs and other studio work.