This record is best enjoyed with liberal use of the volume knob. Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis plays the tenor sax as if he is determined to win every argument. Some have called it combative. I’d say he simply is determined: to set the agenda, tell it like it is, not beat around the bush, speak the truth, dominate the conversation and keep things hopping.
Born in New York, he nurtured his raw talent with skill. Some of his early jobs were playing with Louis Armstrong’s band. Over a couple of decades he provided driving tenor sounds to the Count Basie orchestra in several multi-year stints. When he wasn’t playing in the big bands he led smaller units that featured the Hammond B3 playing off his horn. Indeed, it is not hard to trace the pioneering of the sax/organ jazz combination to his work in the 50s and 60s, especially with the wonderful Shirley Scott.
Several stories exist as to the origin of his nickname, ’Lockjaw’. The more acceptable one is one of his early recording sessions had each track named after a disease. When the track Lockjaw took off, the name stuck.
The story jazz musicians tell is that Eddie was hung like a country horse and hence many of his lady friends developed the condition of locked jaws from their ministrations.
Whatever the case, this is a bloody good, romping record. Play it loud and submit to the commander in chief of the tenor saxophone. A man who said, “I want the audience to feel I`m in complete command. I deliberately handle the horn the way I do, to show I`m its master. Whether I`m playing it or just holding it, you take charge and it`s yours.”
01 Intermission Riff
02 Can’t Get Out Of This Mood
04 Our Delight
06 Bingo Domingo