Here’s my SayWhatipedia Page!

Russ Davis

From SayWhatipedia, the free encyclopedia

Russ Headshot 2 245x300 Heres my SayWhatipedia Page!

Background information

Born

10 September 1951
Selma, Alabama USA

Occupation(s)

Broadcaster, programmer, writer, performer

Russell Alvin Davis is best known as an international jazz radio programmer and broadcaster since 1978 in various markets in the USA and internationally with syndicated programs in England and Japan as well as programming and presenting the program JAZZ AMERICA on the Voice of America from 1999 through 2020. His activities have also included writing, performing and recording his original music with various groups and individuals as well as writing the scripts and performing television skit-comedy for Atlanta television. He has also written a large volume of poetry and short stories as well as jazz-oriented journalistic pieces that have been published on his personal online sites as well as the website of publications such as JazzTimes Magazine.

With respect to his activities related to jazz he will be best remembered as one of the first and primary programmer-presenters who successfully blended the areas of classic and modern jazz. His work bridged the gap between “traditional” jazz and modern by fusing acoustic jazz based on blues and swing rhythms with various improvisational styles that include electric instrumentation played in multiple rhythms. Some of the styles featured in his programming include jazz-rock-fusion, world jazz blending styles and instrumentation from Eastern Europe, Africa, East Asia, Latin countries and European classical elements as well as Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Hip Hop, Electronic and Techno. His programming was created to insure that jazz would evolve as opposed to being relegated to music of a primarily historic nature and relegated to one time period.

Contents

1 Youth

2 Jazz VItae

3 External links

Youth & Early Artistic Activities

Born in Selma, Alabama but raised in Birmingham, Davis began his musical activities working with his first band known as Pleasure’s Fare with guitarists Terry Davis (no relation) and Jimmy Kincaid. In High School he elected to take Speech classes that also led to acting in onstage plays. He attended 2 colleges in the state, Jacksonville State University for one year, where he met his first original music collaborator Jimmy Dunlap, before transferring to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where he majored in English with a double minor in Speech and Broadcast/Film Communication.  It is there that Davis was hired for his first radio job as an on-air personality for the local Tuscaloosa Broadcasting Corporation station WTBC-AM, which also owned an affiliated FM station WUOA. The FM station featured on-air presenter Gaylon Horton, who was also a musician. Davis and Horton became musical collaborators and with Jimmy Dunlap, who had left his work in the recording studio center in Muscle Shoals, formed the band CAR. The group worked together for over two decades writing, performing and recording hundreds of songs until the death of Gaylon Horton. The band had re-located to Birmingham where Davis had been hired to work at local FM radio station WERC. It was in Birmingham that he continued his work with CAR but made the acquaintance of the members of the band NOD, later to be known as THE RAVES, the Yoakum brothers Chuck, John & Jimmy and guitarist Ken Kennedy. He collaborated with the group on a number of live performances and recordings, continuing their work after moving to Atlanta where Davis had been offered an on-air presenter position at radio station WQXI-FM.  Finding a thriving music scene in Atlanta, began writing and recording his own solo music and collaborating with a number of local luminary musicians such as guitarist and award-winning producer Brendan O’Brien, guitarist, writer and vocalist of the band The Georgia Satellites, Rick Richards and many more. It was in Atlanta that the television program EH, WOT’S THIS? was created and produced by Davis and the member of The Raves, winning local cable television awards. It was also in Atlanta that the most important aspect of his life’s work began…his work in Jazz Radio.

Jazz Vitae

Davis began his career in jazz radio by creating a special program called “Jazz Flavours” in 1978 at WQXI-FM in Atlanta.† The Program was a combination of acoustic and electric jazz with modern jazzy vocals. The format later morphed into a softer form that became known as the NAC (New Adult Contemporary) format which became popular on radio stations all around the world.

In 1988, the Coca Cola Company contracted Davis to create a three-hour version of the program “Jazz Flavours” for syndication to be sponsored by their brand Fresca.  The show aired for over two years in 13 markets including New York, Boston, Atlanta and Houston.  Davis also created another syndicated product, which was offered at the same time, titled “Conversations,” a one-hour interview show with various jazz artists.

The popularity of “Jazz Flavours” allowed him to move to New York in 1988 to work as music director and on air presenter for the start up of contemporary jazz station WQCD-FM (CD 101.9). Davis  worked there until 1998. From 1989 to 1991, Davis programmed and voiced a nightly jazz program for WSTR-FM in Atlanta, shipping all materials from New York City.

Davis’s work with international jazz programming began in the 1990’s. In 1990, the Tokyo radio station BAY-FM 78 contracted him to program, produce and ship a customized version of the weekly program “Cool Cuts” for them, which aired for over three years. In addition to the “Cool Cuts” program for Japan’s BAY-FM 78 Davis also voiced programs for J-WAVE and INTER-FM in Tokyo in the late 1990’s.

From October 1996 to April 1997 he programmed, produced and shipped a five-hour weekly original jazz show to WJZF-FM in Atlanta.

In May 1997 Davis began programming, producing and shipping a one-hour weekly show titled “New York Jazz Week” to JAZZ-FM in London, England which aired all over England on the JAZZ-FM Network of stations.  During his two plus years of involvement with JAZZ-FM he also created special holiday programs such as “Christmas In New York” and via ISDN from his personal studio performed the Breakfast Show (Morning drive show) for a month until their new Morning personality could be hired.

Through the New York-based Global Interface Organization, a Japanese company that provided radio programs for Japan, Davis was contracted in 1999 to create, produce and present the weekly jazz program “Smooth Style” for the 14-station Japanese FM Network (JFN).  These shows were delivered via ISDN from his personal studio.  This program was produced for one year.

In 1998 Davis was employed by the American radio syndication company MediaAmerica to write the scripts and conduct interviews with jazz artists for the weekly show “Personal Notes” hosted by contemporary jazz artist Boney James.  He did this for over a year.

In addition to the programs for Japan and England, Davis have gained further international experience by attending the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, The Barcelona Jazz Festival in Spain, The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in Canada and the Aruba Jazz Festival in the Caribbean.  Davis has created numerous special programs featuring interviews with artists from these festivals.

From early 1998 through 2008 Davis worked in satellite radio as a programmer and presenter for both U.S.-based satellite radio companies, Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, creating various channels including the world’s only complete modern jazz channel, XM 72 Beyond Jazz, covering all aspects of jazz from the Fusion era of the 1960′s through all its evolutionary phases up to today.

In early 2009 Davis established his own company and website, MOJA Radio (www.mojaradio.com), an online version of the modern jazz channel and accompanying modern jazz community site he had developed on American satellite radio. This syndicated service lasted for a decade, finally shutting down in January 2019.

The crowning achievement of Davis’s jazz radio career is the weekly program “Jazz America” for the U.S. Government’s Voice of America service. Jazz America began on July 4th, 1999 and heard worldwide each weekend by millions of listeners who tuned in online or via their local radio stations. As Davis’s first superior John Stevenson instructed him, the listeners were to hear the best of what America has to offer. Davis has been quoted as saying “In my humble opinion there’s nothing better than what we offer…The best of Jazz, past and present, and conversation with the music makers!” The program was also posted to be heard on demand at any time at the www.RussDavisMOJA.com  Radio website.

Some other recent additional activities include…

1      Writing a regular column for the online edition of JazzTimes Magazine.

2      Conducting live, on-site interviews as special presentations for the Detroit Jazz Festivals from 2009 on.

3      Commissioned by American Pianist’s Association to be Master of Ceremonies at 2011 APA awards ceremony in Indianapolis, IN.

4      Invited by NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) to be moderator of “Grammy Winners Panels” at 2012 & 2013 Detroit Jazz Festivals.

5      Emcee and guest presenter for 2012, 2013, 2016 & 2017 Newport Jazz Festivals.

MEMBER: Jazz Journalists Association

AWARDS:

“Duke DuBois Humanitarian Award” 2020

(Awarded by JazzWeek*)

“Internet Radio Jazz Programmer of the Year” 2011

(Awarded by JazzWeek*)

“Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service for Jazz Education,”

(Awarded by International Association for Jazz Education 2006)

“European Radio Awards,” Nominee 1997

“Jazz Person Of The Year,” Gavin Report, Nominee 1991

“Jazz Person Of The Year,“ Gavin Report, Winner 1990

“Radio Personality Of The Year,” Billboard Nominee 1990

*JazzWeek, celebrates its 20th anniversary in August 2021, is the weekly online publication dedicated to jazz and jazz radio programming. Nominees are selected by JazzWeek subscriber-members, including: jazz radio programmers, jazz record company executives and independent jazz radio record promoters around the world.

External Links

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.