Good friend and musician Jeffrey J. Davis is wrestling with the final stages of ALS. GDub and I went to visit him at UCSF on Friday night. We are very glad we could tell him how much we loved him and to thank him for his friendship. I am posting this so you all can know how important Jeff was to us in the beginning of this mad musical adventure.
Jeff helped launch the Mad Maggies. We had played together for years in Polkacide. When I asked him in 2003 if he’d give me a hand getting some of my original tunes recorded he jumped on it enlisting Bill Schwartz (drums) and Lewis Wallace (bass) and connecting us with recording engineer Wally Sound (Mark Wally McClellan). J.X. Jones (sax), Lawrence Jarach (trombone) and John Hensley (trumpet), all from Polkacide signed on. Johny Blood (tuba), whom I had met while playing together at a casual gig that Tom Torriglia had hired us for, completed our fledgling line-up. In February 2004 they all joined GDub and me at Wally’s and we recorded the first tunes for our first album “Crazed and Enthused“.
Jeff was our “ears” sitting on the black couch in Wally’s control room. He and Wally fussed over our performances, sound quality and all the little details it takes to get a good recording. He gave a bassline to Lewis for “Heaven on This Earth“. He convinced us (rightly so) to have the recording mastered properly. He even sang on several of the tunes — Jeff has a beautiful voice!
It was not long after “Crazed and Enthused” that Jeff starting going back and forth to China helping his dad with business ventures there. Jeff fell in love with China. Next thing we knew he had moved to Shang-hai, opened a music bar Bee-Dee’s with two partners. He started playing with some of the finest bluegrass players in China including his special friend and mandolinist Tom Pang. Tom and Jeff created beautiful music together literally. Yep that is Jeff up there in Tom’s sound cloud photo with his Martin D-18 guitar. Check out their feature on NPR.
He travelled all around China even as far as Mongolia. We could follow his adventures via his Flickr stream — he takes a great picture.
He has been working his art, singing and playing all the way up until just these last couple of months.
We love ya, Jeff. Thanks for everything!
From “Crazed and Enthused”: Heaven on This Earth
Photos from that recording session back in 2004: