His father, Jesse Ed Davis II, was Kiowa and Cherokee while his mother's side was Kiowa. He graduated from Northeast High School in 1962. Davis began his musical career in the late 1950s playing in Oklahoma City and surrounding cities with John Ware, John Selk, Jerry Fisher (later Blood, Sweat & Tears vocalist) Mike Boyle, Chris Frederickson, drummer Bill Maxwell and others. By the mid 1960's, Davis had quit the University of Oklahoma and went touring with Conway Twitty. Davis eventually moved to California, where, through his friendship with Levon Helm, he became friendly with Leon Russell.
He became a session player before joining Taj Mahal and playing guitar and piano on his first three albums. Davis played slide, lead, rhythm, country, and even jazz during his three year stint, also making an appearance with the band in the The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus. Davis went on to work closely with John Lennon in the future featuring as guitarist on a few of his albums. The period backing Taj Mahal was the closest Davis came to being in a band full time, and after Taj Mahal's 1969 album Giant Step, Davis performed session work for artists as diverse as David Cassidy, Albert King and Willie Nelson. In 1971, Davis produced and played on Gene Clark's second solo album, White Light, to much critical acclaim. Davis recorded his first solo album when the subsidiary of Atlantic Records, Atco, signed a contract with him to record two albums with the label.
The result of that engagenment was the self -titled album Jesse Davis in 1971, which featured backing vocals by Gram Parsons and appearances by Leon Russell and Eric Clapton, among others. Two more solo records followed, Ululu in 1972, and Keep Me Comin', occasionally listed as Keep On Coming, in 1973. In the seventies, Davis played on records by John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leonard Cohen, Keith Moon, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller, Gene Clark, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks, and was a featured guest in George Harrison's The Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden. In and out of clinics, Davis disappeared from the music industry for a time, spending much of the 1980's dealing with alcohol and drug addiction. Davis played in The Graffiti Band, which coupled his music with the poetry of American Indian activist John Trudell. On June 22, 1988 Jesse Ed Davis collapsed and was pronounced dead in a laundry room in Venice, California. Davis had various drugs in his system and his death is commonly attributed to as a heroin overdose.
He was 43 years old. Jesse Davis is also an American jazz saxophonist, born November 9th, 1965. Davis began as a student in Ellis Marsalis's New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. After graduating, Jesse Davis embarked on a productive jazz career, recording 8 albums on the Concord Jazz label, alongside collaborations with such artists as Jack McDuff and Illinois Jacquet. Davis has studied music at Northeastern Illinois University, and in 1989 Davis received a "Most Outstanding Musician award" from Down Beat magazine.
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