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Ed Davis - Master’s Recital

Youngstown State University

Ed Davis

Graduate Recital

22 April 2012

4 pm, Bliss Hall Room 2222


Ed Davis – drumset, congas, John Anthony – guitar, Joe Scheller – tenor saxophone, clarinet, Doug Finley – keyboard, & Dave Traugh – bass

*All compositions by Ed Davis


Wick Ave. Slow Drag

            Despite having never been to the city, I’ve always had a love for the music and culture of New Orleans — specifically, the rhythms of the “second-line” parade bands the city is known for.  The “second-line” actually refers to the tradition of the New Orleans funeral parade, in which the deceased is carried to the gravesite by horse and carriage accompanied by the family (first line) and followed by a marching brass band (second line).  The band typically performs a slow “dirge,” or slow hymn, while the parade heads to the cemetery, but on the way out they play a very upbeat, rhythmic tune to celebrate the life that has just passed.

            This composition is written in the style of the upbeat, New Orleans “second-line” style and is named in tribute to one of the original members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Alcide “Slow Drag” Pavageau.


Blues for “Sweet Emma” Barrett

            “Sweet Emma” is another reference to the original Preservation Hall Jazz band and their leader, “Sweet Emma” Barrett.  This composition’s New Orleans reference is only in name however, as it is a standard twelve-bar blues in a bebop style written to a preconceived set of chord changes.  It was important to have an element of traditional bebop drumming on this recital, as it’s been crucial to developing both my touch on the drumset and listening skills in a small group jazz combo. 


Pollo Espiritu

            “Pollo Espiritu” otherwise known as “Poultry Geist” began as an exercise for Dr. Dave Morgan’s jazz composition class in writing any melody, thinking of only the melody, and harmonizing it after the fact.  This led to some highly unconventional chord changes on my behalf, but I still found it to be very effective and compelling.  I knew that I wanted to play congas on this recital, so I tried playing this composition over a 3-2 rumba clave with a piano montuno and found that the unconventional harmonies worked great in combination with the syncopated rhythms in the clave pattern.


Window Pains

            The original idea when writing “Window Pains” was to create my own melody based on the chord changes to “Someday My Prince Will Come” by Frank Churchill.  I found that it was difficult to really separate my own melodic ideas from the standard set of changes, so I began to modify the changes to more ambiguous tonalities.  I ended up with the idea of creating a moving bass line underneath static harmonies for each section of the tune, giving me a totally different sounding composition from “Someday My Prince Will Come.”


Lil’ Anthony & Sidecar Mitch

            This piece was inspired by a weekend at my parent’s house, watching my nephew (Lil’ Anthony) and his Labrador retriever (Mitch).  The two of them were inseparable, and someone commented, “it looks like Anthony is on a motorcycle and Mitch is his sidecar!”  The bass line is a bluesy version of a melody that I heard coming from one of Anthony’s baby toys, and the rest was composed to replicate the bouncing chaos between a toddler and his puppy.


Gordon’s Twist

            The inspiration for “Gordon’s Twist” came from a composition by Sting (Gordon Sumner) called “Love is Stronger Than Justice (the Munificent Seven).”  I’ve always loved the groove in 7/4 played by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and decided to borrow the bass line to the tune to use for my own composition.  Playing “in 7” is a constant challenge for drummers and is something I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on while studying at YSU, so it has been an extremely valuable experience to be able to challenge myself using my own composition. 



            I would like to thank my family for supporting me through my time in graduate school, and allowing me to pursue music as a career in any way possible.  A big thanks goes out to John Anthony, Joe Scheller, Doug Finley and Dave Traugh.  These tunes would not have been the same without each and every one of their individual personalities and abilities.  I would like to thank Dr. Glenn Schaft for the last two years of invaluable instruction and guidance and I would also like to thank Dr. Dave Morgan, Dr. Kent Englehardt and Dr. Ewelina Boczkowsa for serving on my recital jury panel.



Ed Davis is pursuing a Master of Music in Percussion Performance degree at Youngstown State University where he serves as a teaching assistant to Dr. Glenn Schaft.  He currently teaches the Percussion Methods class and is the assistant director of the YSU Percussion Ensemble.  Ed is also a drum circle facilitator for the YSU SMARTS Rhythms educational outreach program and is a private lesson instructor at Motter’s Music in Canfield, OH and The Drum Smith in Struthers, OH.

Originally from West Liberty, OH, Ed attended the Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus, OH and earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Media degree in 2004.  As a student at Capital, Ed performed in variety of jazz, percussion and wind ensembles and worked as an assistant to world percussion instructor, Eric Paton, performing and teaching at schools throughout Ohio.

While living in Columbus, Ed worked as an instructor at Columbus Pro Percussion and performed in a variety of styles as a freelance musician.  Focusing on mainly drumset and world percussion, Ed has performed with groups such as the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Chuck Mangione, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and served as a member of national recording act, Red Wanting Blue.  He can be heard on their 2009 release, “These Magnificent Miles” (Fanatic/EMI). 

Since living in Youngstown, Ed has had the opportunity to play with bands such as Jordan DePaul & the Reputations, Special Blend, The Passing FADS, The Happy Endings and Todd Cutshaw.  As a student at YSU, Ed has been a member of the Youngstown Percussion Collective, Jazz Ensemble 1, various jazz combos and Penguins in Bondage: the YSU Frank Zappa Ensemble. Ed has also been fortunate to share the stage with Dr. Glenn Schaft in his faculty recital, and with Dr. Dave Morgan at the Lakeland Jazz Festival presentation of “The Way of the Sly Man.”  Ed can also be heard on “Forms of Things Unknown,” by Dave Morgan, a work commissioned for the Youngstown Percussion Collective.


Upcoming Events Calendar

4/23/12 - Moriah Placer, Junior Recital, 8PM, Bliss 2222


5/1/12 - Dylan Kollat, Junior Recital, 8PM, 2222


5/2/12 – Matt Hayes, Senior Recital, 8PM, Bliss 2326


5/3/12 – Dustin May, Senior Recital, 8PM, Bliss 2222


5/5/12 – YSU Marching Pride Drumline Workshop, featuring guest artists Rob Ferguson and YSU Drumline instructor Kevin Kifer.  See for info.


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