Bring on the baritone

Acclaimed jazz performer, promoter helping out Suisun school

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

Jazz vocalist Jamie Davis knows his baritone voice can spellbind any listener within seconds.

No doubt, he should be confident about his personal sound, considering hes been prepped throughout the years at Ohio State University, the United States Army, by Harlem vocal coach Edward Boatner and later, the Count Basie Orchestra.

The change came at the age of 16, he recalls, when he 'just went baritone.' Since then, he said, he has used his voice as effectively as he could.

'Yeah, I stood out,' he said with a deep laugh. 'I can remember when I was sitting in front of the ladies singing bass parts and they loved it. So Ive been singing ever since!'

The baritone singer, whose voice is as deep as the Pacific ridge, relishes in big band performances, such as that in his latest CD, 'Its a Good Thing,' featuring members of the Count Basie Orchestra.

'Its the best rhythm section in the world!' he said referring to the Basie Orchestra. 'It turned out fantastic.'

Already receiving high acclaim, the album couples Davis intense jazz vocals with the chords of legends Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder in a sound that will get every finger snapping to the beat.

But this jazz performer, who has traveled the world with the Basie Orchestra, is more than just a musician hes an advocate for music in schools.

'Musicians want to make sure the students who cant afford instruments will be able to get what they want through donations and fundraisers,' he said. 'Its important to us.'

Enter Jeff Trager, music promoter who has been in the business for more than 35 years. After a meeting with Crystal Middle Schools principal, Roxanne Rice and seeing the school band perform The Doors 'Light My Fire' and Carlos Santanas 'Oye Como Va' Trager realized the students at the school lacked sufficient instruments. The answer for him was simple put on a fund-raiser.

'The money will go to establish scholarships and to buy instruments for the students,' the Green Valley resident said. 'They have the highest tested scores in the districts and yet their instruments are falling apart.'

Trager, who previously worked with Tower of Power, Ike and Tina Turner, Herb Albert, Bon Jovi and John Lee Hooker, to mention just a few, is helping the school by joining Davis with the Delbert Bump Jazz Organ Big Band for a two-and-a-half hour, toe-tapping performance at Solano College Theatre Sunday.

'Well open up with the students of Crystal Middle School All-star Band followed by our headliner, Jamie Davis,' Trager said.

Adding to the Bump chops and Davis vocals will be wine, champagne and pastries by Adianos in Sacramento. Plus, Trager added, a surprise is in store for the evening, but the promoter wont elaborate further.

'We will have raffle tickets for CDs in jazz and pop,' Trager added in addition to the surprise, who also runs Unity Music label out of Walnut Creek.

As for what will be played, Davis gave one of his hearty, deep laughs and said, 'Im taking my music sheets!'

Expect to hear songs such as 'Isnt She Lovely' by Stevie Wonder, 'Everyday I have the Blues' by Joe Williams and music by Monk.