[Slowhand] Documentary to be made about Jesse Ed Davis - some EC mentions
woff at tpg.com.au
Thu Aug 23 06:38:50 EDT 2007
Oklahoma Filmmakers Hope to Get Legendary Kiowa Musician Inducted
into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
By Randi LeClair 8/22/2007
NORMAN, Okla - When Oklahoma filmmaker Steve Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw)
came across an article written about the life of musician Jesse Ed
Davis, he quickly telephoned his friend and business partner, fellow
filmmaker, Tvli Jacob (Choctaw). The two had never heard of Jesse Ed
Davis, and his story fascinated both of them. Davis’ impressive
resume struck both filmmakers—so much so, that they decided to make a
documentary to examine the life of the gifted musician.
“Several things about Jesse Ed affected me. He was from Oklahoma. He
was Kiowa. He went to OU and he was an accomplished guitarist who
played with all the greats, like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Eric
Clapton, all the big musicians,” Judd said.
Proclaimed as one of the most talented session guitarists, Jesse
Edwin Davis III was born in Norman, Oklahoma. He was enrolled Kiowa,
but had Comanche and Muscogee (Creek) heritage, as well.
Davis began taking guitar lessons while still a young boy. He would
practice long hours and his discipline paid off. At just sixteen-
years-old, Davis toured with Country singer Conway Twitty.
Later, after Davis returned to Oklahoma, he enrolled at the
University of Oklahoma, majoring in English. Davis eventually left
school, and moved to Los Angeles, were he reconnected with those he
toured with while playing guitar for Conway Twitty.
While in Los Angeles, Davis was introduced to fellow Oklahoma
musician, Leon Russell. It was Russell who got Davis his first studio
session job—with Gary and the Playboys. Soon after, Davis made a name
for himself, and became and in-demand session guitarist.
Among the names who requested Davis’ versatile guitar skills included
such musicians as Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, John Lennon, The
Rolling Stones, George Harrison, and Jackson Browne.
With the encouragement of Eric Clapton, Davis recorded his first solo
album, a self-titled release, in 1970. In 1972, Davis recorded two
more solo albums, Ululu, and in 1973, Keep Me Comin’.
With punk and new wave music dominating the airwaves during the end
of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, Davis’ career stalled.
Davis was no longer a highly demanded musician.
Although Davis did find sporadic guitar work during the 1980s, he had
battled for years with drugs and alcohol, and on June 22, 1988, Jesse
Ed Davis died from an apparent drug overdose, in Venice, California.
Filmmakers Judd and Jacob hope their documentary will revive a new
following and interest in Jesse Ed Davis, but most importantly, both
filmmakers hope their documentary will serve as a catalyst in getting
Jesse Ed Davis inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“That’s really our main goal with this film, is to get Jesse Ed
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He deserves it,” said
The two filmmakers, who run their own production company, Restless
Natives, are funding the entire project out of their own pockets.
Although they’ve had several potential investors offering handsome
production deals, nothing has been made official—yet.
“Everybody is interested in Jesse Ed’s story. Since we began filming
this story people from all over have been calling us, wanting to be a
part of this film. That tells you how important this man was to the
music world,” Judd said.
Even though Judd and Jacob have several Restless Natives films under
their belts, including their first feature, award-winning, American
Indian Grafitti, both hold the Jesse Ed Davis project closer to their
“We just want to tell an honest story that not only celebrates Jesse
Ed being Indian, but celebrates him being an amazing musician,” said
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