Blind John Davis was an accomplished session pianist who played on many seminal records in Chicago in the 30s and 40s and who was later a missionary of the Blues as it took root in Europe. John went blind at nine years of age and began playing piano in his father’s Chicago ‘speakeasy’ in the late 20s. His obvious talents brought him to the attention of Bluebird Records in 1938 where he cut several solo tracks, but it was his work on the records of John Lee ‘Sonny Boy’ Williamson, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy that made his name. Outside his session work, John led his own small band on the vibrant Chicago club scene. In 1952 he joined Big Bill on his ground-breaking tour of Europe that did so much to spark interest in the Blues beyond America, and opened a new chapter in John’s career.
John was a popular visitor to Europe over the whole of the rest of his life, and he cut several albums there, most notably ‘Stompin’ on a Saturday Night’, a live album recorded in Germany in 1976. John’s lilting voice and smooth piano style gave his Blues a sophisticated flavour, but when he played boogie-woogie he could really rock out. John was a strong performer on the Chicago club scene for the rest of his life, which came to an end in his hometown in 1985.
From slow, drag-out, bar-roon Blues to rocking boogie-woogie, Blues ballads and duets, Blind John displays his virtuosity and versatility.