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SPOTLIGHT: Jesse Ed Davis, Kiowa Guitar Legend

Kiowa Guitarist Jesse Ed Davis Lives on as a Legend of Guitar Music. Here is a look at his life, music, and legacy.

Jesse Ed Davis was born September 21, 1944 in Norman, Oklahoma to a Muscogee Creek/Seminole Father and a Kiowa mother.  Beginning his career in Oklahoma city, he later moved on to be one of the most revered sessional guitarists in the history of Blues and Rock music.

After leaving the University of Oklahoma in 1960, Davis began touring with country legend Conway Twitty. He then moved to California where he connected with Taj Mahal to play guitar and piano on Taj’s first 3 albums where his versatility allowed him to play many styles including blues, rock, country and jazz. After that he moved on to work with John Lennon and George Harrison for several of their solo album projects.

Other artists Davis played guitar for include Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leonard Cohen, Keith Moon, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks just to name a few. Also Jesse played with American Indian activist and poet John Trudell in the collective called the Graffiti Band.

Jesse Ed Davis passed away on June 22, 1988 after collapsing in a laundry room in Venice, California at the age of 43. His death was attributed to a heroin overdose.

His impact on music lives on through this style and influence he had on the sound of music in his time.

Here is one of his songs called “Keep Me Comin” released in 1973.

1 Comment

  1. Beverly

    I am proud to say I knew him once upon a time. He was extremely talented, intelligent and had that “something” about him. I am so glad to see he is back in the media and being recognized for the legend he is.