Richard L. Davis Receives Wisconsin History Maker Award | Wisconsin Historical Society

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Richard L. Davis Receives 2009 'Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts'

Wisconsin History Maker Award

Richard L. Davis Receives Wisconsin History Maker Award | Wisconsin Historical Society
Richard L. Davis.

Richard L. Davis, 2009

University of Wisconsin-Madison jazz professor Richard L. Davis is one of five individuals honored by the Society as a 2009 Wisconsin History Maker.

The Wisconsin Historical Society celebrated the lifetime achievement of Richard L. Davis, along with four other individuals with Wisconsin ties, during the Fourth Annual History Makers Gala in Milwaukee in May 2009. Davis received The Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts.

A Wisconsin History Maker is a living individual who has recently made significant contributions to history in the state, across the nation or around the world.

Chicago-born Davis is professor of bass, jazz history and combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He came to Madison in 1977 after 23 years in New York City establishing himself as one of the world's premier bass players. He has recorded more than dozen albums as a leader and over 2,000 recordings in support of other artists including Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan, Barbra Streisand, John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen.

While accomplished in jazz and popular music, Davis is equally distinguished in the world of classical music, having played under the batons of Igor Stravinsky, Gunther Schuller, Leopold Stokowski and Leonard Bernstein. As a performer, he has drawn enthusiastic audiences throughout the world for more than 40 years.

When he isn't teaching music, Davis has devoted himself to improving multicultural competency and equity on campus. He established the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc. in 1993 to provide young bass players, especially students from financially challenged families and minority ethnic groups, with the opportunity to learn from world-class bass instructors/performers.