Eddie (Lockjaw) Davis, considered one of the most innovative and individual tenor saxophonists to ever play jazz, died Monday at a Culver City hospital of cancer.
He was 65 and had performed as recently as Sept. 14 at a tribute to pianist Jimmy Rowles.
Davis was self-taught, playing professionally in Harlem only eight months after buying his first saxophone. He played with Cootie Williams and Louis Armstrong, formed his own combo and then began a long association with Count Basie in 1952.
For the next two decades he toured and recorded with the Basie band while elsewhere accompanying Ella Fitzgerald or being featured in European concerts with the Jazz at the Philharmonic ensemble.
More recently he had a lengthy affiliation with Harry (Sweets) Edison, the trumpeter. The two toured the country for months at a time, picking up local side men to fill out their group.