philip michael davis / philip michael davis / philip michael davis / philip michael davis / philip michael davis / philip michael davis
philipmichaeldavis.com / philipmichaeldavis.com / philipmichaeldavis.com / philipmichaeldavis.com / philipmichaeldavis.com
Composer of Jazz/electro-fusion
I've been making music for quite a while now. Must have started banging on the piano at around age three or so. With a little guidance, I managed to win a statewide composition contest at age eight. What a geek.
One thing led to another with more composing, more classical piano lessons that I hated and a few traumatizing recitals that could have ended a short musical career but for some reason, I hung in there and now have five albums to boost my ego.
In an effort to be
well rounded, I picked up the violin and viola and joined the school orchestra.
Double-geek-a-tude. It taught me a great deal about how each instrument
in an orchestra works in concurrence with everyone else to build a rich,
symphonic sound that really worked.
During my last year in high school (1969), I started a part time job working for Paul Beaver who had the very first Moog Synthesizer in Hollywood and was doing a lot of session work at all the studios. My job was to haul the Moog Series IIIp to the studio, set it up, and hang around to watch the most incredible musicians from Dave Grusin to Tom Scott and countless others session players come in to make magic.
Back at the warehouse, I had access to the synthesizer and an eight track, 3M tape recorder that handled large reels of 1" tape. The early Moog played only one line of music at a time - no polyphony. The only way to build a full orchestral sound was by layering instrument by instrument - track by track. That earlier experience in the school orchestra began to pay off.
and The Gil Evans Jazz Tour
As with most 70's musicians, I wanted to be in a rock band. Don Preston of the Mothers of Invention and I started a group called Raw Milk and played around LA in a few clubs.
The group didn't go very far but then a big break came along - Preston and I were asked to join the Gil Evans Jazz Tour going to Europe for a couple of months.
There I was at age twenty on stage with one of the greats of Jazz. Traveling expenses were paid but that was it. Oh, did I mention the reward of an invaluable experience of walking out on stage in front of a totally receptive audience who knew and loved jazz?
The Moog was new on the music scene and drew a lot of curiosity. I felt bad when a front page article appeared in a Holland newspaper featuring the Moog and me with Gil Evans in the background - well actually, I didn't feel all that bad about it.
After returning from New York and Europe to Los Angeles, I wasn't sure what would come along next, if anything. And then Disneyland called about a project called The Main Street Electrical Light Parade and later, America on Parade. Disney got a lot of mileage out of those productions. Stellar gigs for me.
At almost the same time, I was again in the right place at the right time and asked to be in the band for a new stage production of "Tommy" at the Aquarius Theater in Hollywood. That was the first of several live performance stage productions I would be in.
Moog Synthesizer IIIp
|I also started to do some studio sessions around that time. On a Tuesday afternoon, I was scheduled to do a session at Sunset Sound Recorders in LA but they wouldn't tell me what it was for. I got there, set up the synthesizer and sat in the recording engineers chair behind the console waiting for the session to start. Then this guy walked in to the control room and, with an intimidating English accent said, "Who are you and what the hell are you doing here?" He scared the shit out of me. It was Paul McCartney and I found out I was there to work on the album "RAM". He turned out to be quite warm and charming. On a break, I went into the coffee room and sat at a table with somebody named Linda who had an embossed leather briefcase full of photos from a sheep farm in Scotland. One of those photos became the cover for the album "Ram" and she became McCartney's wife. My part on the record was minuscule but the experience was absolutely monumental.|
|Jesus - "Jesus
Christ Superstar", a Tom O'Horgan spectacle staged at the new
Universal Studios Amphitheater, was the next big event for me. I was in
the orchestra pit along with about 25 other musicians but I felt like I
was a part of something large. Superstar had a great run and I was
lucky to be part of it.
After my time spent with Jesus, it was off to New York again. This time Tom O'Horgan had organized a stage production of "Sgt. Pepper" on Broadway. This time, the band wore costumes and appeared on stage. The Moog and I were center stage. We played to a packed house every night. The attention was incredible. One night, John Lennon & Yoko came to see the show with Elton John. The energy in the theater was electric.
On another night, my old friend Paul McCartney saw the show and came on stage afterwards to meet the cast. His agent introduced me to him saying, "You remember Philip Davis who played synthesizer on Ram, don't you?" McCartney stuck out his hand to shake mine and said, "Of course I do. How have you been?"
He's worked with thousands
of musicians and it was obvious to me that he had no idea who I was but
it didn't matter - with a generous shake of the hand, he made an indelible
mark on my life.
A Mini-Moog, PolyMoog, another Series IIIp synthesizer, DX-7, and a Roland XP-80 plus a few years that have passed, and I'm now creating my own albums. "Transposition", "Alta Vista", "Portals", "Dancing Spirits", and now "Got New Wheels". Five so far and the tunes seem to keep on coming.
in the mountains of Utah where his studio windows look out to pines and
an occasional moose wondering by. He started working with Moog Synthesizers
in 1969 and had one of the first Series III Synthesizers that Moog had ever
produced. Right from the start, he realized the extraordinary potential
of this, at times, controversial new instrument. It played only one line
of music at a time making it a challenge to combine the unlimited variations
of notes and sounds into real music. By combining a series of oscillators
and filters and the use of a multi track tape recorder (8 tracks at the
time) a new universe opened to composition.
The $5000 investment for a synthesizer, which he soon modified into a live performance instrument, led him on a musical trip throughout Europe with the famed Gil Evans Jazz Group. Soon after his return to the states, came LA stage productions of "Tommy" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Universal Studios Amphitheater, and eventually to do Broadway productions of "Sgt. Pepper" and other Broadway musicals in New York. He has worked with Paul McCartney on the album "Ram", George Harrison & Ravi Shankar, David Gates (Clouds), Disney productions (America on Parade & Electrical Light Parade), numerous film scores, commercials, news formats, and now his own compositions.
On this recording of "Got New Wheels", Philip Michael Davis is the sole producer and musician. By using the versatile Roland XP-80 Synthesizer, he has achieved a splendid balance of Jazz, Sophisticated New Age and electro-fusion.
Philip Michael Davis
Born: November 27, 1950