A Father’s Day tribute to “TT’s Father of Jazz,” Ralph Davies, who will turn 90 this year, will be held on Sunday from 6 pm, at Club Fuzion, Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s.
The show will feature a cast of jazz musicians led by David “Happy” Williams. Included in his Power Jazz Sextet are Etienne Charles on trumpet, Theron Shaw – guitar, Wayne Guerra –piano, Anthony Woodroffe – saxophone and Shaquille Noel – drums.
All proceeds will go towards the Ralph Davies Foundation, a foundation that will be set up to preserve Davies’ legacy. Producer Ava Hutchinson told Newsday: “It is all worth it because Ralph is such a wonderful person. He is just super at age 90 and still popping.
“He is very lucid in terms of the history of jazz in Trinidad, rattling off so many names and the lives he has touched and storytelling of his many and varied experiences.”
Hutchinson said 80 of Davies’ 90 years have been spent playing music, in service, from the early days at Radio Trinidad with the Sam Ghany programme in the 1950s to TTT programmes, Rikki Tikki and Scouting For Talent, and all over TT with the Ralph Davies Trio.
As a solo act Davies was the first musician to play at the Trinidad Hilton Hotel when it opened in the 1960s. He remained there for several years before doing stints at other hotels such as the Normandie and Holiday Inn.
Davies was tutored in classical and jazz piano while growing up, but only played in his spare time, since he worked as a lithographic draughtsman in the Mapping and Control, Lands and Survey Department of the Planning and Development Ministry.
In 1965, he performed at the Commonwealth Arts Festival in Great Britain with drummer and panman, Ulric “Chick Mc Groo” Springer.
Davies’ trio also accompanied numerous singers, and calypsonians such as Kitchener, Sparrow and Calypso Rose. Hutchinson said this was why some of TT’s musical giants were invited to perform at the show.
“Patrons attending are in store for a rare musical treat as other master artistes whose lives Ralph has touched in many ways through tutoring, mentorship, accompaniment, will pay their respects on stage throughout this auspicious occasion: Clive Zanda, Ray Holman, Dean Williams, Dougie Redon, Kenneth Clarke, David Boothman, Rellon Brown, Geoffrey Pataysingh, The Jazz Pickle, Gerry Banfield, ‘Ziggy’ Hosein, Lord Relator, Lord Superior, Richard Joseph, Oluwafemi Isoke, Candace Alcantara, Ron Aqui, Roger Salloum, Anne Fridal, Juliet Robin and Bruce Greenidge.”
He has also shared stages with many international musical icons, among them, Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Delfeayo Marsalis, the Drifters and the Platters. He also entertained Nat King Cole and his wife in Trinidad in the 1950s.
On Father’s Day, Hutchinson says patrons can expect to hear wonderful music played by fantastic musicians and have a great musical evening.
“It will be an authentic experience with strictly jazz music.”
The first half of the show will feature Happy Williams and his sextet, and in the second half all the musicians whose lives were touched by Davies will take turns on stage paying tribute to him.