Released to celebrate tenor jazz saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’ centennial, Cookin’ With Jaws And The Queen showcases the influential soul-jazz partnership of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and organist Shirley Scott
Cookin' With Jaws And The Queen: The Legendary Prestige Cookbook Album brings together the classic Prestige albums Smokin' and Cookbook, Vol. 1-3.
When tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Hammond B-3 organist Shirley Scott entered Rudy Van Gelder’s hallowed Hackensack, NJ studio in 1958, it was clear that something special was about to take place. For roughly three years, Scott and Davis had been at the forefront of the soul-jazz sound, setting the gold standard for the tenor sax/organ combo. At 36, “Lockjaw” (also known as “Jaws”), was already a veteran of the New York City jazz scene, having spent much of the 1940s playing in the bands of Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk, and Cootie Williams. But the horn player was also a stylistic chameleon, who straddled the line between the classic big band era and the emerging sounds of hard bop.
24-year-old Shirley Scott, meanwhile, was a rising talent from Philadelphia, who stood out as one of the few female musicians in the male-dominated world of jazz. Scott, who would soon become known as the “Queen of the Organ,” formed a creative partnership with Davis in 1955, and made her earliest recordings alongside the horn player. By 1958, they were a well-oiled duo. In his liner notes, Jenkins underscores this magical pairing with a quote from saxophonist James Carter: “Every successful artistic partnership has members that truly work together in simpatico towards a common goal, which in this case is groovin’ and swingin’ their listening audience beyond good health! [Scott] never fails…to provide the perfect underpinning for Lockjaw to either soar above or to dig into to achieve the ultimate goal of a great musical encounter every time. Lockjaw really listens to Shirley and takes his cues particularly on ballads, but she’ll put some gentle, intense fire under him on up tempos and inspire the best out of Lockjaw.” Jenkins adds, “This is classic Black vernacular jazz."
Accompanying Davis and Scott in the studio was multi-reedist Jerome Richardson, who played the flute, baritone sax, and tenor sax. Bassist George Duvivier and drummer Arthur Edgehill rounded out the talented lineup. The sessions, which took place on June 20, September 12, and December 5, 1958, were captured by a 34-year-old Rudy Van Gelder at his Hackensack studio, while Prestige Records’ Bob Weinstock and Esmond Edwards served as producers.
Cookin' With Jaws And The Queen: The Legendary Prestige Cookbook Album is available as a 4CD or 4LP set, which was pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI and is newly remastered from the original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman. Both versions also feature new liner notes by journalist Willard Jenkins.