EB Davis and the Super Band performed at A-Trane last night, and I attended the early show. Although I prefer modern jazz, a good blues band is always fun, and Berlin audiences clearly love this group! Before the performance, I didn’t know much about them except that some members were from the US. I’ve been traveling for several months now, and honestly it was nice to hear an American accent.
They’re a friendly, fun group of musicians who connect well with their audience. Davis “captivates with his expressive voice”. Members of the band have performed together for over 20 years. They play Davis compositions and those from the “world heritage of blues”. Last night, I loved their performance of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind”!
Six musicians – three Americans from Arkansas, Florida, and Texas, two Berliners, and a Mozambican – performed with the band. They’re excited about their new CD – “EB Davis and The Superband: Live at the A-Trane”:
- EB Davis – Vocals, Saxophone, Bluesharp, Harmonica, Composition
- Nina T. Davis – Piano, Organ, Vocals
- Willie Pollock – Alto Saxophone, Vocals
- Jay Bailey – Guitar, Vocals
- Tom Blacksmith – Guitar, Vocals
- Carlos Dalelane – Drums, Percussion
A member of the Blues Hall of Fame, Davis is “one of Arkansas’ great soul-blues singers and the official Blues Ambassador of Arkansas”. During the past 40 years, Davis has “toured 60 countries, performed over 7,000 concerts, and cataloged 29+ recordings”! He lives in Berlin with his wife Nina, a vocalist and the band’s pianist.
Davis’ Double Life During the Cold War
A short film “How Berlin got the Blues (2015)” documents a fascinating story. During the Cold War, Davis was in the US military stationed in West Berlin. For ten years he led a “secret life as part of a clandestine unit” and was a blues singer at night!
Thanks to his work in a top-secret US military unit, he was able to perform in East Germany and even in front of Soviet soldiers – this is still unique today.
Nina T. Davis
Nominated for the German Blues Award multiple times, Berliner Nina T. Davis is well-known in the Blues community.
“Like many musicians of her generation, old records of the Blues masters served as a source of inspiration.” Nina traveled to Chicago, Mississippi, and Arkansas and played with well-known blues artists.
Her musical career began in the mid-90s as a pianist and organist with the “Tom Blacksmith Band”. Later, she formed a band – The Alleycats – with American singer Kat Baloun. Since 2001, Nina works with her husband – EB Davis – as pianist and singer with the EB Davis Superband.
Davis is credited with “spreading the Blues to the people of West and East Berlin and bridging the gap between the Cold War and a love of Blues”.
Born and raised in Berlin Tom is a trained blacksmith who swapped his hammer and anvil for a guitar and blues harp. He studied the blues in New Orleans, Chicago, and Memphis and plays a mix of blues, funk, soul, and rock’n’roll. He created the “Tom Blacksmith Band“.
During the mellow evening, I chatted with people at my table, including Berlin transplants from Italy and other European countries. The performance was sold out and seating tight. The band’s Stage Manager squeezed in at our table near the band. I spoke briefly with Willie Pollock – a fantastic sax player and vocalist – thanking him for the great blues!