Desert Island Jazz
Ronald Davis (2009)

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Ronald Davis may see the jazz world through a photographer's lens, but the shots he takes are informed by a musician's ear.

Like so many of his contemporaries in the Berkeley School system, Ronald was exposed to jazz at an early age (playing first the trombone and later the bass, before basketball claimed him). But unlike contemporaries such as Rodney Franklin and Peter Apfelbaum (members of the 6th-Grade band which was, at the time, the youngest band to be invited to perform at the Reno Jazz festival), he didn't make music his career. Rather, he studied Visual Design at UC Berkeley, and began work in the corporate world as an in-house photographer.

Ronald struck out on his own some years later, running first a commercial photography business and currently a small design firm in Emeryville, for which his clientele runs the gamut of the Silicon Valley's best-known names. In the interim, he attended Cal State Hayward part-time, studying saxophone, until that inevitable need to make a living caused him to put education on hold.

That's only Ronald's day job though. In the evenings you'll find him in the clubs, at the festivals and at other venues photographing the likes of Patrice Rushen, Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi. As Ronald himself puts it, he has the best seat in the house.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Bob James and Kirk Whalum Joined at the Hip The Prayer (Warner Bros)
# 2 Joe Sample The Pecan Tree X Marks the Spot (Marie Laveau) (Verve)
# 3 Miles Davis Kind of Blue Freddie Freeloader (Columbia)
# 4 Gerald Albright Live at Birdland West Limehouse Blues (Atlantic)
# 5 Kenny Garrett Happy People Monk-ing Around (Warner Bros)
# 6 Phyllis Hyman The Legacy of Phyllis Hyman In a Sentimental Mood (Arista)
# 7 Rodney Franklin Love Dancin' She's True (Nova)
# 8 Michael Brecker Time Is of the Essence Arc of the Pendulum (Verve)
# 9 John Coltrane Coltrane's Sound Equinox (Atlantic)
# 10 Charlie Parker 20th Century Masters—The Millennium Collection: The Best of Charlie Parker K.C. Blues (Verve)
Book Paul DeVille, "Universal Method for Saxophone"
Luxury Item A saxophone
Alternate Picks/Not Broadcast
Alt 1 Will Downing Invitation Only When Sunny Gets Blue (Mercury)
Alt 2 Eric Marienthal Got You Covered Two-Part Invention #4 in D Minor (Peak)
Alt 3 Grover Washington jr Next Exit Take Five (Take Another Five) (Columbia)
Castaways by date
Melissa Aldana
11 Mar
Ron E. Beck
29 Apr
Pascal Bokar
07 Oct
Shanna Carlson
18 Mar
Sara Caswell
25 Mar
Carlos D'l Puerto
22 Jul
Kellye Gray
15 Jul
David Hart
04 Nov
Bruce Jenkins
09 Dec
Ellen Johnson
17 Jun
Steffen Kuehn
02 Dec
Paul McCandless
08 Jul
Allison Miller
15 Apr
Melissa Morgan
29 Jul
Linda Oh
05 Aug
Dafnis Prieto
24 Jun
Jim Pugh
30 Sep
Fred Randolph
05 Feb
Harvie S
03 Jun
Jake Shapiro
10 Jun
Marcus Shelby
15 Jan
Bria Skonberg
04 Mar
Mark Soskin
20 May
Leslie Stoval
19 Aug
John Stowell
08 Apr
Toots Thielemans
02 Sep
Roseanna Vitro
26 Feb
Paul VornHagen
14 Oct
Don Was
12 Aug
Danielle Wertz
27 May
Howard Wiley
28 Oct