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  • 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
    Chris Amberger
    23 Jun
    Gerald Beckett
    01 Sep
    Buzz Brooks
    28 Apr
    Jarrett Cherner
    16 Jun
    Kev Choice
    30 Jun
    Anat Cohen
    28 Jul
    Natalie Cressman
    10 Feb
    Hershey Felder
    07 Apr
    Mitchell Feldman
    18 Aug
    Mike Galisatus
    03 Nov
    Aaron Germain
    06 Jan
    Robin Gregory
    17 Feb
    Tamir Hendelman
    13 Oct
    Kasey Knudsen
    17 Mar
    Matthew Montfort
    26 May
    Dan Montgomery
    06 Oct
    Andrea Motis
    21 Jul
    Ray Obiedo
    10 Mar
    Jayn Pettingill
    17 Nov
    John Pizzarelli
    25 Aug
    Sandi Poindexter
    24 Mar
    Don Randi
    20 Oct
    David Rogers
    24 Feb
    Eric Whittington
    29 Sep
    George Winston
    04 Aug
    Lizz Wright
    09 Jun
    Jason Yeager
    02 Jun