[JPL] Betty Mabry Davis

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 16 14:48:49 EST 2006

Here's an informative note in reference to this topic I received off JPL from my friend....drumming historian, educator, writer and drummer extraordinaire. Also, thanks to the others for the off JPL comments as well. 
 The story even goes a little deeper than that. Drummer Gregg Errico 
(the first and funkiest Sly drummer), appeared on Betty's first and yes 
amazing record. Miles heard Gregg there (Gregg remembers him being at 
the sessions, and really digging it), and also at The Isle Of Wight 
festival (?), and really dug Gregg (and the whole Sly vibe). As did 
Zawinul and Wayne, and this is how and why Gregg was tapped to replace 
Gravatt in Weather Report. This is a fact that has always embarrased 
Gregg, as he had heard Eric in the Bay area, and was amazed by him. I 
have several live boots of WR with Gregg, and it's amazing how the band 
changed from Eric to Gregg. The Sly influence on Miles (and Sly's 
popularity) is what changed Miles. Not too much has been done or said 
about this, unfortunately.
 Gregg joining WR also marked a decided change in WR, and it is when 
they became a "funkier band", and when they began to attract more 
attention (Zawinul has commented on this in print several time, and in 
his book). For a while after that (until Acuna, and then Erskine), WR 
was always looking for funk drummers  who had a little bit of jazz in 
them (Daryl Brown, Ndugu,  Narada etc).
 Gregg was hired alot back then by many artists from Lee Oskar to 
Hubert Laws to David Bowie and W.R. , to provide a "Sly vibe", he never 
really understood it, but he went with it. I interviewed Gregg a while 
back (the first time he had ever been approached by a drum mag for an 
interview, what a crime) for Stick It magazine, he had a lot to say, 
nice guy.
 I also remember hearing Larry Graham saying that it was Doug Rauch, 
that was the first cat he had heard "slapping" a little bit. He picked 
up on the concept, and ran with it!!! Doug died, and is on very few 
recordings, but he is the bassist on the first Betty Davis recording.
 That first Betty Davis is a VERY important recording for MANY reasons, 
as an aside do you have Betty's "They Say I'm Different", I've never 
heard it, what's it like, and who's on it?
 Mark Griffith

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