[JPL] Betty Mabry (Davis)

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Thu Nov 16 15:51:14 EST 2006


On Thursday 16 November 2006 13:27, Jae Sinnett wrote:

> In putting together ideas for my R&B Chronicles show one artist in
> particular I would like feature on one program is Betty Davis. I'm sure
> many of you know she was Miles' second wife and her photo is on the cover
> of the "Kilimanjaro" release. She was also what many believe to be the
> first true funk female singer. Deep in it in fact. Way ahead of her time
> with her open sexuality and grit. There were many musicians that were part
> of her groups before they became famous like the Pointer Sisters and Larry
> Graham.....before Graham Central.
>
>   There is even more intriguing history with her and perhaps she
> unknowingly helped plant the seeds for jazz fusion. She was the one that
> introduced Miles to Hendrix and Sly Stone. In fact her relationship with
> Jimi...or should I say affair.....was the reason her marriage ended with
> Miles. That said Miles and Jimi remained good friends afterward. It was
> this relationship that helped to shape Miles' concept for "Bitches Brew."
> There were plans as many of you know for the two to record together but
> Jimi died before that happened as I understand it. Would anyone know if she
> is still alive and have more info to share on her? Sly even wrote a 
> tribute to Miles....called "Miles and Miles" or something very close to
> that title. Anyone ever heard it? Thanks for any help.....
>
>   Jae Sinnett

Hey Jae,

I remember  hearing at the time that she had problems getting airplay in NY 
and several other cities because she refused to comply with the wishes of a 
very powerful NY radio personality who not only programmed his station but 
also programmed and served as a consultant at several other stations.

Remember that great song of hers, "He was a big freak, I use to beat him with 
a turquoise chain. He used to dig it. He used to really dig it."

I did see her perform once. I remember the band as being super funky.

I seem to remember her as being a contemporary of Graham Central Station. A 
quick check of Allmusic.com shows they released their recordings in the same 
year. I'm pretty sure I saw them both in the Performance Center,  a very nice 
club in Harvard Square that had a very short life span.

Eric Jackson
8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
WGBH Boston
89.7 FM
www.wgbh.org/jazz

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