BAAS Entertainment Podcast

Melvin Lee Davis - Bassist and Keeper of the Low Notes

Melvin Lee Davis - Bassist and Keeper of the Low Notes

Episode 76. Host Troy Saunders has his latest conversation with bass player, producer, TV composer and engineer, “Keeper of the Low Notes,” Melvin Lee Davis. Did you know that Melvin’s playing on the classic “Soul Train” theme from the 1980s? That’s just one amazing fact you’ll learn about the baddest bass player you’ll ever hear.

Davis shares the story of how he started working with Don Cornelius, and basically became the staff bass player for Don Cornelius Productions for several years.

Davis’ philosophy is to avoid writing for specific genres. He plays and writes what he feels at a particular moment. At one time, he hated being called a “funk bassist,” because he feels it limited him to that genre. When making music, it’s important to be able to wear many hats, representing all of the different genres, and be open to all forms of music. This lets a musician be able to step into any session or opportunity and not be mediocre.

Davis is one of the few bass players who plays a seven-string instrument. Davis designed his seven-string bass on his own, and had it custom made by Ken Smith Bass to his specifications. Why does he need seven strings? It gives him more range in his role as a bass player, allowing him to play in higher and lower ranges when the song calls for it.

Davis’ latest project is Output/Input, which he founded with Hamish Stuart from Average White Band, Chaka Khan, and Paul McCartney. They have been releasing singles, and their debut  album, “Forward Motion,” is coming soon.

Los Angeles native Melvin Lee Davis was discovered at the tender age of 16 by Buddy Miles, when a horn player from Buddy Miles' band heard Melvin playing in a local club. Buddy Miles flew Davis to New York to audition for his band and immediately hired him. After playing the New York club circuit, Melvin found himself working with Don Cornelius of “Soul Train”. He has toured and recorded with the Pointer Sisters, Lee Ritenour, Bryan Ferry, David Benoit, Larry Carlton, Patti Austin, Gladys Knight, and many other top acts. Notably, he played on a number of Will Downing’s releases, and has served as musical director for Chaka Khan.

Along with "Soul Train's A Coming," Davis wrote the theme for the TV show "The Party Machine," and has appeared on TV with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Arsenio Hall. Melvin has traveled the world and continues to be in high demand across many genres of music because of his incredible talent and positive demeanor on and off stage.

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