CLEVELAND - Kenny Davis has been described as one of the "bedrocks of Cleveland Jazz."
Davis has played with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Temptations and more.
4 days before Christmas last year, Davis was taking his sick friend some dinner in East Cleveland when 2 carjackers attacked him from behind.
They beat him up, stole his brand new car and more importantly, his horns inside.
He had a “busted lip” then, but predicted, “I'll be back in a minute."
Well, Kenny Davis is back!
Not long after the attack, East Cleveland police recovered Davis' car with his banged up horns inside.
But former students and friends were already fundraising.
"And they raised enough cash to get me another new horn," says Davis.
Now he’s playing all around town 4 nights a week.
"That's what I do," Davis smiles.
On Wednesday, he was at Bin 216 on Playhouse Square.
Blowing magic into his newest instrument of a collection that, since Davis was 11-years-old, has been every bit of his musical fiber as the blood that runs through his veins.
He has his 76th birthday coming up July 30th, and is grateful every day.
But it was bad deja vu hearing of an 81-year-old man beat up and shot in Euclid on Monday by a would-be car jacker.
Cops have the suspect in custody.
The 81-year-old target survived and was in stable condition Wednesday.
"Man, it could have been much worse, once again," Davis reflects on his attackers who also had a gun.
But he stops short of saying he’s mad that it has happened to someone else.
“You can't get mad because it's not going to do you any good," says Davis, adding he hopes the attackers “Find some direction."
This, from a mentor and teacher to way too many kids to count.
He spent 27 years teaching at Tri-C, Cleveland State University and Oberlin College.
He continues to inspire today.
When asked if he’s ever going to retire, Davis smiles and says, “I hope not. I'll fall over on the stage probably! As long as I can keep putting some air through this horn, I'll be alright."
Kenny Davis will be playing at Nighttown on Cedar Rd. in Cleveland Heights on Friday at 8 p.m.
A chance to toast to Kenny Davis’ resilience, and how this time, good trumps bad and #TheGoodStuff wins.
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