Morris Davis

Morris or 'Rusty' (Cecil) Davis. Composer, arranger, conductor, b Ottawa 1 Mar 1904, d Montreal 13 Nov 1968; BA (McGill) 1930. He studied piano in Montreal with Nicholas Eichorn, A.E.J. MacCreary, and Alfred La Liberté, but was self-taught in composition and orchestration.

Davis, Morris

Morris or 'Rusty' (Cecil) Davis. Composer, arranger, conductor, b Ottawa 1 Mar 1904, d Montreal 13 Nov 1968; BA (McGill) 1930. He studied piano in Montreal with Nicholas Eichorn, A.E.J. MacCreary, and Alfred La Liberté, but was self-taught in composition and orchestration. While taking courses in law at McGill University, he wrote the university's annual Red and White Revue of 1926 and 1927. Also in 1927 he collaborated with Robert Emmett Dolan on The Little Revue that Starts at 10 Past Nine, which was staged at the Orpheum Theatre. Davis' radio career as a pianist and conductor began in 1929; while a producer 1937-47 with CBC Montreal he arranged music for such conductors as Lucio Agostini, Jean Deslauriers, and Allan McIver.

In 1948 Davis established his own production house in Montreal, working as a freelance composer, arranger, and conductor (one of the first active extensively in the jingle field), serving as the agent for several commercial orchestras, and assisting in the development of young performers' careers. He was also music director for various stage productions in Montreal and elsewhere.

His compositions include scores for over 30 films (including the features Whispering City, La Forteresse, Tambour battant, and Le Curé de village), several orchestral works, songs, revues, about 200 jingles, and incidental music for some 100 radio and TV programs. His Blues and Finales in G (1942) is a jazz concerto in the manner of Rhapsody in Blue, and his Serenade for Trumpet in Jazz (written before 1948) was played by Maynard Ferguson. In 1962 a studio orchestra under Davis' direction made an LP for CTL (M1005) with the accordionist Gordie Fleming as soloist.