Thomas Maxwell Davis was born in Independence, Kansas in 1916, and like so many other great performers, he joined the musical fold very early indeed. At eight, he was studying the violin intensively in his native Kansas; at sixteen he was playing piano with his High School orchestra; and at eighteen he had formed his own group, setting himself as lead tenor sax and playing school dances throughout the entire state. His reputation for skillful arrangements and zestful compositions was spreading, meaning he was in demand both as an artist and a writer.
Having attained true musical stature, in 1937 Maxwell went to California to join Gene Coy’s band as tenor sax soloist and arranger. For five years he appeared in clubs all over the state stirring the flames for his everexpanding legion of enthusiastic followers.
In 1944 he appeared in a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, sharing the tenor...