The BK Davis Trio is More Than Just a Trio

BK DavisAlthough musicians don’t have to be friends to play together, friendship is a key ingredient in the BK Davis trio.

The group, which plays weekends at The Money Tree in Toluca Lake, is made up of BK Davis on the piano, Doug Macbeth on bass and Frankie Avalon Jr., who plays drums.

Although each member has a different background, the trio meshes together when they perform jazz, pop and standard songs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at The Money Tree.

Not only do the regulars enjoy their music, but musicians like Bobbly Lyle, who is Anita Baker’s conductor, and Michael “Patches” Stewart, who plays trumpet for Al Jarreau, have jammed with the trio.

About four years ago, BK Davis decided to form a group to showcase for record companies in hopes of getting a contract for a pop vocal album.

“As we were rehearsing some of the songs I had written, during one of the breaks I sat down–and at that time nobody knew that I played the piano–I started playing one of my favorite jazz songs by Charlie Parker and everybody was astonished,” recalled BK Davis.

So the musicians decided to play jazz instead of pop, and bet at BK Davis’s Glendale home every Wednesday to practice and form a tight band in more ways than one.

“We’ve been together ever sings,” BK Davis said. “Not only is it a good band, but we’re all very close friends. That’s what really makes us kind of special.”

BK Davis has a varied background in music, including performances with Johnny Taylor, Bobbly Lyle, Little Richard, and others.

A native of Chicago, BK Davis was exposed to music at an early age since music runs in his family. His father plays piano, and his brother, who is a lawyer, plays the harmonica.

Macbeth, a North Hollywood native, also has a diverse background in music. At 15, the young guitarist had already played guitar with big band jazz as well as heavy metal with drummer Mike Lesniak. He switched to bass when he was 16 and has played ever since.

BK Davis describes him as “down to earth” and “his character is as his body looks–tall and striking.”

The bassist enjoys playing live and the freedom of the trio format.

Frankie Avalon, Jr. is no stranger to Toluca Lake, where he grew up as a child and his grandmother, aunt and cousins still live in the area.

He recently appeared in the movie “Back to the Beach,” with his father, singer Frankie Avalon, as the drummer for Pee Wee Herman’s band.

Avalon is also an actor, with roles in television shows and films like “The Karate Kid” to his credit. However, he prefers to play the drums and enjoys the spontaneity of a jazz trio.

Performing at The Money Tree is ideal for the group.

“The atmosphere is so warm, so conductive to family type of setting,” BK Davis said.

They try to build a rapport with the audience and like to talk with them on an individual basis during breaks.

A banner for the trio includes a large green club. BK Davis explained that he was searching for a symbol to fit the group and the club shows that “we’re not just three musicians, but three friends.”


Article originally written by Gary Yim in 1987.