Reflections on Oral History with Jo "Cool" Davis
An old, battered Econoline van sits on the curb outside Mr. Davis' home, off-white, with "Jo 'Cool' Davis" painted in rust-orange letters across the back. The paint may be faded, but the sentiment still rang true. In that moment, I believe it struck both Charlotte and I that we were about to meet a legend. Mrs. Davis opened the front door and warmly shook both my and Charlotte's hands, motioned for us to sit and wait for Mr. Davis. A few moments later, he wheeled himself into the living room and greeted both of us with a warm grin. He wore a white t-shirt with the same "Jo "Cool" Davis" design as on the van proudly emblazoned across the front. To complete the ensemble, he sported an intricate metal necklace with yet again the same insignia. He would later inform us that the necklace was a birthday gift from his daughter, and no, unfortunately, he does not have any more of the t-shirts for sale. Bummer.
This man can talk. I mean, really, really talk. He was eager to tell his tale - all of it, any of it, peppered with as much name-dropping and one-liner wisdom as one could expect from someone who had seen as much as he.
Potential follow-up questions:
1. Where did you get the nickname "Cool"? (I can't believe I didn't ask this one. It smacked me across my face as soon as I walked out the door.)
2. Can you share some more memories of different years of Jazzfest? People you've met? Perhaps other musicians?
3. Can you describe anything special or different about Jazzfest the year after Katrina?