Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 1:24pm

The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting noon, July 20, at the corner of Darbo Drive and Richard Davis Lane, on Madison’s east side. A new street will officially be named Richard Davis Lane to honor the world-class musician.

Richard Davis was a Professor of Bass (European Classical and Jazz), Jazz History and a combo improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davis retired in 2016. Davis was born April 15, 1930 in Chicago. He studied bass at DuSable High School under the legendary Captain Walter Dyett, then at VanderCook College of Music. After college, he moved to New York City. Davis spent 23 years in New York City, and he established himself as one of the world’s premier bass players. In 1977, Davis became a professor at the University of Wisconsin, where his innovative methods in teaching bass, Black music history and jazz performance produced hundreds of noteworthy students.

Downbeat International Critics Poll named him Best Bassist from 1967-1974. He has recorded a dozen albums as a leader and 3,000 recordings/jingles as a sideman. Some of his performance/recording credits include Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Don Sebesky, Oliver Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Dexter Gordon, Ahmad Jamal and a host of other notables.

Throughout his professional life, Davis worked to combat racism and founded the Madison, Wis. Institutes for the Healing of Racism in 2000. While a professor, Davis was a champion for student diversity, and an advocate for minority students.

The Worthington Park Neighborhood Association (WPNA) named the street “Richard Davis Lane” in honor of Davis’ contributions to the city, country and world.

The Madison Common Council approved the name. The naming process was a partnership between the Worthington Park Neighborhood Association, City of Madison Engineering Division and the Darbo-Worthington Neighborhood Resource Team (NRT).
The July 20 event will go as follows:

  • 12 p.m.: Brief remarks from a student of Davis’, Mayor Rhodes-Conway and additional remarks will be intertwined with musical performances by several of Davis’ students.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Ribbon-cutting

If media plans to attend, please RSVP to Hannah Mohelnitzky.

Because Richard Davis Lane is a new street, if attending, see map for ribbon-cutting location, which will be closest to Clyde Gallagher Ave and Darbo Drive, near the Salvation Army of Dane County.



  • Media inquiries: Hannah Mohelnitzky, City of Madison Engineering Division Public Information Officer, Cell: 608-669-3560, Desk: 608-242-6003,