I am a researcher, pianist, and harmonica player specialising in the history of the blues. My research focuses on the international circulation of African American music and the changing political, economic, and moral values of musical production and consumption during the twentieth century.

I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University, working on a project entitled Global Blues: Performance, Politics, and Meaning 1980-2016.

I completed my PhD – entitled British Encounters with Blues and Jazz in Transatlantic Circulation, c.1929-1960 – in April 2018. In the 2018-19 academic year, I was a postdoctoral researcher in jazz and popular music studies at the Institute for Jazz Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz.



PhD Musicology – King’s College London, 2014-18

MMus Musicology – King’s College London, 2011-14

BMus (Hons) Music – King’s College London, 2008-11

Other Publications

‘England 1945-65’, in The Oxford History of Jazz in Europe, vol. 3, ed. by Walter van de Leur (under review)

‘Ambassador of the Blues: Performing Diaspora with Memphis Slim in Europe’, jazzforschung, 50-51 (under review).

‘“God has given me the gift for writing the blues”: James Oden and the Value of Blues Songwriting’, Songwriting Studies Journal, 1 (forthcoming).

‘“Those Songs Are Gonna Be Sung All Over This World!”: Josh White, Big Bill Broonzy, and the Tangled Routes of Folk Blues in Early Postwar Britain’, The Global South, 14.1 (Spring 2020), pp. 68-93. DOI: 10.2979/globalsouth.14.1.04

‘Rhythm Clubs, Record Series, and the Everyday Conoisseurship of “Hot Rhythm” Records in Interwar Britain’, Jazz Research Journal, 13.1-2 (2019). DOI: 10.1558/jazz.37806

‘British Blues’, Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Vol. 11, Genres: Europe, ed. by Paolo Prato and David Horn (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), pp. 84-88

The First British “Blues Boom” and the reception of African American music and dance in 1920s Britain’, invited blog post for Sound and Vision, British Library, 26 May 2017.


The History of European Jazz: The Music, Musicians, and Audience in Context, ed. by Francesco Martinelli, SAMPLES – Online-Publikationen der Gesellschaft für Popularmusikforschung, 17 (2019).

Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance, ed. by Jason Toynbee, Catherine Tackley, and Mark Doffman, Journal of World Popular Music, 3.1 (June 2016), pp. 129-135

In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Roots of American Music, by Ben Wynne, Notes, 72.3 (March 2016), pp. 517-519

Roots of the Revival: American & British Folk Music in the 1950s, by Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Donaldson, Notes, 72.2 (December 2015), pp. 376-378

When Music Migrates: Crossing British and European Racial Faultlines, 1945-2010, by John Stratton, the world of music (new series), 4.2 (December 2015), pp. 143-145

Staging The Blues: From Tent Shows to Tourism, by Paige A. McGinley, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 35.3 (August 2015), pp. 262-264

Blog Posts

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    ‘Sonic Imperfection, Field Recording, and the Global Blues’, paper to be presented at Imperfection as an Aesthetic Idea in Music: Perspectives from Musicology and Artistic Research, University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, 6-7 May 2020.

    ‘The Iconographies, Encounters, and Misogynist Histories of the American Folk Blues Festival in Europe, 1962-69’, paper presented at Documenting Jazz, Birmingham City University, 16-18 January 2020

    ‘“Very Much Parker Territory, Islington”: Mapping (Trans)Local Mobilities in Postwar British Jazz’, paper presented at Mapping Music: Travel and Tourism, University of Liverpool, 4 September 2019

    ‘Ambassador of the Blues: Memphis Slim and Global Blues Culture’, paper presented at Rhythm Changes VI: Jazz Journeys, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, 13 April 2019

    ‘Blues Encounters and Exchange Between London and Chicago, 1958-1960’, paper presented at Music Colloquia Series, King’s College London, 13 February 2019

    ‘The Meanings of Place in Alan Lomax’s 1947 Blues Interviews’, paper presented at Recording in Place, Newcastle University, 16 November 2018

    ‘“God Has Given Me the Gift for Writing Blues”: Authorship, Value, and Identity in the Life and Work of Blues Songwriter James Oden (1903-1977)’, invited paper presented at Valuing Music: Anthropology of Music Master Class, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, 27-30 June 2018

    ‘Revivalist Ideologies in British Traditional Jazz, c. 1940-55’, paper presented at British Music and Ideology Symposium, Royal Holloway, University of London, 15-16 May 2018

    ‘Journey to the Land of the Blues: Encounters and Exchange in British and European Visits to Chicago, 1957-60’, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Vancouver, 3-6 November 2016

    ‘“The Ballad Broadcaster”: Alan Lomax and the Construction of African American Music as Transnational Culture on BBC Radio, 1951-53’, paper presented at Radio and Ethnomusicology: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, University of Edinburgh, 22 October 2016

    ‘Peckham Pandemonium? George Webb’s “Dixieland Band” and Britain’s Traditional Jazz Revival, c.1943-48’, paper presented at New Directions in Jazz Studies, Institute of Advanced Studies, London, 5 June 2015

    Lawrence Davies

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    Active 2 years ago