By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 20, 2003 at 5:26 AM

"The family that plays together stays together," says Greg Davis, who plays drums, sax, trombone and guitar in the band he, his wife and their three sons formed in 1983 called the Davis Family Band. "The same spirit and structure that unites us as a family, also works for us in business."

The band -- a danceable mix of contemporary jazz and R&B -- gig 44 weeks out of the year at venues throughout the country, including an annual show at Milwaukee's Summerfest. They also play at festivals, weddings, parties, resorts, clubs and have opened for Chaka Khan, The Commodores, Morris Day and The Time and Cameo.

Members include Greg's wife, Ollie, on piano. The couple's three sons, now between the ages of 28 and 31, have played in the band since they were children. The couple's oldest, Andre, plays bass. Middle-child Aaron plays keyboards and trumpet and their "baby," Artemas, is a drummer and saxophonist. All contribute vocals.

"We have moved and motivated a lot of people in a positive way," says Davis, who is also an instructional media specialist at MATC's West Campus. "People not only like to come out and dance, but some come to just watch and feel good about family and relationships."

On stage and off, the Davis family is extremely close. Davis says that over the years practices have become less important because they are so in sync with one another they are able to learn new songs during performances.

Although the band plays primarily jazz, soul and R&B from the '60s to the present, they enjoy taking requests from audience members as a personal challenge. "There's always that one in the crowd that yells out, all night, songs that they think you can't do," laughs Greg. "So on occasion, we'll even play a polka."

The band will release a CD called "SoulOasis" (featuring Eddie Butts) at their Riversplash show on May 31, and are playing numerous shows at MATC in celebration of Black History Month. Although the band has earned national recognition and feel very fulfilled by their music, Davis says it isn't easy being an African-American band in Milwaukee.


"With all the music that goes on in this city year round how many all-black groups do you see?" he asks. "There are new, non-African-American groups formed every year that get jobs their first year that we never get. We get most a lot of our work (locally) because people are amazed to see a family working together. The one venue that has continued to invite us back year after year since 1993 is Summerfest and we truly thank them for that."

Check out the Davis Family Band Thurs, Feb. 20 at the MATC North Campus, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wed., Feb. 26 at the MATC Milwaukee Campus from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Look for the band this summer at Summerfest, Riversplash and the Garfield Blues Festival. If you are interested in booking the Davis Family Band for a private party or wedding, call (414) 372-3386.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.