When Snake Davis arrives at the hall he settles at the back dressed in cool black. He radiates a Zen-like stillness. After a few minutes he walks to the stage where a number of young boys are listening to the sound check. When they see him they fall silent. He courteously shakes hands with each one in turn, takes out a soprano sax, listens for a moment and begins to play. It is a startling transformation. A quietly confident man disappears and a being of blood and metal takes his place. I'm sitting with my friend and we look at each other, eyes wide.
Snake Davis has played with some of the biggest names in contemporary music. He's had a long collaboration with Heather Small of M-People, toured the world with Lisa Stansfield, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart and played with James Brown, Paul McCartney, George Michael and Tina Turner to name but a few. He wrote the iconic sax solo on Take That's hit record A Million Love Songs. So that means he's really rich, right? Actually, he was paid as a session musician and famously earned the equivalent of £18 for his contribution to the single, which is regularly voted one of the most romantic love songs of all time!
Karen Ritson for Valley News
Photo by Ben Hodges