The first five minutes of Ten Exorcists," the opening track of Massive Threads by pianist Kris Davis, consists of minimalist repetitive percussive playing of her prepared piano. The Steve Reich-like repetition mimics percussive tape-loops that cease, but the momentum endures and lays the foundation for her solo. This solo outing benefits from Davis' classically trained ear, the follow-up to her first solo attempt Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011). Her background has earned her praise, writing for jazz ensembles led by Ingrid Laubrock and Tony Malaby, and for her piano trio and a collaborative unit Paradoxical Frog.read more
Relocating from her native Canada to New York City, pianist Kris Davis has infused her imposing talents into New York City's unconventional, downtown-like scene. She once again aligns her compositional and improvisation expertise with like-minded artists, who frequently transition the jazz idiom into a boundless vista. Hence, the album projects a topsy-turvy and rather oscillating aura, featuring the musicians' use of counterpoint, space, and emphatic exchanges. They mix it up, while also stretching themes to the hilt amid several introspective interludes that intimate a time warp of sorts. Big Band Ball" commences as a spooky foray, perhaps hinting ...read more
It's just a coincidence that pianist Kris Davis has had three stunning trio recordings released in 2010. There are the two on Clean Feed Records--Paradoxial Frog, a brilliant joint collaboration with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock; and Three by the SKM trio, with Davis joined by saxophonist Stephen Gauci and bassist Michael Bisio. But it's no coincidence that Davis' percussive style and edgy invention is also present in Good Citizens, another clear visage of her abilities as a leader and collaborator. Good Citizen is anything but the law-abiding personage of the typical jazz trio release. ...read more
There's so much music bursting out of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, and her cultural reference points are so diverse, that you never quite know, as you take a disc out of the sleeve for the first time, what she's going to be up to--aside from going further. The intriguing Paradoxical Frog contains more surprises. Among the first fruits of Laubrock's more or less full-time relocation from London to Brooklyn, the album is a trio set made with pianist Kris Davis and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, on which the composing opportunities are shared out between the three players. Despite ...read more
Kris Davis Rye Eclipse Fresh Sound New Talent 2008 Jon Irabagon Jon Irabagon's Outright! Innova Recordings 2008
Canadian born, Brooklyn-based pianist Kris Davis made inroads into the public consciousness with a pair of albums on Fresh Sound-New Talent with her quartet of saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Eivind Opsvik and drummer Jeff Davis. The four have been exploring her compositions for three albums now (the first release was actually by a quintet ...read more
On Rye Eclipse, pianist Kris Davis' quartet ventures deeper into the formidable abstractions documented on their previous release, The Slightest Shift (Fresh Sound, 2007). Featuring her husband, drummer Jeff Davis, omnipresent bassist Eivind Opsvik and Downtown saxophone phenomenon Tony Malaby, this is the Brooklyn-based pianist's second recording with her reliable quartet and the third for the esteemed indie label Fresh Sound New Talent.
Conservatory trained in her native Canada, the current New York City resident has quickly established herself as a gifted writer and improviser. Davis demonstrates a flair for composing works that seamlessly integrate the turbulent angularity ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11
While the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, sponsored by the The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), has always taken pride in the breadth of its programming without deviating from a near-exclusive focus on the jazz spectrum, it faces the same annual harsh reality of other festivals devoted to the genre. Supporting a multifaceted program of lesser-known and up-and-coming artists can make it necessary to bring in acts that are, at ...read more
The adjective that comes to mind again and again when listening to this quartet recording by pianist and composer Kris Davis is refreshing. Much of The Slightest Shift sounds close to free improvisation, but there is also a recurring sense that one is listening to a modern chamber music ensemble. And the initial impression of at times decentralized free play belies a group working in close coordination within definite compositional frameworks. Along with Davis, Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone), Eivind Opsvik (bass) and the bandleader's husband, Jeff Davis (drums), make up the quartet. The Slightest Shift is also ...read more
The Slightest Shift is young Canadian-born pianist Kris Davis' second release as a leader, following her acclaimed 2004 debut, Lifespan. Joined by her husband, drummer Jeff Davis, the ever reliable bassist Eivind Opsvik and the ubiquitous saxophonist Tony Malaby, this recent New York resident reconvenes her sympathetic working ensemble to investigate a new set of abstract post-bop compositions.
Davis' contrapuntal, open-ended writing avoids routine devices like conventional chord changes and head-solo-head arrangements with a neo-classical sensibility. Favoring gnarly, interlocking linear structures, Davis subdivides her compositions into cells, allowing individual players to alternate roles as accompanist and soloist at ...read more
If Canadian pianist Kris Davis' auspicious debut, Life Span (FSNT, 2004), was an indication of her progressive tendencies, then The Slightest Shift reinforces those forward-thinking ideas in resounding and surprising ways. Whereas her debut was colored with expansive lyricism and melodic tapestries, the new recording is a bolder statement of Davis' compositional prowess, and the music now involves more abstract, condensed and freer modes. With the help of some seriously open-minded musicians--including drummer Jeff Davis, bassist Eivind Opsvik and the prolific sax stylist Tony Malaby--the compositions accentuate a group presence, rather than amounting to singular performances. Each ...read more
Canadian-born, New York-based pianist Kris Davis takes the delicate left-leaning balance of form and freedom of her debut, Lifespan (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2004), and moves even farther away from the center on The Slightest Shift.
While Lifespan featured ensembles ranging from trio to sextet, the new record showcases Davis' working group of saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Eivind Opsvik and drummer Jeff Davis--all part of the first group's lineup--and consequently demonstrating the kind of collective interaction that comes from working together on an ongoing basis. The Slightest Shift is a freer record than Lifespan, reflecting a comfort zone amongst the ...read more
Focusing on composition as much as performance, this intriguing programme of originals balances form and structure with free-flowing improvisation. Lifespan is an album that sneaks up gradually; there is much to recommend in this set which is long on lyricism, short on unnecessary displays of technique. The members of this group can play and they know it; consequently the emphasis is on taking the compositional frameworks that newcomer Kris Davis provides and expanding on them in ways that shows everyone's abilities while being, at the same time, somehow selfless.
A Canadian who moved to New York in 2001, ...read more
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