Pianist, and composer Jon Davis has been performing and touring with many of the
finest jazz musicians around the world for more than 25 years. He has appeared on
over 45 recordings, and has contributed compositions on many of them. Although
perhaps still most widely known for his association with the legendary bassist, Jaco
Pastorious, Jon has shown a rare versatility ranging from solo, to Big Band, and
everything in between.
Jon was born in N.Y., and started playing piano and guitar in his early teens. After a very brief stint with Lennie Tristano, Jon went to Boston to go to the New England Conservatory. Studies with Jaki Byard, Madam Chaloff and Ran Blake would help get him started, but he felt on the job training was more his calling, so after a year, he left NEC, and started gigging steadily around Boston.
Jon relocated to San Francisco in the early 80's. It was there that he would really come into his own, working regularly with the John Handy Quartet, Eddie Henderson, Johnny Coles, Buddy Montgomery, as well as jazz legends such as Joe Henderson, Milt Jackson, and Stan Getz. He was also playing in bands with future jazz greats Larry Grenadier, and Jeff Ballard, and had become a major force on the feelance scene in the Bay Area. It was there that he teamed up with drummer Brian Melvin and formed an association with Jaco that would last several years, tour Europe in the mid 80's, and produce five records.
The more fusion side of the music was released as Brian Melvins Nightfood, also featuring Bob Weir (of The Grateful Dead), as well as a composition by Jon, Did you hear that Monie, but it was the acoustic trio date also released under Brians name, Standards Zone, that has earned Jon international recognition and critical acclaim, both as a player and as composer of the tune Wedding Waltz, originally released on this record. It is the only piano trio record Jaco recorded in, and has truly become a classic jazz recording. Musician magazine said of Standards Zone..It's got the distinct air of genius.
After doing about everything I could out there, Jon felt it was time to move back to N.Y. Since returning in the early 90's, Jon has worked constantly in every imaginable setting. He was house pianist for the jam sessions at The Blue Note, lead a session in the early days of Smalls, as well as a five year steady engagement at Sweet Basil with tenor saxist Ilhan Ersahin, (founder of the NuBlu club, and scene). At this time Jon was touring Turkey frequently as part of Ilhan's quartet which led to a couple of recordings featuring Eddie Henderson, Larry Grenadier, and Brian Blade among others. He was also playing in a band led by Austrian guitarist Christian Havel, which included the late great bassist Dennis Irwin. There was frequent touring around Europe, and several recordings as well. Jon then changed settings and became the house pianist at the Four Seasons Hotel, while maintaining a busy teaching schedule at The New School (much of his teaching is done playing electric bass).
Recent projects have continued to be exciting, and varied. Jon toured South Korea and India with Beatle Jazz, played the Hague festival with the Joris Teepe Big Band, and recently returned from a solo jazz piano festival in Lucerne Switzerland.
He has been playing weekly with Bill Mobley's Big Band for the last couple of years at the Smoke Jazz club, performed with Phil woods, Frank Wess, George Garzone, Victor Lewis, played on Jon Burr's recording featuring Bob Mintzer, Joel Frahm, and Anat Cohen, and was musical director and arranger for vocalist Marcus Goldhabers recent release Take me anywhere. Currently, Jon is leading the Jon Davis Duo and trio at many of N.Y's finest jazz venues such as The Kitano Lounge, The Knickerbocker Bar and Grill, Smalls, Fat cat, and is looking foward to a number of new releases as a leader and in collaborations.
A more extensive list of the musicians that Jon has recorded and performed with includes: Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Tootie Heath, Eddie Harris, Mike Stern, Marc Gross, Bob Berg, Milt Jackson, Bob Weir, Nora Jones, Victor Bailey, John Handy, Eddie Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Rosanna Vitro, Will Lee, Dave Binney, Don Byron, Toots Thielemens, Brian Blade, Larry Grenadier, Sonny Fortune, Ron McClure, Dennis Irwin, Claudio Roditi, Antonio Hart, Kenny Garrett, Adam Nussbaum, Dave Schnitter, Kenny Wolleson, Jeff Ballard, Donny McCaslin, Javon Jackson, Scott Colley, Oz Noy, Greg Hutchinson, Gianluca Renzi, Jaimoe, Gene Jackson, Don Braden, and many more.