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Caroline Davis

Mobile since her birth in Singapore, composer and saxophonist Caroline Davis’s music covers a wide range of styles, owed to her shifting environment as a child. As a leader, she has released six albums: Live Work & Play (2012), Doors: Chicago Storylines (2015), Heart Tonic (2018), Alula (2019), Anthems (2019), and Portals (2021). She won Downbeat’s Critic’s Poll Rising Star Alto- Saxophonist (2018) and was listed in both Downbeat’s Readers Poll (2021) and JazzTimes Expanded Critics Poll (2021). Her work has garnered much praise from NPR, The New York Times, The Wire, DownBeat, JazzTimes, and many international publications. Davis is active as both a side-person and a leader in a diverse set of music communities (jazz, improvised music, modern classical, R&B, folk). Davis has worked with Lee Konitz, Angelica Sanchez, The Femme Jam, Matt Mitchell, Terry Riley, Miles Okazaki, Thana Alexa, and Billy Kaye, to name a few. Her collaborations include My Tree (with Ben Hoffmann) and Persona (with Rob Clearfield). Awards and recognitions over the years have included Caroline in various mentorship communities: Sisters in Jazz (2006), Betty Carter Jazz Ahead (2011), and the Mutual Mentorship Initiative (2020). Davis was the recipient of CMA's Performance Plus Grant (2021), NYFA's City Artist Corps Grant (2021), Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship (2019-2020); and she has participated in several residency programs, including fellow-in-residence at The Jazz Gallery (2022) and composer-in-residence at MacDowell (2019). Her compositional practice integrates music with the cognitive sciences, anatomical structures, and the brain, influenced by her Ph.D in Music Cognition. Davis is an advocate for social justice in the realm of gender (developed in a co-taught Jazz & Gender course at The New School) as well as in the abolitionist movement (Justice for Keith Lamar).


Sisters in Jazz (2006) Downbeat Outstanding Soloist (2007) Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program (2011) DownBeat Critic's Poll #1 Rising Star Alto-Saxophonist (2018) MacDowell Fellow (2019) Jerome Foundation Fellow (2019-2020) NYFA Fellow (2021) Jazz Gallery Fellow (2022)


"One of 2012’s best local CDs, Live Work & Play, features six intriguing originals, a lovely arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Blood Count by guitarist Michael Allemana and a romp through Charlie Parker’s Cheryl. Davis is just at home in totally free settings, much like Lee Konitz, who, with her smeary tone and intelligent lines, she somewhat resembles.” - Michael Jackson, Chicago Sun Times, 2012

“All in all, proof that there is superb jazz still emerging from America's Second City.” - Jon Turney, Londonjazz.blogspot.co.uk, 2012

"But if you've heard Davis in the past year, you already know that her own playing provides all the validation she needs." - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 2012

Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced

Lee Konitz
saxophone, alto
Suzanne Ciani


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Where We Started

Tone Rogue Records



New Amsterdam Records



Sunnyside Records


Heart Tonic

Sunnyside Records


Reptile Ground



Doors: Chicago...

ears&eyes Records



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