ianist, 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 50 recordings, and has contributed compositions on many of them. Although perhaps still most widely known for his association with the legendary bassist, Jaco Pastorius, 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 freelance 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 saxophonist 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).