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Kris Davis

Pianist-composer Kris Davis has blossomed as one of the singular talents on the New York jazz scene, a deeply thoughtful, resolutely individual artist who offers “uncommon creative adventure,” according to JazzTimes. The Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-residing Davis was dubbed one of the music’s top up-and-comers in a 2012 New York Times article titled “New Pilots at the Keyboard,” with the newspaper saying: “Over the past couple years in New York, one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis.” Reviewing one of the series of striking albums Davis has released over the past half-decade, the Chicago Sun-Times lauded the “sense of kaleidoscopic possibilities” in her playing and compositions.

Long favored by her peers and jazz fans in the know, Davis has earned high praise from no less than star pianist and MacArthur “Genius” Grant honoree Jason Moran, who included her in his Best of 2012 piece in Art Forum, writing: “A freethinking, gifted pianist on the scene, Davis lives in each note that she plays. Her range is impeccable; she tackles prepared piano, minimalism and jazz standards, all under one umbrella. I consider her an honorary descendant of Cecil Taylor and a welcome addition to the fold.”

The newest album from Davis as a leader is Capricorn Climber (Clean Feed, 2013), with the pianist joined by kindred spirits Ingrid Laubrock (tenor saxophone), Mat Maneri (viola), Trevor Dunn (double-bass) and Tom Rainey (drums). Davis made her debut on record as a leader with Lifespan (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2003), followed by three progressively inventive and acclaimed albums for the Fresh Sound label: the quartet discs The Slightest Shift (2006) and Rye Eclipse (2008), then the trio set Good Citizen (2010). Davis’s 2011 solo piano album on Clean Feed, Aeriol Piano, appeared on Best of the Year lists in The New York Times, JazzTimes and Art Forum. Davis wrote the extraordinary arrangements for saxophonist-composer Tony Malaby’s nonet project Novela, with the album Novela released by Clean Feed in 2011 and appearing on Best of the Year lists in DownBeat and JazzTimes. The pianist is also part of the collaborative Paradoxical Frog with Laubrock and drummer Tyshawn Sorey; their eponymous 2011 album on Clean Feed was included on Best of the Year lists by National Public Radio, The New York Times and All About Jazz.

In addition to her work as a leader, Davis has performed with such top figures as Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, John Hollenbeck, Michael Formanek and Mary Halvorson. Davis started playing piano at age 6, studying classical music through the Royal Conservatory in Canada and formulating her desire for a life in music by playing in the school jazz band at age 12. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano from the University of Toronto and attended the Banff Centre for the Arts jazz program in 1997 and 2000. The pianist received a Canada Council grant to relocate to New York and study composition with Jim McNeely, then another to study extended piano techniques with Benoit Delbecq in Paris. She holds a master’s in Classical Composition from the City College of New York, and she teaches at the School for Improvised Music.

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Radio & Podcasts

Kris Davis: Defining Jazz's Vanguard

Read "Kris Davis: Defining Jazz's Vanguard" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer


Today, the Spotlight shines On Grammy-winning pianist and composer Kris Davis. Kris joined us in the wake of the September 2023 release of her album Live at the Village Vanguard (Pyroclastic Records). Live at the Village Vanguard is the second release from her band Diatom Ribbons, an adventurous quintet featuring drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, turntablist and electronic musician Val Jeanty, bassist Trevor Dunn--and new addition, the guitarist Julian Lage. In addition to talking about ...

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Radio & Podcasts

I Wished On The Moon - A Birthday Shoutout To Dorothy Parker Plus New Releases From Kris Davis, Don Braden, Miguel Zenon & Luis Perdomo

Read "I Wished On The Moon - A Birthday Shoutout To Dorothy Parker Plus New Releases From Kris Davis, Don Braden, Miguel Zenon & Luis Perdomo" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


This broadcast includes new releases from Miguel Zenon & Luis Perdomo, Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons, Don Braden and Linda Purl, with birthday shoutouts to Dorothy Parker (I Wished On the Moon, How Am I To Know), Alice Coltrane, Vicki Burns, Nanny Assis, Mimi Fox, Nicky Schrire, Linda May Han Oh, among others. Thanks for listening and please support the artists you hear by seeing them live and online. Purchase their music so they can continue to distract, comfort, provoke and ...

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Album Review

Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons Live At The Village Vanguard

Read "Diatom Ribbons Live At The Village Vanguard" reviewed by Mark Corroto


The term “proof of concept" might be the appropriate subtitle to Kris Davis' Diatom Ribbons' Live At The Village Vanguard. Her concept, first heard on the eponymous release Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic, 2019), is demonstrated on two discs taken from 12 sets over six nights at the famed Greenwich Village nightclub. The pianist does indeed verify that her concepts have practical application. She initially formed a core group, a quartet with bassist Trevor Dunn, turntablist and electronics composer Val Jeanty (aka ...

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Album Review

Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons Live At The Village Vanguard

Read "Diatom Ribbons Live At The Village Vanguard" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Rogue pianist and noted polymath Kris Davis exercises the mercurial fluidity of her future-forward-thinking quartet, Diatom Ribbons--drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, turntablist and electronic musician Val Jeanty, and bassist Trevor Dunn--ushers guitarist Julian Lage into the maelstrom and voila! Another memorable Live at the Village Vanguard emerges boldly and triumphantly. As befits Davis and company, the collective energy running rampant on this two-disc set is hard to pin down, but it is as palpable and discernible as a cut ...

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Album Review

Michael Formanek Elusion Quartet: As Things Do

Read "As Things Do" reviewed by Troy Dostert


The Elusion Quartet has become one of bassist Michael Formanek's more formidable ensembles, even if it is a more recent project than his long- standing work with Tomas Fujiwara and Mary Halvorson in Thumbscrew, or the many recordings he has made with prominent saxophonists ranging from Tim Berne to Marty Ehrlich and Ellery Eskelin. Although As Things Do is only the second release by the group, it is a superb album in every respect and a strong contender for year-end ...

Live Review

Umbria Jazz Winter 2022

Read "Umbria Jazz Winter 2022" reviewed by Libero Farnè


Umbria Jazz Winter 29 Orvieto Varie sedi 28.12.22--1.1.23 Nel programma della ventinovesima edizione del festival orvietano, la prima pagina era interamente dedicata alla memoria di Franco Fayenz, scomparso il 25 ottobre 2022; critico dall'impronta unica, capace di conciliare analisi musicale e sana divulgazione, era anche un amico storico di Umbria Jazz. Nel presentare il concerto d'apertura al Teatro Mancinelli, anche Enzo Capua ha ricordato il prezioso lavoro lasciatoci dal giornalista. Purtroppo, da un punto di ...

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Album Review

Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens: In Common III

Read "In Common III" reviewed by Chris May


The third iteration of tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matthew Stevens' In Common project is another delightfully lyrical and inventive affair. Each of the albums presents Smith and Stevens in the company of a different three-piece rhythm section. The first had vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The second had pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Nate Smith. On In Common III, the quintet is completed by pianist ...

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Event

Celebrate ‘Jazz In Canada’ With Two Free Virtual Concerts April 29-30

Celebrate ‘Jazz In Canada’ With Two Free Virtual Concerts April 29-30

Source: All About Jazz

On April 29-30, 2021 at 8PM EDT, audiences are invited to experience the vitality of Canadian Jazz artists’ Kris Davis and FYEAR, co-presented by the National Arts Centre and Canada Council for the Arts, at Germany's jazzahead! These concerts will be streamed online from the National Arts Centre’s Facebook page and simultaneously streamed by 18* Canadian jazz festivals on their Facebook pages. As part of an innovative international partnership, the performances will also be streamed by Germany’s jazzahead! and International ...

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Music Industry

Jazzahead! And International Jazz Day Announce Co-operation

Jazzahead! And International Jazz Day Announce Co-operation

Source: All About Jazz

Two of the leading international organisations in jazz, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and jazzahead!, the world’s largest jazz trade fair, are jointly announcing a new co-operation in honor of UNESCO International Jazz Day 2021. jazzahead! this year takes place under the motto “Close Together From Afar" and will run from Thursday 29 April to Sunday 2 May 2021. The two organisations plan to mark International Jazz Day together on Friday 30 April. “With this cooperation we want to ...

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Performance / Tour

Jazz this week: Bill Charlap, Kris Davis & Craig Taborn, Jason Marsalis, and more

Jazz this week: Bill Charlap, Kris Davis & Craig Taborn, Jason Marsalis, and more

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

It's a busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with several noteworthy touring performers in town, including three top-flight pianists, two of whom will be performing together as a duo. Let's go to the highlights... Wednesday, September 28 Pianist Bill Charlap returns with his trio for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Charlap was here most recently in February 2014 with saxophonist Houston Person at the Bistro, but this time, the focus is ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Sachal Vasandani, Galactic, Kris Davis Quintet, Jan Shapiro, Bucky Pizzarelli and Denise Thimes, and More

Jazz This Week: Sachal Vasandani, Galactic, Kris Davis Quintet, Jan Shapiro, Bucky Pizzarelli and Denise Thimes, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

It's a jam-packed week of jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with local debuts from two noteworthy touring musicians, the return of some familiar favorites, homecoming gigs for three local expats, and lots more. Let's go to the highlights... Tonight, singer Sachal Vasandani will make his St. Louis debut, beginning a four-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Along with Gregory Porter, whom the Bistro presented for the first time in January, Vasandani is one of the most talked-about ...

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Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Introducing Kris Davis

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Introducing Kris Davis

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, let's get acquainted with pianist Kris Davis, who will be making her St. Louis debut as a leader in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Saturday, February 16 at 560 Music Center. Davis will be touring in support of her most recent CD, Capricorn Climber, which was released late last year on Clean Feed Records. It features her performing with two of her most frequent collaborators, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, along with violist ...

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Recording

Kris Davis - Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011)

Kris Davis - Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011)

Source: Music and More by Tim Niland

The profile of pianist and composer Kris Davis has been rapidly rising in the jazz world. Recently the recipient of a glowing write-up in the New York Times and the leader or co-leader of several renowned groups, this is her first solo piano album. Davis has a fascinating and unique piano style which incorporates the entire keyboard and even the interior of the piano, making the most of her available possibilites. This album begins with a fascinating reconstruction of the ...

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Radio

The Jazz Session #290: Kris Davis

The Jazz Session #290: Kris Davis

Source: AAJ Staff


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Recording

Stephen Gauci/ Kris Davis/ Michael Bisio - SKM (Clean Feed)

Stephen Gauci/ Kris Davis/ Michael Bisio - SKM (Clean Feed)

Source: Master of a Small House

Operating under the ostensible leadership of saxophonist Stephen Gauci, but still very much an ensemble affair, versatility factors prominently on this straightforward trio set. Gauci and bassist Michael Bisio are well-established colleagues, their associations formed in the last decade on a number of projects for CIMP. Canadian pianist Kris Davis moves in similar circles having worked with New York notables like Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey. Their rapport manifests right away, stressing spontaneity rather than any predictable path with their ...

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Performance / Tour

Firehouse 12 to Present the Kris Davis Quartet May 25th

Firehouse 12 to Present the Kris Davis Quartet May 25th

Source: Improvised Communications

On Friday, May 25th, New Haven's Firehouse 12 will present New York-based pianist/composer Kris Davis and her acclaimed five year-old ensemble, the Kris Davis Quartet. The group, which features saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Eivind Opsvik and drummer Jeff Davis, will be playing music from Ms. Davis' second and most recent CD, The Slightest Shift (Fresh Sound New Talent).

“The adjective that comes to mind again and again listening to pianist and composer Kris Davis' quartet recording The Slightest Shift is ...

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Recording

Kris Davis debut CD on Fresh Sound/New Talent Records-CD release party Feb.19 at Cornelia Street Cafe

Kris Davis debut CD on Fresh Sound/New Talent Records-CD release party Feb.19 at Cornelia Street Cafe

Source: All About Jazz

Kris Davis debut CD on Fresh Sound/New Talent Records-CD release party

February 19, 2004 9-11:30 Cornelia Street Cafe 29 Cornelia Street New York, NY 212-989-9319 www.corneliastreetcafe.com

Performing the music from the new CD life span on Fresh Sound/New Talent Records

Featuring: Tony Malaby - Saxophones Russ Johnson - Trumpet and Flugelhorn Jason Rigby - Saxophones and Clarinets Kris Davis - Piano

Bruno Raberg
bass, acoustic
Aretha Tillotson
bass, acoustic

Photos

Concerts

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

A Letter To The Earth

Self Produced
2025

buy

Diatom Ribbons Live...

Pyroclastic Records
2024

buy

As Things Do

Intakt Records
2023

buy

In Common III

Whirlwind Recordings
2022

buy

Facets

Pi Recordings
2021

buy

Wandersphere

Intakt Records
2021

buy

The Girls In Their Dresses

From: Parallel Lives
By Kris Davis

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