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On Kaa Davis

A long time resident artist and activist of New York's Lower East Side (LES), On has been a constant contributor to its edgy creative esthetic.

In 2000, Talent in Motion magazine awarded On its most coveted annual 'Timmy Award' of "Most Myriad and Talented Artist" for his artistic influence.

On performs principally as a guitarist, exploring music through the worlds of classical guitar, creative improvisation, 'jazzes', and is interpretive of roots-cultural models and 21st century thoro-composed models. On also performs on electric violin, keyboards, and sings.

On is also an 'academic' composer with contributions for works for solo classical guitar and for guitar with ensemble. On has also completed works for dance and film.

On's formal training was that as a concertise of the classical guitar. On became recognized as a frequent recitalist in his native Cleveland, Ohio throughout his teen-age years.While in High School, On also played with a popular rhythm and blues 'soul' band and jammed in 'garage' bands. But it was the continued training as a concertise with Christoph Harlan that culminated in studies at the Hochschule for Music and Performering Arts in Vienna, with On arriving there at the age of 19. There, On studied as a protege of Luise Walker.

Luise Walker was known along with Ida Presti as one of the "Les Grande Dames de la Guitarre" during her reign as one of the most important concert guitarist of her generation.

In New York, On studied in the open classes with Barry Harris but mostly was schooled in 'jazz' on the bandstand playing next to the countless music greats that came to rule here. Over the years, On has been involved in making music of nearly every genre.

On has worked with avant gardists, with rockers, jazzers, in the theatres and in the recording studio. Of especial note, On has played together with such artists as Sun Ra as a member of his Arkestra, Don Ayler in his septet, Charles 'Bobo' Shaw in his Human Arts Ensemble, Luther Thomas, Denis Charles, Khusenaton Shu Amon and Phillip Wilson. On's decades-long association with reedmen Daniel Carter and Sabir Mateen and with drummer Thom Corn began in the middle 90's when they collaborated with bassist Dan O'Brian to form the group 'The Future".

On had been the musical director of the ensemble 'Impossible Space Circus of Sun Ra', an effort that brings together Sun Ra Arkestra alumni members of which have included bassist Juini Booth, vocalist Al Jenkins and trombonist Dave Davis and trumpeter Cecil Brooks III. Other contributors have been Nick Gianni, Dalius Naujo, Avram Fefer, TomChess, Andre Lassalle, Monica H, Aaron Whitby, Graham Haynes, Paul Meurens, Welf Dorr, Jun Miyake, Richard Bennett, and Dave Treut.

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Album Review

On Kaa Davis: X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music

Read "X-Ray Search Light Project: Djuke Music" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Though he's logged considerable time in Sun Ra's Arkestra, Kenny Wolleson's Himalayas Collective, and groups led by Donald Ayler, Charles 'Bobo' Shaw, and Luther Thomas, On Kaa Davis is not just another avant-garde jazz dude. As a teenager, the Cleveland, Ohio native journeyed to Vienna, Austria, where he studied classical guitar at the Hochschule for Music and Performing Arts under Luise Walker (herself a protégée of Andrés Segovia). Though most of his recordings are self-produced, he's recorded for John Zorn's ...

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"I usually don't talk to musicians after a performance. Mostly because, when the music is mind-blowing, I want to take those impressions and enjoy them. Allowing to curse, F*CK! what a sound!. I had no idea what was coming! I am converted to On Davis musical religion." —Eliseo Cardona, Miami Herald

"Searching for deepest, darkest Africa on the Lower East Side." —Tom Hull, Village Voice Jazz Consumer Guide

“…guitarist/vocalist On Ka'a Davis' Seeds of Djuke is, to a large degree, an example of jazz-influenced African pop from the United States…the influences range from Sun Ra to Fela Kuti to John Coltrane to Malian music

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Primary Instrument

Guitar, electric


New York City

Willing to teach

Advanced only


Owner; East Village Guitar Salon manta/eastvillageguitarsalon.com 212-982-1874 (studio) [email protected] Books Exerciricle: Keys to Museo-Ontology (2004) On Mu Music Press

Clinic/Workshop Information

Get your guitar playing TOGETHER! Take lessons that will connect the dots that you couldn't find! The East Village Guitar Salon is now offering an "Introductory Special"

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