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 that Davis has released over the past 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

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. Paradoxical Frog, the
trio’s 2010 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, Andrew Cyrille, Eric Revis, 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.

2013 has proven a busy year for Davis, touring with her quintet in the midwest and on the east coast, with Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti house and with Eric Revis’s City of Asylum in Europe and US and then with her own trio in Europe. She received a commissioning residency in May from The Jazz Gallery/Jerome Foundation to compose for her trio with Tom Rainey and John Hébert and the Shifting Foundation awarded her a grant to compose and record a large-ensemble project. Davis will release two new records in the fall of 2013- a completely improvised record with colaborators Ralph Alessi, Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey on Skirl Records, and a second solo record on Thirsty Ear Records. Downbeat has named her a rising star in the 2013 critics poll and the Jazz Times declares: “Davis draws you in so effortlessly that the brilliance of what she’s doing doesn’t hit you until the piece has slipped past.”