Apr 4, 2014
"A freethinking, gifted pianist on the scene, (Kris) 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." – Jason Moran.
When we talk about today’s hardest working jazz musicians, the name of Kris Davis has to pop up near the top. 2013 was an especially fruitful year for Davis, finding her quintet record, Capricorn Climber, her solo recording, Massive Threads, her appearance on Eric Revis's trio record City of Asylum with Andrew Cyrille, and the CD from LARK, the quartet she plays in with Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey, and Ralph Alessi; all on the top records of the year lists in the New York Times, Jazz Times, and The Village Voice among others. She received a Jazz Gallery commissioning residency, as well as a grant from the Shifting Foundation to compose and record a large-ensemble project. And all this happened while she was touring Europe and preparing to give birth to her first child.
This year promises her no rest. Not only will she have her son to deal with, but she has already been part of Rainey’s CD Obbligato with Laubrock, Alessi, Drew Gress, and Rainey; and her own trio recording Waiting for You to Grow.
The music for this project, composed during the Jazz Gallery commission, is a deeply personal recording for her, as it was composed and recorded when Davis was pregnant with her first child. Her band mates, seasoned drummer Tom Rainey and bassist John Hebert, were along side the seven month pregnant Davis as they toured Europe, developing and shaping the music before returning to New York to record. The result is a highly interactive and energetic effort from this long-standing trio.
I had the pleasure of talking with Ms. Davis in the midst of her residency at the Cornelia Street Café in New York City. It began with the Davis-Rainey-Hebert trio last month and continues on April 5th with a different trio, with guitarist Mary Halvorson and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock. The three women perform together often in Ingrid Laubrock's Anti-House, and are each known for their unique approach to their instruments. This will be the first time they perform together as a trio.
The third concert on May 3rd will feature long time collaborator Tony Malaby and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Davis has performed with Malaby since 2001, in her quartet and then as pianist and arranger in Malaby's large ensemble Novela. This will be the first time Davis performs with Gerald Cleaver.
Podcast 419 is our conversation, including musical selections from her many works and collaborations including:
Kris Davis Trio - "Twice Escaped" and the Title Track from Waiting for You to Grow
Tom Rainey - "Prelude to a Kiss" from Obbligato
Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House - Untitled from an
unreleased recording from the Jazz Em Agosto Jazz Festival in
Lisbon, Portugal on August 6, 2011.
Eric Revis – "Question" from City of Asylum