Kris Davis

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Kris Davis
Born 1980 (age 36–37)
Vancouver, Canada
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Piano
Years active Early 2000s–present
Labels Fresh Sound, Clean Feed

Kris Davis (born 1980) is a Canadian jazz pianist and composer.

Early life[edit]

Davis was born in Vancouver in 1980 and grew up in Calgary, Alberta.[1] She studied classical piano from the age of six[1] and discovered jazz while a high school student.[2] She transcribed performances by pianists Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett.[2] She later reported that, "By the eighth grade I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician."[1] She later majored in jazz piano at the University of Toronto.[1][2]

Later life and career[edit]

Davis moved to New York in 2001.[2] Her piano style changed after her first album, Lifespan – "I decided not to play chords anymore, just to play lines".[2] She later obtained a classical composition degree from the City College of New York.[2]

In 2009, Davis played solo concerts during a tour of Portugal.[2] She followed this with a solo piano album, Aeriol Piano,[2] which included sections for prepared piano.[3] Her 2014 trio album Waiting for You to Grow was the follow-up to Good Citizen around five years earlier.[1] She commented that, on the earlier release, "I had this concept to make it almost like a pop record, where the tunes are really short [while] on the new record the tunes are much longer and explore multiple areas. I just wanted to write and not have any preconceived ideas".[1]

In 2013, Davis composed a suite for four bass clarinets, guitar, piano, organ and drums.[3] In 2014, Davis had a six-day residency at The Stone in New York City,[1] and played in the UK for the first time.[4] She plans to launch a record label, Pyroclastic Records, in 2016.[5] A new quartet, with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, will play John Zorn compositions in the second half of 2016.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Davis was formerly married to the drummer Jeff Davis.[2] She married guitarist Nate Radley in 2012 and they had a son in 2013.[1]


An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.

As leader/co-leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
2003 Lifespan Fresh Sound Sextet, with Tony Malaby (tenor sax, soprano sax), Russ Johnson (flugelhorn, trumpet), Jason Rigby (tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Jeff Davis (drums)
2005 The Slightest Shift Fresh Sound Quartet, with Tony Malaby (tenor sax), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Jeff Davis (drums)
2005 Fiction Avalanche Clean Feed As part of the RIDD Quartet; with Jon irabagon (sax), Reuben Radding (bass), Jeff Davis (drums)
2007 Rye Eclipse Fresh Sound Quartet, with Tony Malaby (tenor sax), Eivind Opsvik (bass), Jeff Davis (drums)
2008 Three Clean Feed As part of the band SKM; trio, with Stephen Gauci (sax), Michael Bisio (bass)
2009 Paradoxical Frog Clean Feed As part of the band Paradoxical Frog; trio, with Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Tyshawn Sorey (drums)
2009 Good Citizen Fresh Sound Trio, with John Hebert (bass), Tom Rainey (drums)
2009 Aeriol Piano Clean Feed Solo piano
2011 Union Clean Feed As part of the band Paradoxical Frog; trio, with Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Tyshawn Sorey (drums)
2012 Capricorn Climber Clean Feed Quintet, with Mat Maneri (viola), Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Trevor Dunn (bass), Tom Rainey (drums)
2012 Vermilion Tree For Tune As part of the band 3d; trio, with Tomasz Dąbrowski (trumpet, balkan horn), Andrew Drury (drums)
2012 Massive Threads Thirsty Ear Solo piano
2013* Lark Skirl As part of the band Lark; quartet, with Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Tom Rainey (drums)
2013 Waiting for You to Grow Clean Feed Trio, with John Hebert (bass), Tom Rainey (drums)
2014 Save Your Breath Clean Feed With Joachim Badenhorst, Andrew Bishop, Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega (bass clarinet), Gary Versace (organ), Nate Radley (guitar), Jim Black (drums)
2016* Duopoly Pyroclastic Duos, with Don Byron (clarinet), Tim Berne (alto sax), Marcus Gilmore (drums), Billy Drummond (drums), Angelica Sanchez (piano), Craig Taborn (piano), Julian Lage (guitar), Bill Frisell (guitar)

As sidewoman[edit]

Year recorded Leader Title Label
2006 Rocket Engine, Rocket Engine What Is This That Stands Before Me? Loyal
2008* Irabagon, JonJon Irabagon Outright! Innova
2010* Davis, JeffJeff Davis We Sleep Outside Loyal
2010* Laubrock, IngridIngrid Laubrock Anti-House Intakt
2011* Driscoll, KermitKermit Driscoll Reveille 19/8
2011* Malaby, TonyTony Malaby Novela Clean Feed
2011* Wolper, AndreaAndrea Wolper Parallel Lives Jazzed Media
2013* Laubrock, IngridIngrid Laubrock Strong Place Intakt
2013* Revis, EricEric Revis City of Asylum Clean Feed
2016* Revis, EricEric Revis Crowded Solitudes Clean Feed
2014* Musillami, MichaelMichael Musillami Pride Playscape
2014* Bauder, MattMatt Bauder Nightshades Clean Feed
2014* Rainey, TomTom Rainey Obbligato Intakt
2015* Laubrock, IngridIngrid Laubrock Roulette of the Cradle Intakt
2015* Fraser, NickNick Fraser Too Many Continents Clean Feed
2015* Gray, DevinDevin Gray Relative Resonance Skirl


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Adler, David R. (6 October 2014) "Kris Davis: Good Citizen". JazzTimes.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ratliff, Ben (6 October 2011) "New Pilots at the Keyboard". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Bambarger, Bradley (December 2013) "Kris Davis – New Approaches". Down Beat. p. 23.
  4. ^ "Kris Davis Trio: Kris Davis / John Hebert / Tom Rainey". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b Hale, James (July 2016) "Kris Davis". Down Beat. p. 36.