Born: October 15, 1971 Primary Instrument: Piano
32 year-old acclaimed pianist/composer Keith Javors speaks in an emotional and communicative musical style that blends straight ahead and progressive jazz with splashes (and sometimes pools) of R & B influences. His latest album on the newly-formed Zoho Records (New York) is entitled Mo' City Jungle and builds upon this vision in a powerful acoustic set that draws from Detroit influences ranging from Kenny Garrett and Elvin Jones to Motown and its soul derivatives. Regarding Mo' City Jungle, Chris Potter calls Javors an improviser of extremely high caliber, noting the record's collective spirit of 'going for it' that brings the music joyously to life. In the liner notes to the diverse set of original compositions, Bunky Green says, There's a freshness here like spring after an extremely severe winter, going on to call Javors a creative force with an urgent message that cannot be denied.
Motor City Music is Keith's third CD of original music. The first, Mantra (1998) is an intimate record in the duo format with Detroit alto saxophonist and long time friend and collaborator Dane Bays. The second, From Here To The Street (2000), adds two more Detroit street musicians to the mix, Lou Smoltz (bass) and Alex Brooks (drums), in a record hailed by Jazz Times: The performances range from melancholy and contemplative to swinging and bluesy to exuberant and burninga solid album from an educator who can do more than teach. The Jazz Educators Journal says Well worth checking into, Javors satisfies an appetite for the musically punctuated with surprising twists and turns.
Known for his technical virtuosity, a riveting compositional style, and constant creativity, Keith's professional tutelage came from performing for years as an in-demand pianist in the Dallas and Chicago areas, working with groups such as the Dallas Jazz Orchestra and the Brad Turner Quartet in addition to fronting his own. Keith relocated to Florida in 2000 after receiving an offer to join the faculty of the prestigious Jazz program at the University of North Florida. A perk of his position at UNF is performing and working with legendary alto saxophonist Bunky Green, who is also the Director of the Program. While balancing his output as both an artist and a teacher has always been part of what he does, he insists that that the real learning for him has taken place through passion and playing with master musicians infinitely more so than books and syllabi.
Over time, Javors has accompanied an expansive list of artists including Bunky Green, Conrad Herwig, Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, Gerry Mulligan, Bucky Pizzerelli, Arturo Sandoval, Ira Sullivan, and Bill Watrous, to name only a few. His groups have performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the world; the Rockefeller Center, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Vienne Jazz Festival, the International Association for Jazz Education Annual Conference, and the Midwest Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference and others, as well as notable jazz clubs across the United States.
Dually, Keith has established a record as a gifted and inspirational educator, having been named to the Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students five times in a row. Dr. Javors' first two albums as leader of the UNF Jazz Ensemble 1 resulted in back to back Down Beat Student Music Awards, including the sole winner of Best College Big Band in 2003. Bands under his direction have performed with a who's who of jazz music, including Terence Blanchard, Robin Eubanks, Jon Faddis, Antonio Hart, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Conrad Herwig, Dave Holland, Billy Kilson, Pat Martino, Mulgrew Miller, James Moody, Steve Nelson, Eddie Palmieri, Chris Potter, Sam Rivers, Maria Schneider, Bobby Shew, Ira Sullivan, and Clark Terry. Keith has a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Jazz Piano Performance (with distinction) from the University of North Texas, where he was pianist in the One O'Clock Lab Band, and a Doctorate degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has served as a guest artist/clinician at festivals and universities across the United States and abroad, published in leading jazz journals, and received multiple awards and honors as an artist and educator.