Primary Instrument: Piano
Kris Davis has quickly grown to become a vital contributor to New York's jazz scene. An artist exploring the balance between improvisation and composition, her writing and pianistic prowess have been described as 'adventurous' and 'refreshing'. In 2002, Davis sought out hailed saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Eivind Opsvik, and drummer Jeff Davis and created her working quartet. Since it’s creation, the quartet has toured extensively, performing in festivals in the United States, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Through Davis’ compositions, the quartet’s two CD releases on Fresh Sound, and the experience of performing together for the past six years, her ensemble has created a delicate balance of push and pull within the music. Lloyd Sachs of the Chicago Sun Times writes: 'From the outset of The Slightest Shift, pianist Kris Davis' impressive second album, you get a sense of kaleidoscopic possibilities in the playing and compositions. There's color and angularity and continual movement in her approach, which entrusts her quartet -- tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, bassist Eivind Opsvik and drummer Jeff Davis -- to work independently toward a common goal.'
Originally from Canada, Davis studied classical piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music and received her bachelors degree from the University of Toronto. She attended the Banff Centre for the Arts jazz program in 1997 and 2000, where she met future band mate Tony Malaby. Two years later she received a Canada Council grant to relocate to New York and study composition with Jim McNeely and in 2006 was awarded another Canada Council grant to study extended piano techniques with pianist Benoit Delbecq in Paris, France.
In addition to her efforts as a band leader, Davis has performed with John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Theo Bleckmann, Ron Horton, Ingrid Jensen, Steve Swell, Peter Herbert, and Chris Speed. Davis is a founding member of the RIDD quartet which will release it’s first record in 2008, Fiction Avalanche, on the Clean Feed Label. She performs regularly as a sideman for many up-and-coming leaders such as Jon Irabagon and Tony Barba and plays harmonium in the Brooklyn Qawwali Party. Davis teaches at the Maine Jazz Camp and for the Preparatory Jazz Studies at Queens College.