With a background like hers, it makes sense that Caroline Davis turned out to be such an intriguing artist. She was born in Singapore in 1981 to European parents—her father was a British engineer, her mother a Swedish actor. She was raised in a primarily African-American section of Atlanta, where she fell in love with gospel and R&B. And she spent her teens in the very different setting of a middle-class Dallas suburb, where she played saxophone in her junior high band, influenced by her parents’ love of Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and other rock and soul bands with horn sections.
Having covered so much ground geographically, she continued her travels as a student of music, going beyond the ABCs of notes and chords. After acquiring both a Bachelor of Music in Jazz and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, she bridged those areas in acquiring a Ph.D. in Music Cognition at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Meanwhile, she pursued an accelerated kind of graduate education in music—on Chicago’s vaunted jazz scene. “My view of improvisation blossomed when I moved to Chicago,” said Davis. “Hearing Bobby Broom, Dennis Carroll, and Ron Perrillo every week was my own private version of music school.” Bobby Broom being the guitar great whose trio’s gig at Pete Miller’s Steakhouse was long one of the Windy City’s prime jazz attractions.
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One of 2012’s best local CDs, Live Work & Play, features six intriguing originals, a lovely arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Blood Count by guitarist Michael Allemana and a romp through Charlie Parker’s Cheryl. Davis is just at home in totally free settings, much like Lee Konitz, who, with her smeary tone and intelligent lines, she somewhat resembles.” - Michael Jackson, Chicago Sun Times, 2012
“All in all, proof that there is superb jazz still emerging from America's Second City.” - Jon Turney, Londonjazz.blogspot.co.uk, 2012
But if you've heard Davis in the past year, you already know that her own playing provides all the validation she needs. - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, 2012