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Pianist-Composer Kris Davis Unveils Her Large-Ensemble Project Infrasound at Roulette in Brooklyn on January 6, 2014
(Published: December 04, 2013)

Panist-composer Kris Davis – one of the most progressive, prolific figures on New York City’s creative jazz scene – will unveil her octet project Infrasound in concert at Roulette in Brooklyn on Jan. 6, 2014. Davis has created an evening-length suite for a unique instrumentation, one whose power led to the name Infrasound – that being the term for a low-frequency sound that’s felt as much as heard. The virtuoso Infrasound band will feature four bass clarinets – played by Ben Goldberg, Oscar Noriega, Andrew Bishop and Joachim Badenhorst – plus guitar (Nate Radley), accordion and organ (Gary Versace), piano (Davis) and drums (Jim Black). Davis created the music of Infrasound on a commission from the Shifting Foundation, which has previously awarded grants to the likes of John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Zeena Parkins. Davis and company will head into the studio right after the Roulette debut to record the music for an album.

About Infrasound, Davis says: “In writing these pieces, I was inspired by the individual musicians I chose for this group and the sound of the bands they play in – for instance, the earthy, energized Endangered Blood with Oscar and Jim and the snaky improvisation of Bad Touch with Nate and Gary. And by using the four bass clarinets and organ, I aimed for Infrasound to explore the low end of the spectrum, creating a living, breathing wild animal.”

The 33-year-old Davis – an artist who offers “uncommon creative adventure,” according to JazzTimes – has had one of the busiest, most notable years of her career in 2013. She released two albums under her name this year: the brand-new solo disc Massive Threads (Thirsty Ear) and the quintet set Capricorn Climber (Clean Feed), which found Davis alongside saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, violist Mat Maneri, bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Tom Rainey. The New York Times praised Capricorn Climber for being “an engrossing lesson in ensemble flux, carried out with finesse,” adding that Davis is “wizardly with tension.” The pianist also featured on the eponymous album by the kindred-spirit collective LARK (with Laubrock, Rainey and trumpeter Ralph Alessi) and on bassist Eric Revis’s trio album City of Asylum with drum sage Andrew Cyrille. That’s not to mention that New York’s Jazz Gallery gave Davis a commissioning residency this past spring to write and workshop new music for a second recording by her trio featuring Rainey and bassist John Hébert; the resulting album – which will be her eighth as a leader – will be titled Waiting for You to Grow, for release in early 2014.

Davis’s previous experience with large-ensemble writing includes her extraordinary arrangements for saxophonist-composer Tony Malaby’s nonet project Novela, with the album Novela released by Clean Feed in 2011 and appearing on Best of the Year lists in DownBeat and JazzTimes. In its review of the Novela album, New York City Jazz Record said: “Davis emerges as an orchestrator of tremendous creativity, amplifying the harmonic nuances of Malaby's pieces, enriching their textures at every turn and multiplying their rhythmic possibilities.”

The Calgary-born, Brooklyn-residing Davis made her debut on record as a leader with Lifespan (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2003), followed by three progressively inventive and acclaimed albums for the Fresh Sound label: the quartet discs The Slightest Shift (2006) and Rye Eclipse (2008) and the trio set Good Citizen (2010). The Chicago Sun-Times lauded the “sense of kaleidoscopic possibilities” in her playing and compositions. Davis’s first solo piano album, Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011), appeared on Best of the Year lists in The New York Times, JazzTimes and Art Forum

Davis is part of the collaborative trio Paradoxical Frog with Laubrock and drummer Tyshawn Sorey; their eponymous 2011 album on Clean Feed was included on Best of the Year lists by National Public Radio, The New York Times and All About Jazz. In 2012, Paradoxical Frog followed with a second Clean Feed album, Union, which the BBC praised for “making all the right moves and then some.”

In addition to her work as a leader, Davis has performed with such top figures as Paul Motian, Tim Berne, Bill Frisell, John Hollenbeck, Kermit Driscoll, Michael Formanek and Mary Halvorson. Davis started playing piano at age 6, studying classical music through the Royal Conservatory in Canada and formulating her desire for a life in music by playing in the school jazz band at age 12. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Piano from the University of Toronto. The pianist received a Canada Council grant for relocating to New York to study composition with Jim McNeely, then another for studying extended piano techniques with Benoit Delbecq in Paris. She holds a master’s in Classical Composition from the City College of New York, and she teaches at the School for Improvised Music.

Long favored by her peers and jazz fans in the know, Davis has earned high praise from no less than star pianist and MacArthur “Genius” Grant honoree Jason Moran, who included her in his Best of 2012 piece in Art Forum, writing: “A freethinking, gifted pianist on the scene, 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.

More Information: http://www.krisdavis.net/


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