(Bio by Rocco Stilo)
Residing in Brooklyn and on stage since 2003, jazz canadian pianist and composer Kris Davis sports an interesting career and a "natural" and creative style, after having composed albums played with prominent jazz musicians, and solos piano.
The eight pieces of Life Span, her first album, were recorded in june 2003 in a sextet along with Eivind Opsvik (bass), her husband Jeff Davis (drums), Russ Johnson (flugelhorn), Jason Rigby and Tony Malaby (both on tenor and soprano saxes).
Since this release Davis revealed her natural gift as bandleader and for creativity in improvisations.
The nine pieces of The Slightest Shift (october 2005) continued this approach with the same core lineup (Johnson and Rigby were absent).
Rye Eclipse (june 2007), again with the previous lineup, features counterpointed and collective textures, enlightened above all by the 10-minute title-track.
The ethereal and intimistic Good Citizen (may 2009) features a trio along with well known John Hebert (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums); Davis alternates cerebral and minimalistic moments into her themes, as in the notable ktj-1.
Paradoxical Frog (august 2009), among her best works, was credited to the namesake project, a trio with Tyshawn Sorey (drums) and Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax).
Individually composed (Sorey and Davis three pieces, Laubrock two pieces), the album is plenty of dialogues and solos, and a more lyrical afflatus, as in the long Homograph, composed by Sorey.
Still in august 2009, Davis recorded her first solo, Aeriol Piano, sporting a reworking of Jerome Kerns' All the Things You Are and seven original, some for prepared piano and other completely improvised.
Union (october 2011), the second Paradoxical Frog album with the same trio, features nine compositions again individually composed (Sorey three pieces, Laubrock four and Davis two), with lyrical and dark moments. Capricorn Climber (march 2012), in a notable quintet comprising of Mat Maneri (viola), Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Tom Rainey (drums and glockenspiel), is a bit more avantagarde. Massive Threads (october 2012) is her second (prepared) piano solo, featuring seven new pieces and a reworking of Thelonius Monk's Evidence.
It's more minimalistic and cerebral, with several overdubs.
Waiting For You To Grow (may 2013) sports the same trio of Good Citizen, with six lenghty pieces she composed, as title suggests, when was pregnant with her first child.
The music alternates minimalistic and dark moments.
Save Your Breath (january 2014), credited to her project Infrasound, features an ensemble with four clarinetists (Andrew Bishop, Ben Goldberg, Joachim Badenhorst, and Oscar Noriega), Jim Black (drums), Nate Radley (guitar) and Gary Versace (organ), and is instead more rock-oriented, with two long rearrangements from her previous albums, particularly the 14-minute title-track.
Duopoly (Pyroclastic, 2016), her latest work, is an ambitious CD-DVD featuring duets along with jazz giants: Bill Frisell (guitar), Tim Berne (alto sax), Julian Lage (guitar), Craig Taborn, Angelica Sanchez (both on piano), Don Byron (clarinet), Marcus Gilmore, Billy Drummond (both on drums).
Disc One features eight duos performing songs written by Ms. Davis, as well as a couple standards by Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. The second disc is a DVD/film of eight freely improvised duets with Ms. Davis and all of the participants.
The Borderlands Trio with Stephan Crump (acoustic bass) and Eric McPherson (drums) debuted with Asteroidea (december 2016) containing the 26-minute Borderlands.
Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic, 2019) documents the latest work by pianist Kris Davis. Studio recorded in december 2018, this CD sees the leader along with Esperanza Spalding (voice), JD Allen and Tony Malaby (both on tenor sax), Ches Smith (vibraphone), Nels Cline and Marc Ribot (both on guitar), Trevor Dunn (electric bass), Val Jeanty (turntable) and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums). Its ten pieces are so presented by the pianist: "While writing for this album I learned about diatoms, which are unicellular microalgae that live in the oceans and freshwater and soils. They contribute massively to the planet's oxygen supply, and there are something like one hundred thousand species. From satellite images above oceans and lakes, huge blooms sometimes appear as beautiful zigzags and ribbons. Up close under a scanning electron microscope, you can see these incredible, ornate structures. So seeing these plants extremely close-up and then so far away, I made a connection between the process of composition and my experience of nature, and that changing your proximity to the same object or idea can dramatically alter your experience of it, often yielding unexpected and inspiring results".
Inland Empire (september 2016) documents a live performance with the Norwegian rhythm section of bassist Ole Morten Vagan and drummer Oyvind Skarbo, plus Swedish reedist Fredrik Ljungkvist.