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Jazz trombonist Steve Davis swings into spring through MSU Jazz Artist in Residence Program, March 25-31

Posted: 2:38 PM, Mar 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-05 19:38:45Z
Steve Davis

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A well-known improviser on the jazz trombone will swing into East Lansing to mentor and tour with jazz students at the MSU College of Music from March 25-31.

Steve Davis [stevedavismusic.com] is the fourth of four jazz artists this academic year to share his artistry with students and Michigan communities through the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program coordinated by the MSU College of Music. Launched in 2013, the pioneering residency program models the long-standing jazz tradition in which established musicians pass on their knowledge and experiences to aspiring jazz musicians.

As a jazz artist in residence, Davis will apply his talents as a musician and educator with MSU jazz studies students. Following a series of on-campus workshops, Davis will take to the road with MSU Jazz Orchestra I to teach and perform at Michigan schools, arts academies and community venues in Spring Lake, Bay City and Detroit. The week-long tour includes a weekend concert with the MSU Jazz Orchestra I and II at Fairchild Theatre, and a concluding, intimate performance in Owosso.

Associate Professor of Jazz Trombone Michael Dease [music.msu.edu] said Davis is renowned for his burnished trombone sound, insightful compositions, and the deep pocket of groove present in his improvisations. He added that Davis is a fantastic teacher.

“Steve is a sought-after collaborator on hundreds of recordings and positively glows with warmth and humility,” Dease said. “He’s excited to share insights from his experiences with Art Blakey, Chick Corea and more with the MSU community.”

Steve Davis is widely considered a leading improviser on the trombone. His lyrical, hard-swinging style first gained him broad recognition during the 1990s while working with jazz legends Art Blakey, Jackie McClean, Chick Corea and the cooperative sextet, One For All. Davis has appeared in Downbeat Magazine’s Reader’s and Critic’s Polls numerous times, and has been nominated by The JJA four years in a row as Trombonist of the Year.

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, Steve was raised in Binghamton, New York, and graduated in 1989 from The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute. Davis landed his first major gig with Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers in New York City in December 1989. He returned to Hartford in 1992 to join McLean’s sextet and to begin nurturing up-and-coming jazz musicians at the Hartt School and Artist’s Collective where he continues to teach. An in-demand sideman and artful collaborator, Davis is featured on more than 130 recordings and is active on the Connecticut jazz scene. He had led his own group, both on stage and in the studio. His latest CD releaseSay When (Smoke Sessions) is his tribute to the great J.J. Johnson. His other recent CD release, For Real, received rave reviews and includes all original compositions.

“We’ll be jazzing up spring when Steve Davis comes to town,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “Steve’s hard-swinging style will bring welcome sizzle to Michigan, and should uplift everyone’s spirit after a long, hard winter.”

Now in its sixth year, the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program attracts high-level talent and serves as a model for jazz studies programs nationwide. Inspiring lineups provide students and communities a rare opportunity to listen to and learn from high-energy, well-known musicians and virtuosos who are equally accomplished as educators, composers and arrangers shaping the world of jazz. The program is supported by a $1 million endowment by the MSU Federal Credit Union.

All combined, the residencies of 23 artists to date have reached nearly 35,000 students and adults across Michigan through workshops, performances and one-on-one instruction at non-profit organizations and at middle and high schools. Jazz trombonist Steve Davis [markwhitfield.com] is the fourth in the versatile line-up of Jazz Artists in Residence for 2018-19, which included saxophonist Melissa Aldana [melissaaldana.net] in October, guitarist Mark Whitfield [markwhitfield.com] in December, and bassist Mimi Jones [mimijonesmusic.com] in February.

Davis will perform with the MSU Jazz Orchestra I led by Rodney Whitaker in the MSU Fairchild Theatre on Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m. The concert will also showcase performances of MSU Jazz Orchestra II. Tickets are $17 adults; $15 seniors; $7 for students and those under 18 with valid ID, and are available from the College of Music box office—in person at the Music Building, Room 102, 333 W. Circle Drive or over the phone at (517) 353-5340—online at music.msu.edu, or at the door one hour before the show.

Schedule: MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence Steve Davis

Considered a leading improviser on the trombone, Steve Davis has a lyrical, hard-swinging style that has earned him critical acclaim since the 1990s. An artful collaborator, he has worked with a variety of jazz greats and led his own groups, both on stage and in the recording studio.

· Monday, March 25, Press Day, Blue Mondays at MSUFCU Headquarters: MSU Professors of Jazz with Steve Davis. Special performance for members of the MSU Federal Credit Union and the media.

· Tuesday, March 26, Rehearsals and Workshops, MSU College of Music

· Wednesday, March 27, Spring Lake High School, Spring Lake

· Thursday, March 28, Bay City Western High School, Auburn

· Friday, March 29, [music.msu.edu] MSU Fairchild Theatre with MSU Jazz Orchestras

· Saturday, March 30, Detroit School of Arts, [thecarrcenter.org] Detroit

· Sunday, March 31, Lily Pearls Lounge [lilypearls.com] at Lula’s Cookhouse, Owosso