Bio

James Davis, a Chicago trumpeter and music maker, is comfortable in and always enjoys exploring a wide array of musical environments.  As a composer and improviser, Davis is involved in a diverse blend of musical communities in Chicago.  His diverse background and ranging interests can be heard in his own Chamber-Jazz group Beveled, the improvising effects-laden LORIS, and various Jazz projects.

In addition to leading different formations of his own groups, Davis has also recently collaborated and/or recorded with Matt Ulery’s  Pollinator, Chris Dammann's Restroy, Lucas Gillan's Many Blessings, The Heritage Jazz Orchestra, and The New Standard Jazz Orchestra. James has earned recognition as a finalist both in the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition and the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Competition and has completed degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington, and at the University of North Texas. At UNT, James had the opportunity to tour and record with the Grammy nominated One O’clock Lab Band and the UNT Wind Symphony. 

James’ playing and compositions are featured on his newest album Disappearing Roads, his 2014 release Beveled, the James Davis Quintet album Angles of Refraction, the avant-rock/jazz/improv band Zing!’s, Magnetic Flux, and multiple albums with Albertan drummer Karl Schwonik. He is currently on faculty at Triton College, Wheaton College, and Harold Washington College.

Press

“And James’s playing ...with its pure tone, measured melodies, and judicious use of both notes and space ...reminds me of the fresh breath Chet Baker blew through bebop in the early 50s.”

“James’s best tunes...share the simple (but not simplistic) tunefulness that Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny have used to such great advantage. They have a wide open prairie sensibility and the melodies forswear the vertiginous leaps and bounds endemic to bebop, early avant-garde jazz, and today’s free-improv energy music...”

 -Neil Tesser, Chicago Reader(click for full review)




“...enjoyable music filled with dreamy atmospheric, lovely tones and stimulating solo forays played by an ensemble of young musicians who are making a name for themselves in the exciting Chicago jazz arena.”

-Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net (click for full review)

Angles of Refraction:
“...striking and compelling ...this is a winner.”

- George Carroll, The Musician’s Ombudsman (click for full review)

Shows

Previous events

Date Event Location
Stone Bratt Big Band Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL
Rob Clearfield Quartet Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
Rob Clearfield Quartet Merriman's Playhouse, South Bend, IN Merriman's Playhouse, South Bend, IN
James Davis Quintet Fulton Street Collective Fulton Street Collective
Matt Ulery's Delicate Charms Green Mill, Chicago, IL Green Mill, Chicago, IL
Corbin Andrick / Andrew Vogt Earth Tones Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL
Chris Dammann's Restroy Constellation, Chicago, IL Constellation, Chicago, IL
Matt Ulery's Pollinator Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL
Mar Caribe Outta Space, Berwyn, IL Outta Space, Berwyn, IL
James Davis / Brian Courage Group - Chicago Jazz Composers Collective Green Mill, Chicago, IL Green Mill, Chicago, IL
Metropolitan Jazz Octet w/ Dee Alexander Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL
James Davis' Beveled Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL
Buddy Rich Big Band Machine Summerfest - Briggs and Straton Big Backyard, Milwaukee, WI Summerfest - Briggs and Straton Big Backyard, Milwaukee, WI
Terry Bartalotta Trio O'Brien's Downtown - Riverwalk, Chicago, IL O'Brien's Downtown - Riverwalk, Chicago, IL
Jeremy Cunningham Quartet Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL
James Davis' Beveled Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL
Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald with Heritage Jazz Orchestra Untitled Supper Club, Chicago, IL Untitled Supper Club, Chicago, IL
Matt Ulery's Pollinator Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL Hungry Brain, Chicago, IL
Kenny Wheeler's Angel Song Fulton Street Collective, Chicago, IL Fulton Street Collective, Chicago, IL
Maurice w/ Graphics & a Light Sleeper Hideout, Chicago, IL Hideout, Chicago, IL

Projects

BEVELED
A unique combination of 2 flugelhorns, 2 bass clarinets, bass, and drums/percussion. Having played at many of Chicago’s great music venues since 2013
James Davis, Chad McCullough, Michael Salter, Geof Bradfield, Daniel Thatcher, Juan Pastor

album: Beveled, 2014, Remain Calm EP, 2022

JAMES DAVIS QUINTET   
Featuring music written for quintet shortly after my relocation to Chicago, IL. This group of musicians are some of my favorite collaborators and composers in their own right. 

album: Angles of Refraction, 2007, Disappearing Roads, 2018

CHICAGO GOES WEST
A trio of Trumpet/Bass/Drums led by Karl Schwonik (based out of Calgary, AB, Canada).  Highlight performances include an appearance at the Montreal Jazz Fest in 2010 and two North American tours. w/ Nicolas Bedard or Dan Fortin, bass Karl Schwonik, drums

album: Chicago Goes West, 2009, Western Influence, 2012

ZING!
This electro-acoustic rock/jazz/improv group plays music sometimes carefully composed and sometimes carefully uncomposed. w/ Caroline Davis-alto sax Dave Miller-guitar&effects Matthew Golombisky-bass&likable noise Quin Kirchner-drums

album: Magnetic Flux, 2007

MAURICE
Maurice blends genres to create a unique sound that can be both energetic and introspective.
w/ David Grant, keys John Carroll, drums Lee Weisert, guitar Adam Klein & Dan Thatcher, bass Jonathan Kirk, trombone Patrick Liddell, visuals, Moses Aguilar, guitar

albums: Ace of Wands, 2010; Everything is Floating, 2011


more:

Julie Meckler

Matt Ulery’s “By a Little Light”

Matt Ulery's "Delicate Charms"

Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble

Tomorrow Music Orchestra

ALDRIC

Great Postmodern Nightmare Big Band

BALKANO

3.5.7 Ensemble

Ian Torres Big Band

Ben Scholz Electet

Jason Steele Messenger Collective