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 By a Little Light, LORIS, Grazyna Auguscik, Chicago Goes West, the Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble, Julie Meckler, Tomorrow Music Orchestra, the Ian Torres Big Band, the Jason Steele Quartet, ALDRIC, and Balkano. 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 new album 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 in River Grove, IL, Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and Moraine Valley Community College.


“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, (click for full review)

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

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


Previous events

Date Event Location
Paul Bedal Quartet One Spirit Center, Rockford, IL One Spirit Center, Rockford, IL
Restroy Constellation, Chicago, IL Constellation, Chicago, IL
Alex Beltran and James Davis Faculty Recital Triton College, River Grove Triton College, River Grove
Moraine Valley Jazz Faculty Concert Moraine Valley Community College Moraine Valley Community College
Chris Shuttleworth's "Mortar" Cafe Mustache, Chicago, IL Cafe Mustache, Chicago, IL
New Standard Jazz Orchestra Jazz Showcase Jazz Showcase
Chris Shuttleworth's Mortar Slate Slate
W/ Chris Dammann's Restroy Elastic Arts, Chicago, il Elastic Arts, Chicago, il
W/New Standard Jazz Orchestra Jazz Showcase, Chicago, Il Jazz Showcase, Chicago, Il
Logan Sq Arts Fest - James Davis Quintet Logan Square, Chicago, IL Logan Square, Chicago, IL
Official Disappearing Roads EP release date! Everywhere Everywhere
Dos Santos CD release Seeping Village, Chicago, IL Seeping Village, Chicago, IL
w/ Luke Malewicz Quintet Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL
w/ Luke Malewicz Quintet Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL Andy's Jazz Club, Chicago, IL
w/ Chris Dammann's Restroy Elastic, Chicago, IL Elastic, Chicago, IL
Waxahachie High School Jazz Cafe Waxahachie Civic Center, Waxahachie, TX Waxahachie Civic Center, Waxahachie, TX
w/ Patricia Barber Green Mill, Chicago, IL Green Mill, Chicago, IL
Greg Ward's Capturing Sunlight Constellation, Chicago, IL Constellation, Chicago, IL
Matt Ulery's Loom Large Constellation, Chicago, IL Constellation, Chicago, IL
w/ Matthew Golombisky Slate Arts Chicago, Chicago, IL Slate Arts Chicago, Chicago, IL


A unique combination of 2 flugelhorns, 2 bass clarinets, bass, and drums/percussion. Having played at many of Chicago’s great music venues including the Green Mill Lounge and Constellation, the band is gearing up for a recording project to document our fresh musical voice.
James Davis, Chad McCullough, Michael Salter, Anna Najoom, Daniel Thatcher, Juan Pastor

album: coming November, 2014

Trio - Features music by all parties in the trio, with the members playing some doubles including flugelhorn, tuba, electic bass, and melodica.
w/ Matt Ulery, basses Jon Deitemyer, drums

Free-wheeling quartet that plays electro-acoustic music.
w/ Tim Stine, Jeff Greene and Frank Rosaly

album: coming 2015

An “unconventional” 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

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. Highlight performances include guest artist appearance at my alma mater, Waxahachie High School in Waxahachie, TX on a tour from Chicago to Texas. w/ Caroline Davis-alto sax Sean McClusky-fender rhodes Jeff Greene-double bass Jon Deitemyer-drums

album: Angles of Refraction, 2007

This electro-acoustic rock/jazz/improv group plays music sometimes carefully composed and sometimes carefully uncomposed.  We’ve done a few tours from Chicago to NYC and down to Texas. w/ Caroline Davis-alto sax Dave Miller-guitar&effects Matthew Golombisky-bass&likable noise Quin Kirchner-drums

album: Magnetic Flux, 2007

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

Chicago-based sextet that melds the soul of traditional Klezmer, the energy of Bulgarian wedding music and the melodies of Turkish Gypsy music into an exciting original mix. w/ Bryan Pardo-clarinet/tenor sax Ari Seder-guitar Diana Lawrence-voice/melodica Patrick Mulcahy-bass Jim Barclay-drums/percussion

album: Balkano


Julie Meckler

Matt Ulery’s “By a Little Light”

Karl Schwonik Jazz Ensemble


Tomorrow Music Orchestra


Great Postmodern Nightmare Big Band

3.5.7 Ensemble

Ian Torres Big Band

Ben Scholz Electet

Jason Steele Messenger Collective