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.


“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)



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