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Kris Davis: Good Citizen

The pianist-composer takes stock of her journey

Kris Davis debuts Infrasound at Roulette in Brooklyn, Jan. 2014
Kris Davis (left) and Ingrid Laubrock at NYC's The Stone in June 2014

It’s no small honor to land a six-night residency at the Stone, a dark and cramped room in Lower Manhattan that nonetheless remains one of the world’s leading avant-garde music venues. Recent invitees have included Bill Laswell, Joe Lovano, Steve Coleman, Tim Berne and Uri Caine. When we met up with pianist Kris Davis, she was preparing for her own six nights in residence, from June 24-29. To look over the lineups was to think anew about her prolific output and steady ascent as one of the most distinctive musicians of her time.

Davis was planning a solo piano set along the lines of her CDs Aeriol Piano and Massive Threads. She would lead the quintet heard on her 2013 Clean Feed release Capricorn Climber. She’d also play in bands led by drummer Tom Rainey, bassist Kermit Driscoll and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock. “On Friday I’m doing a pared-down version of Infrasound,” Davis said, referring to the band with four bass clarinets that premiered early this year at Brooklyn’s Roulette. “On Sunday, Ingrid, [guitarist] Mary Halvorson and I are playing trio. I call that Death Rattle because I wanted something so unfeminine. We have a really cool connection between the three of us, though it ended up being kind of tonal and pretty. Perfect, Death Rattle!”

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