Steve Davis is widely regarded as one of today’s leading improvisers on the trombone. His lyrical, hard-swinging style first gained him broad recognition during the 1990’s while working with the bands of jazz legends Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea’s Origin and the cooperative sextet, One For All. Steve has appeared in Downbeat Magazine’s Reader’s and Critic’s Polls numerous times, winning the TDWR (Rising Star) Trombone Category in 1998. Steve has also been recently nominated by The JJA four years in a row 2010-13 as Trombonist of the Year.
Davis’ most recent recordings For Real and Gettin’ It Done (Positone) feature his longtime musical colleagues Larry Willis and Nat Reeves along with drummer Billy Williams, saxophonists Abraham Burton (For Real), Mike DiRubbo and trumpeter Josh Bruneau (Gettin’ It Done). Steve has led his own groups at such venues as Smoke and Smalls Jazz Clubs in NYC, The Greater Hartford Jazz Festival, Baltimore’s Eubie Blake Center, The Richmond Jazz Society and Hartford Jazz Society, to name a few recent gigs.
In June 2010, Davis released Images: The Hartford Suite (Positone) featuring his exciting, new OUTLOOK Quintet. The music, all Davis originals, is a tribute to his home-own the past 25 years. Steve also released Live At Small’s feat. Larry Willis in 2009 to rave reviews. Davis followed in his mentor Curtis Fuller’s footsteps by joining saxophone legend Benny Golson’s New Jazztet, appearaing on the group’s new CD, New Time, New ‘tet (Concord). In addition, Steve’s collaboration with the late, great pianist Hank Jones can be heard on the critically acclaimed CD, ELOQUENCE (Sept 2009 Jazz Legacy Productions). Along with Davis and Jones, the stellar line-up includes Nat Reeves (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums) and special guests Steve Nelson (vibes), Roy Hargrove (trumpet) and John Lee (electric bass).
Born in Worcester, MA in 1967, Steve was raised in Binghamton, NY and graduated in 1989 from The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford, CT). It was Mc Lean’s guidance and recommendation that helped Davis land his first major gig with Art Blakey in NYC in Dec 1989. Returning to Hartford in 1992, Davis joined Mc Lean’s sextet and begin teaching alongside his mentor at both the Hartt School and Artist’s Collective. Steve has resided in Hartford ever since.
In recent years, Steve has been leading his own bands with more frequency including an all-star quartet featuring renowned pianist and frequent collaborator Larry Willis (Alone Together/Mapleshade 2006) and his exciting, new OUTLOOK QUINTET featuring rising stars Mike DiRubbo (alto sax), David Bryant (piano), Dezron Douglas (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums).
Steve also continues to perform and record with the well-known, collective unit One For All (Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber and Joe Farnsworth). The band has recorded 13 CD’s since 1997 for Sharp Nine, Criss Cross and Venus/Japan. Both their recordings and live performances have garnered rave reviews. Their latest effort, Incorrigible (Jazz Legacy Productions) rose to # 1 on the JazzWeek radio charts after just three weeks. Their previous release, Return Of The Lineup was featured in the Sept 2009 issue of JazzTimes and was # 1 on the JazzWeek radio playlist for three weeks last year. www.secondfloormusic.com began publishing One For All sextet charts in two sets, as recorded on the group’s first two CD’s, “Too Soon To Tell” (1997) and “Optimism” (1998) for Sharp Nine Records. For Steve Davis’ lead sheets and transcribed solos, also visit… www.jazzleadsheets.com
Ever in-demand as a sideman, Davis is featured on over 100 recordings. In recent years, “Stevie-D” (a nickname given to him by the late Jackie McLean) has worked regularly with a broad range of jazz icons including Larry Willis’ Quintet, Freddie Hubbard and The New Jazz Composers Octet, Slide Hampton and The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band (feat. James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Roy Hargrove), The Jimmy Heath Big Band, Ron Carter Big Band, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver and Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Davis continues to lead an active teaching career at the Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford) where he has been on faculty since 1991 and now teaches alongside longtime colleague Nat Reeves, Javon Jackson, Rene McLean, Abraham Burton, Eric McPherson, Shawnn Montiero, Chris Casey, Andy LaVerne, Rich Goldstein and Peter Woodard.
Steve also stays active on the CT jazz scene where he has been a key component in nurturing the rise of talented local players and former students who have gone on to make their name in the jazz world such as Jimmy Greene, Wayne Escoffrey, Julius Tolentino, Kris Allen, Haneef Nelson, James Burton, Dezron Douglas, Josh Evans, Lummie Spann, Ray McMorrin, Yunie Mojica, Raynel Frazier, Yusuke Imanashi, Andy Breskin, Craig Hartley, Adam Cote, Matt Deschamplain, Mike Pallas, Jovan Alexandre, Josh Bruneau, Shenel Johns, Jonathan Barber, Matt Dwonzsyk, Andrew Renfroe, Taber Gable, Brian Simontacci and many others… including his talented son, 19 yr-old guitarist Tony Davis.
Steve also continues his long-time affiliation with the Artist`s Collective (founded by Jackie and Dollie McLean) in Hartford, CT where he makes his home the Hartford area with his children Tony, Angie and Nicky.