Experiencing the Kris Davis Quintet live in concert is to appreciate why she has been hailed in the press as an expert soundscapist.
This Sunday, the quintet, with Davis leading the pack, appears at Bohemian Caverns as part of a tour to promote her latest release, "Capricorn Climber." She and fellow musicians Mat Maneri on viola, Ingrid Laubrock on saxophone, Tom Rainey at the drums and Michael Formanek on bass, perform the entire CD, as well as presenting additional improvisational renderings.
"These are all my original compositions," Davis said. "There are no vocals -- some whistling on this one. But that's as far as I go."
As a minimalist composer, her music encompasses the dissonant sounds of seemingly random chords, negative spaces and what she calls "a lot of different textures in places; spacious, with a moody atmosphere [and] everything in between." She concedes that it takes a great deal of training to pull all of that off effectively, as in "less is more."
|Kris Davis Quintet|
|Where: Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW|
|When: 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday|
|Info: $15 advance, $20 at the door; 202-299-0800; bohemiancaverns.com|
The Vancouver-born Davis began playing piano when she was 6 years old, studying classical music through the Royal Conservatory in Canada. At 12, when she joined her school's jazz band, she knew music would forever be a part of her life. She received a bachelor's degree in jazz piano from the University of Toronto and a master's in classical composition from the City College of New York, where she currently lives and teaches at the School for Improvisational Music.
"There's a pretty fine line here [between] new and new classical music and improvised music," she said. "I compose a lot, and that's a big part of my musical life. I get a lot of inspiration from composing."