Travellin’ Light

Kris Davis
Answers 20 Questions About Life on the Road

Kris Davis                                                                                                                Courtesy of Kris Davis

Originally from Vancouver, Davis studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music and received her Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto. She attended the Banff Centre for the Arts jazz program in 1997 and 2000. Davis received a Canada Council grant in 2002 to relocate to New York and study composition with Jim McNeely and in 2006 was awarded another Canada Council grant to study extended piano techniques with pianist Benoit Delbecq in Paris, France.

Davis began initiating her own projects soon after arriving in New York, beginning with her quartet with Tony Malaby, Eivind Opsvik and Jeff Davis. She also leads a trio with John Hebert and Tom Rainey. Davis’ collaborative projects include the RIDD quartet (with Jon Irabagon, Rueben Radding and Jeff Davis), SKM Trio (with Stephen Gauci and Michael Bisio) and Paradoxical Frog (with Ingrid Laubrock and Tyshawn Sorey). In addition to her own projects, Davis has worked with, among others, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Ingrid Jensen and Tony Malaby. She teaches at the Maine Jazz Camp and Queens College’s Preparatory Jazz Studies program.

Aeriol Piano, Davis’ first solo piano recording, was recently issued on Clean Feed. Her upcoming performance schedule includes concerts with Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House, Tony Malaby’s Novela and her quintet with Mat Maneri, Oscar Noriega, Michael Fomanek and Ches Smith.

For more information on Kris Davis, consult:

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What is the most difficult airline to deal with in terms of instruments and equipment?

N/A – I play piano!

Which airline has the worst economy seating and food?

There’s some stiff competition there - I just few Lufthansa, so they are fresh in my mind.

Which airport is craziest for making connecting flights?

London Heathrow.

What is the most important thing you ever forgot to pack?


What is your worst lost baggage story? 

I don’t have one because I always carry on.

What country hassles musicians the most at customs and passport checks? 

Definitely the Canada/US border.  I have gone through interrogations that lasted over three hours.

Which city has the worst cab drivers?

I was sure I was going to lose my life in an Italian cab.

What is the best hotel that a presenter has provided for you?

The Bimhuis - the Movenpick Hotel in Amsterdam.

Do you travel with a laptop or a PDA? If so, how many times a day do you check your e-mail?

I travel with my iPhone; it’s compact. When traveling I usually check it about once a day.

Do you listen to music on the road? If so, what device do you use?

Yes, the iPhone.

Do you do your own laundry on the road?

I try not to do laundry on the road if I can help it.

What is your most nightmarish sound check to date?

The kind where you can no longer make eye contact or converse with the sound person by the end.

What is the scariest food that has been laid out for you backstage?


What are your three favorite venues?

In NYC, I like playing at the Stone, Cornelia Street Cafe and the Jazz Gallery.

Which cities have the best restaurants for late after-gig meals?

New York!

Which cities have the best after-hours sessions?

Not sure.

What is the best city that closes down too early?

Not sure.

What is the best locale to have a day off?

I love Portugal!

What is your cure for jet lag?

Sleeping pills and acceptance.

What is your best tip for the novice?

Sleeping pills and acceptance.

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