Steve Davis- The Hartt School-University of Hartford
Utility NavTop NavContentLeft NavSite SearchSite SearchSite Search

Steve Davis

Associate in Music


Steve Davis bio photo

Steve Davis is widely regarded as one of today's foremost improvisers and voices on the trombone. 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 McLean's guidance and recommendation that helped Davis land his first major gig with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers in NYC in December 1989. Steve returned to Hartford in 1992 to join McLean's sextet and begin teaching alongside his mentor at both the Hartt School and Artist's Collective. Davis has resided in the Hartford area ever since, where he continues to raise his three children, teach full-time and nurture up-and-coming jazz musicians.  

Steve maintains an active performing career as well, appearing with Stevie Wonder & The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (Sept, 2014) and at The White House: A Tribute To Ray Charles (PBS Feb, 2016) with Christian McBride's Big Band & Special Guests including Usher, Demi Lovato & Yolanda Adams. Recently, Steve has toured Europe with Blue Train & Beyond (Feb 2015, Mar 2016) and has made recent appearances at such major festivals as NorthSea, Vienne and Antibes with Avishai Cohen's NY Division Sextet feat. Kurt Rosenwinkel (July 2015).  Davis performed and taught in Aug, 2015 at The Tokyo College of Music, Japan with an all-star lineup featuring Grant Stewart, Eric Alexander, Terrell Stafford, Harold Mabern, Nat Reeves & Lewis Nash. Also during 2015, Steve toured Canada & The US extensively, as well as taking his own quartet (featuring bassist and longtime Hartt/JMI colleague, Nat Reeves, Anthony Wonsey & Jason Tiemann) to headline The Utsav Jazz Festival in New Delhi, India. Locally, Steve Davis & Friends featuring Linda Ransom continue to perform to appreciative listeners weekly at Max Downtown in Hartford, CT.  

Davis’ latest CD release, Say When (Smoke Sessions) is his tribute to the great J.J. Johnson, "...our Bird, the Charlie Parker of trombone".  The recording has been extremely well-received, spending three weeks at #1 on the JazzWeek Radio Charts and features an all-star line-up with Harold Mabern - piano, Dr. Eddie Henderson - trumpet, Eric Alexander - tenor sax, Nat Reeves - bass, Joe Farnsworth - drums.  Steve's other recent CD release, For Real (2014, Posi-Tone) has received rave reviews and features Steve's long-time friends and collaborators, Larry Willis - piano, Nat Reeves - bass, Abraham Burton - tenor sax and dynamic, young drummer Billy Williams. This record includes all original compositions. Davis also has three previous releases with Posi-Tone - Outlook (2008), Images (2010), and Gettin’ It Done (2012), as well as his acclaimed Eloquence (2009, JLP), featuring the late-great, Hank Jones on piano.  

Ever in-demand as a sideman, Davis is featured on over 130 recordings, and continues as a member of the all-star sextet One For All (with 17 records to date).  One For All features Davis along with Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber & Joe Farnsworth. In May 2016, the band celebrates it's latest CD release, The Third Decade (Smoke Sessions)

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, Benny Golson, Hank Jones, Jimmy Heath, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver, Slide Hampton, and The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars (feat. James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Roy Hargrove), as well as Freddie Hubbard & The New Jazz Composers Octet, and with big bands led by Jimmy Heath, Ron Carter, Christian McBride, and Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Davis first gained broad recognition during the 1990's playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jackie McLean Sextet, Chick Corea & Origin and One For All (featuring Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, Peter Washington, Joe Farnsworth).  During the late 1990's - early 2000's, Steve also worked extensively with Avishai Cohen, playing on several of the bassist's early CD's, including Adama, Devotion, & Colors. It was Davis' association with Cohen that led to extensive work with Corea & Origin, as well as Chick's monumental 26-piece chamber orchestra/jazz quintet recording The Continents (2012).  Davis is scheduled to appear at The Blue Note, NYC Nov 2016 with Corea.

Davis continues to lead an active teaching career, not only as a long-time faculty member at the Hartt School's Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford) since 1991, but also as an in-demand visiting guest-clinician at high schools, colleges and universities nationally & internationally. Steve has taught the past 7 summers at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop at the University of Louisville, and the past 3 years at UMASS Jazz In July in Amherst, MA, as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Palo Alto, CA (2001-03, 2009, 2013). Davis also continues his long-time affiliation with the Artist’s Collective (founded by Jackie and Dollie McLean) in Hartford, CT. 

Some of Professor Davis' trombone students include James Burton, Emmett Goods, Yusuke Imanishi, Raynel Frazier, Kevin Sliwoski, Brian Simontacci and Nathan Davis, to name a few. Steve also enjoys performing regularly with his son, guitarist Tony Davis, who currently attends The Hartt School's Jackie McLean Institute.

Artist's website