LHI Live: Jazz Pianist Xavier Davis

Aug 5, 2016

Xavier Davis in the Takeda studio at WMUK.
Credit Keith Hall

Jazz Currents host Keith Hall talks to a longtime friend, jazz pianist Xavier Davis, a prominent performer, educator, arranger and producer in the world of jazz today.  In his WMUK visit, Davis plays a few requests from Hall, including his own modern standard, "The Message," and Thelonius Monk's "Pannonica." 

Davis was raised in a musical family in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a student at Western Michigan University, Davis had to make a life-changing decision when he was asked to join singer Betty Carter's band, which was based in New York City. A few credits shy of his degree, he nevertheless took the plunge, with help from his then-band mate Keith Hall.

After a period of intense performing under the watchful eye of Carter, Davis went on to perform with dozens of top jazz players, including Tom Harrell, Regina Carter, Christian McBride, Abbey Lincoln, and Wynton Marsalis. Now an associate professor of jazz piano at Michigan State University, he tells Hall about his recent and upcoming recording projects.