Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine


July/August 2010: Hank Jones

Quincy Davis: Quiet Riot

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Winnipeg is about to welcome an outstanding jazz musician, gifted educator, and all around great person. Drummer, composer, and bandleader Quincy Davis has been a staple of the New York jazz scene for 10 years, and it is truly exciting to know that his considerable talents on the bandstand and in the classroom will now be shared with young players and experienced band directors at the U of M Summer Jazz Camp.

In jazz circles in New York and beyond, Quincy Davis is lauded for his supreme tastefulness, centered groove, deep understanding of the jazz language, and deft, sensitive touch on the drums. He has shared the stage with many of jazz’s greatest musicians, including Tom Harrell, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, and Regina Carter, to name just a few. He has performed and recorded with his own band as well. Quincy’s compositions and arrangements are well-crafted gems, and speak to his command of melody, harmony, and phrasing, a command rivaled by few in the jazz world whose primary instrument is the drum set.

Quincy’s musical background is rich, and music runs deep in his family. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, his earliest teachers were his father, a noted vocal jazz educator (yes, Quincy can sing!), and his mother, a pianist and educator. Quincy’s older brother, Xavier, is a brilliant jazz pianist and composer—the two of them spent hours playing together in the basement as kids.

Quincy completed high school at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in 1995, then studied drum set with jazz legend Billy Hart at Western Michigan University. Upon graduation, Quincy taught elementary and middle school band in Grand Rapids for a year, gaining valuable and practical experience in the classroom.

In 2000, the pull of New York’s jazz universe simply became too strong to resist, and Quincy moved to the Big Apple. New York embraced him with open arms, and his calendar has been full ever since. He and his brother Xavier were members of Tom Harrell’s quintet, and I had the pleasure of touring the world with that group for over four years. On stage and in the studio, Quincy handled the considerable demands of Tom’s highly original music with grace and skill. To hear it for yourself, check out his fabulous playing on Tom’s recordings Live at the Village Vanguard (RCA, 2001) and Wise Children (RCA, 2003).

During our time on the road and in the studio, I got to know Quincy well, and I count him as a good friend. As his playing shows, he is smart, focused, witty, easy-going, and friendly. He’s a kind-hearted soul, the kind of person you’d welcome eagerly into your home. In fact, as Xavier and I used to joke when we were out on tour, there’s not a place on earth that Quincy doesn’t have a friend.

So, friendly Manitobans, let’s count ourselves blessed to have such a talented, accomplished, and personable musician in our midst. Students at the Jazz Camp and audiences at the Jazz on the Rooftop concert are about to find out what New York’s jazz community has known for some time now: in all settings, “Q” is a perfect fit.


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