When pianist Kris Davis was composing the pieces for Diatom Ribbons, she was musing about diatoms and larger themes of nature and science. She was also looking for opportunities to explore new musical relationships with drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and vocalist Esperanza Spalding (both Grammy winners) and ground-breaking turntablist Val Jeanty. Carrington, Jeanty and Spalding first worked with Davis on a series of tribute concerts to the late Geri Allen, and there were sparks right away. “We did ten concerts of Geri’s music,” Davis says, “so we were diving into her world. And then Cecil Taylor passed away not long after and I started revisiting all my favorite albums of his. Around this time I was also preparing to play some Monk compositions for the Monk Centennial. Between these concerts and playing/transcribing music by Olivier Messiaen, Henry Threadgill and Youssou N’Dour—there were all these influences going on here.”
Kris Davis is a critically acclaimed pianist and composer described by The New York Times as a beacon for “deciding where to hear jazz on a given night.” Since 2003, Davis has released 23 recordings as a leader or co-leader. She has collaborated with Terri Lyne Carrington, John Zorn, Craig Taborn, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Tom Rainey, Eric Revis, Stephan Crump and Eric McPherson, among others. In 2019, her album “Diatom Ribbons” was named jazz album of the year by both the New York Times and the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. She was also named a 2021 Doris Duke Artist alongside Wayne Shorter and Danilo Perez, 2020 Pianist of the Year by DownBeat magazine, and 2021 Pianist and Composer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. In 2016, Davis launched Pyroclastic Records to support artists whose expression expands beyond the commercial sphere. She subsequently formed a nonprofit organization to support the label’s work. In addition, Davis is the Associate Program Director of Creative Development at the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Davis is a Steinway Artist.