An In-Depth Look at Kris Davis and Diatom Ribbons Live at the Village Vanguard

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Mondays With Morgan: Kris Davis

Mondays With Morgan is a popular column in LondonJazz News by music journalist Morgan Enos. This week, Enos interviewed pianist and composer Kris Davis about her latest album release, Diatom Ribbons Live at the Village Vanguard, which features her ensemble, Diatom Ribbons. The album can be purchased here.

Diatom Ribbons: A Transparent Ensemble

Diatom Ribbons is an innovative ensemble that is not only influenced by 20th-century luminaries like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Sun Ra, but also incorporates their recorded remarks into their performances. Turntablist Val Jeanty seamlessly interweaves these quotes, creating a unique and captivating musical experience.

The Bird Suite and Modular Performances

In their birdcall-inspired “Bird Suite”, Diatom Ribbons showcase their modular approach to music. For example, “Parasitic Hunter”, the third part of the suite, incorporates soundbites of Stockhausen discussing “intuitive music” from a 1972 lecture. The ensemble often plays with the structure of their pieces, allowing for improvisation and a fluid, evolving musical experience.

Overcoming Challenges at the Village Vanguard

Recording two nights at the historic Village Vanguard proved to be a laborious task for the ensemble due to the pandemic. Despite the hurdles, the group successfully recorded various original pieces and interpretations, creating a captivating and inspiring live album.

An Interview with Kris Davis

In a candid interview, Kris Davis discussed the development of Diatom Ribbons, her approach to prepared piano, and the importance of continuing the fight for gender equity in jazz.

The Evolution of Diatom Ribbons

Davis explained that the initial Diatom Ribbons album was more of a project-based recording, while the live album allowed the group to develop their sound and explore different interpretations of the music.

Prepared Piano and Electronic Synthesis

When asked about her approach to prepared piano and electronic music, Davis stated that she views prepared piano as another layer to tap into, allowing her to create different textures and enhance the overall sound of the ensemble.

The Road Ahead and Addressing Gender Justice in Jazz

On the topic of gender justice in jazz, Davis expressed the importance of continuing to raise awareness and work towards equality. She highlighted that this is not just a moment, but an ongoing movement that requires collective effort. As for her future projects, Davis plans to perform at the Monterey festival and record a piano trio album with Johnathan Blake and Robert Hurst.

About Me

I’m Dr. Miles Beaumont from the charming town of York in the UK. I’ve spent over three decades as a medical doctor, helping people and contributing to important research. I graduated from Oxford University, and ever since, I’ve devoted myself to improving the health and lives of others.

When I’m not practicing medicine, you’ll find me soaking up the world of jazz music. It’s been a passion of mine since I turned 30, and I’ve been an active part of York’s jazz scene ever since. Whether it’s going to local gigs, listening to records at home, or just enjoying the rhythmic and improvisational magic of jazz, it’s a big part of who I am.