|"Mark has the touch of Teddy Wilson and the lines of Bud Powell."|
-jazz legend Slide Hampton
"Mark Davis is a world class pianist."
-jazz trumpeter and 2007 Grammy Award winner Brian Lynch
|Pianist Mark Davis has been a mainstay of the Milwaukee jazz scene for nearly
twenty-five years. His performances display a strong sense of tradition,
incorporating the innovations of the bebop masters while still keeping an ear
to more modern sensibilities. Whether playing solo or backed by a hard-swinging
rhythm section, he features unique arrangements of jazz standards as well as
originals that bear the influence of jazz icons such as Bill Evans and Bud
He began classical piano studies at age eight and soon took to improvising and
composing. His teachers at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music included
Adelaide Banaszynski and David Hazeltine. He later studied with jazz legend
Barry Harris who remains one of Mark's primary inspirations as a player and
educator. Mark began performing in Milwaukee jazz clubs while still a teenager.
He gained early experience playing in groups led by local stars such as
Berkeley Fudge, Manty Ellis and Hattush Alexander. After completing high
school, his interest in visual art led him to pursue an art degree from
Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. He graduated in 1990 with
highest honors. In 1992, after returning to Milwaukee, Mark began teaching at
the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. He soon became Chair of Jazz Studies,
overseeing one of the longest running jazz programs in the United States. Mark
has taught many musicians of the local jazz scene and also mentors many young,
up-and-coming musicians. Many have gone on to successful careers outside of
Milwaukee, most notably Dan Nimmer who has been the pianist with Wynton
Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra since 2005. Mark is also on the
music faculty of Cardinal Stritch University, Wisconsin Lutheran College and
As a performer, Mark can frequently be heard performing as a soloist and as a
member of various groups in and around Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. In 2002,
he formed the group We Six. The group has served as a showcase for his
compositions and arrangements as represented on the 2005 We Six CD "Bird Say".
Mark has shared the stage with many internationally known performers,
including: Jimmy Heath, Charles McPherson, Slide Hampton, Frank Morgan, Brian
Lynch, Eric Alexander, Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling,
Richie Cole, Jim Rotundi, Steve Davis, Joe Farnsworth, One For All, Richard
Davis, Mark Vinci, Lynn Seaton, Elliot Zigmund, Joe Magnarelli, John Webber,
Billy Peterson, Skip Bey, Bob Rockwell, Phil Wilson, Jackie Allen, Doc
Severinsen, Greg Abate, Gerald Cannon, Jeff Chambers, Steve Rodby, George
Fludas, Dave Pietro, Yoron Israel and Tiger Okoshi.
Mark has done work for the Hal Leonard Corporation including transcriptions forMiles Davis: Kind of Blue for their Transcribed Score Series. He has also made
numerous recordings for their Real Book Play-Along CD series.
Quotes from reviews:
"Mark Davis, a masterful pianist..."
"...is flawless and exciting."
Jim Adashek - Shepherd Express
"A treasure of jazz piano."
"Davis prodigiously adds modern harmonies and rhythms to standards."
Jeff Bentoff - Milwaukee Magazine
"Davis' technique and sensitivity show sophistication and maturity."
Joe Kutchera - Milwaukee's Downtown Edition
"...plays lyrical and confident interpretations of jazz standards"
"a great teacher"
Joe Kutchera - Shepherd Express
"Mark Davis is a skilled and fluid pianist...sophisticated."
Gordon Spencer - Milwaukee Magazine
"The (Berkeley) Fudge / (Mark) Davis match-up is reminiscent of
the contrast between (John) Coltrane and McCoy Tyner - Berkeley the more florid
soloist with notes crowding the measure, and Mark with his bright voicings and
expansive chord clusters that slowly build to climax."
-- excerpt from "Trane Stop" by Carol Klein
Milwaukee's "Metro" Newspaper
"Musically and personally, pianist Mark Davis - who composed this pretty ballad
("Kathleen") - reminds me of his mentor, David Hazeltine."
-- excerpt from the WYMS Jazz Sampler CD liner notes
by Mike Drew (critic, columnist, WYMS Friends Board)
"The house trio - Mark Davis, piano; Jeff Hamann, bass; and David Bayles, drums
- showed the benefits of long-term collaboration. They listened, they pushed
each other a bit, they swung. You can't ask for much more than that."
-excerpt from Slide Hampton concert review by Paul Kosidowski
"(Charles McPherson) drove the much younger Conservatory rhythm section-bassist
Jeff Hamann, drummer Dave Bayles and, especially, pianist Mark Davis - to peak
performances. On Ray Noble's "Cherokee," always an advanced placement exam in
up-tempo sprints, all played their extremities off."
-excerpt from Charles McPherson concert review by Mike Drew
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"If jazz is your thing, this is a group to treasure."
-excerpt from review of We Six
Jim Adashek-Shepherd Express
Mark Davis has appeared on the following recordings:
|"Bird Say" - We Six|
(Available for $15 plus postage from firstname.lastname@example.org)
Keeping the tradition of great jazz music that has come out of
Conservatory of Music, this debut CD from WE SIX was produced by Mark Davis and features three of Mark's compositions
with 6 more original jazz compositions by Mike Plog and Paul Silbergleit.
|"A Taste of Jazz in the Park 2005"|
This limited edition CD features one track from each of the
artists (including Mark Davis with "We Six") that appeared
the 2005 Jazz
in the Park season.
|"Let It Go" - Jeno Somlai|
(ISBN 2-8800740098-0 © 2004)
This recent CD by Milwaukee percussionist Jeno Somlai includes
playing on one of Jeno's compositions "Libby".
|"Bonifas Quartet" - Bill Bonifas|
(ISBN 6-6618246504-6 © 2001)
This debut CD by Milwaukee guitarist Bill Bonifas spotlights
playing throughout the album.
|"The WYMS Jazz Sampler"|
(WMYS WMYS196 © 1996)
This benefit CD for Milwaukee's Jazz Radio Station WYMS includes
Milwaukee's talented jazz musicians and features Mark
"Kathleen" as well as his piano playing on Paul
|"Silberglicity" - Paul Silbergleit|
(Silberspoon Productions SSP1001 © 1996)
This excellent CD by Milwaukee jazz guitarist Paul Silbergleit
Davis' piano playing on all 11 songs and includes two Mark
"Ociana" and "Kathleen"