Over the last couple of years in New York one method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis. She has been playing in town for 10 years, but her gigs have become almost constant: with the bassist Eivind Opsvik, the saxophonists Tony Malaby and Ingrid Laubrock, the drummer Tyshawn Sorey and others. It was only a matter of time before she became unavoidable on record, and now’s that time. Ms. Davis’s style is wide, and dependent on its context: a kind of tour of post-free jazz and contemporary classical music, Keith Jarrett to Cecil Taylor to Morton Feldman. Her own work can be cerebral and darting and easy to grasp, as on the solid new record by the Kris Davis Trio, “Good Citizen” (Fresh Sound), with the bassist John Hebert and the drummer Tom Rainey. Somewhere in the middle of the scale, mildly experimental, is “Three” (Clean Feed), by the drummerless SKM Trio, with the saxophonist Stephen Gauci and bassist Michael Bisio. And on “Paradoxical Frog” (Clean Feed), in a trio with Ms. Laubrock and Mr. Sorey — a frequently stunning record, and so far one of this year’s best — she bounces among extremes of quiet and attack, changing her role drastically from track to track.
Jan 24, 2013