Kevin Davy was born in Nottingham, attending Carlton Le Willows Comprehensive School during the 70s. After leaving school. He served an apprenticeship as a compositor in the print trade and stayed in this industry for six years left with the industry qualifications. At the same time, Kevin was playing the trumpet and cornet in the brass band, and big band settings throughout the Nottinghamshire area. Having gathered experience from older musicians on the local circuit, Kevin attended auditions for Newark FE college and Clarendon FE college. He was accepted for music foundation course at both during 1984 and chose to attend Clarendon College. During this period Kevin took opportunities to play in a brass band, orchestra, big band, and small jazz ensembles which worked on contemporary material ala groups like Weather Report. Kevin decided to leave Nottingham after one year on the music foundation course, to take up the chance to of a DipHE (Diploma of Higher Education), and BA Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. The city of Manchester was more suitable for his ambitions to enter the world or world and improvised music. Kevin graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1990, with a Diploma of Higher Education, and a BA Degree in General Arts (Humanities). Subsequent to this he was active in attending and giving jazz and improvisation workshops in the inner city community of Manchester. Also playing trumpet and recording in a diversity of musical genres, thus gathering more experience on top of the experience gained in the Nottinghamshire music scene. By the early nineties, Kevin began to be firmly established in the Manchester music scene, being billed for prestigious concerts, gigs, and recordings.
Kevin left Manchester in the autumn of 1994 to take up the offer of trumpet seat with the Donmar Warehouse, London production of The Threepenny Opera. this was a highly successful adaptation and production, and Kevin subsequently worked with the company on the studio recording of the show. Over the following years since the production, Kevin has followed his heart and been involved in collaborative musical ventures with a variety of performance poets, jazz vocalists, improvisers, electronic musicians, and leading lights in the avant-garde, jazz and classical contemporary music scenes and sub-genres. More on this can be researched on the following site: www.kevindavy.co.uk
Over the years Kevin has run community jam sessions around the country, and worked with musicians from around the world with the likes of Streets Alive Theatre Company, and also CAN, Community Arts Manchester, with a mixture of those affected by homelessness, and those some of whom are asylum-seekers, and refugees.
During 1991 Davy was chosen to go to Poland, on a project partly funded by the Princes Trust, to work with blind jazz guitar genius, Roman Rahout, in Poznan, Poland.
This was very successful, leading to collaborations with Polish Jazz musicians and co-written music.
Currently, Kevin is London-based,
Described by the press as:
Improviser, band-leader, composer and trumpeter Davy tends towards the modal approach to jazz and improvised music, citing influences such as Hannibal Lokumbe, Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Tomas Stanko, Nils Molvaer Pederson, John Hassel, and others.
He is best known for international touring and recording with Lamb, Adam F, Two Banks of Four, as well as His own former groups, KDQ and Dsemble.
Davy has worked in JAZZ across musical genres in France, Switzerland, and Germany, artists such as;
Pibo Marquez(Venezuela), Sangoma Everett(USA), Shiek Tidiane Sek(Mali), Kresimir Debski(Warsaw, Poland), Roman Rauhut(Poznan, Poland) Paul Shigihara(Koln, Germany), and Doudou Gouirand(France) to name but a few.
Davy’s trumpet has featured on albums by Japanese producer Sugizo (Truth?, and Grand Cross), US vocalist Melissa Kaplan, The Crass Collective, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Ashley and Jackson, Chapter and the Verse, Adamski, Unabombers, and The Aliens.
Davy has performed on the European music festival circuit, including the Montreaux, and North Sea Jazz Festivals, as well as New York's revered Summerstage.
Fresh from an eight-month job, as a trumpeter with Afrika Afrika www.afrikaafrika.de
Kevin is now available for individual trumpet tuition, as well as improvisation and jazz workshops.
on Teaching etc. Revised background notes of interest. I would like to share this. I hope that it is of interest.
Of late, Kevin G. Davy has been featured on the 7th LAMB, studio album, entitled: "The Secret of Letting Go".
Kevin G. Davy also works with legendary U.K./West Indian/Caribbean group: CYMANDE
Kevin G. Davy, recently hosted, and led, Kevin G Davy Quintet, plays the Best of Dizzy Gillespie, at the Jazz Cafe in London.
Kevin G. Davy
The following are biographical and philosophical notes, which are relevant to my musical approach, and teaching.
I started playing when I was 14 years old, as a bugler in the 2nd Nottingham Boy's Brigade Company. One of my first mentors was the bandmaster J.W. Garton, who was a very ambitious man, in that he went against the grain in forming a marching band, which broke the mold and conventions of traditional BB bands in Nottingham, and the UK. The band later progressed from the basic drum and bugle instrumentation onto acquiring ever better musical instruments for outdoor routines and eventual participation in the burgeoning UK Drum Corps scene, eventually gaining championship status, as the Red Devils. I became lead trumpeter in the forerunner of the Red Devils in the late 70's and was inspired by a tour of Denmark with the band when I was about 16 years old. This all had a strong impression on me, as a youngster, and added to my musical foundation along with interest in my father's Ska music/bluebeat record collection at home, which was a staple of most Jamaican households, especially in the 60's and the 70s, the heyday of Jamaican and Caribbean music (and cricket), which was to make a global impact with such artists as Desmond Dekker, and Bob Marley et al. I was also interested in Louis Armstrong, and Jamaican saxophonist Roland Alphonso, who was one of the stars of Jamaican ska music. It was a combination of these things which inspired me to try to find a way of continuing my horn playing, after leaving the marching band at the age of 19. After this, I had stints in brass bands (the Carlton Silver Band, Nottingham, under Bernard Nolan), wind bands (Halcyon Days, with double-bassist John Wilmont), and various dance bands around the Nottinghamshire region. I sought out brass instrument tuition and musical theory tuition privately, picking up as much experience as I could, in the knowledge that I had begun learning music at a relatively late stage in my life. Then followed, a period of attendance at night school classes, and jazz summer schools attending live gigs, and listening to a lot of music, immersing myself in the sounds. I got encouragement from some older people who respected jazz music as an art-form, and its traditions. This motivated me, in later years, to try to help young musicians through facilitating jam sessions and workshops in the inner city. I am grateful that some people had placed some faith in me. I consider myself mostly an autodidact, even though I have had private lessons and attended various part-time courses over the years. I have a had a few trumpet teachers, and I place great value on their help and advice, but in the end, you have to put the hours into it yourself and find out if you can take it past the basic levels. Great teachers have been there for me having said all that. Great teachers inspire and get remembered. In a sense, great teachers live forever, in the memories of those they have taught and to whom they have passed on valuable information. I see it as guidance and motivation.
In 1982-83, I was a member for a few months of a Nottingham University-based group called Spot The Zebra, who were a post-Weather Report influenced group of musicians. I played with them in the local area, and also in the Dunkirk (France) Jazz Festival in 1983. It went from euphoria to a somewhat rough baptism for me during that early experience of playing gigs. I was somewhat out of my depth but really was motivated to keep on trying. That moment was to become a turning point for me, as to whether I would take the trumpet more seriously and continue playing or just quit. After leaving that band, I took some time out from the trumpet to think over the direction my life was taking. A few months later I picked it up again, and never looked back. From then on, I actively sought to take private trumpet lessons, and take theoretical and practical Grades in music. As a result, I was offered places on music foundation courses at two reputable FE colleges in Nottinghamshire, (Newark College, and Clarendon College). My day job since leaving school in 1978 to 1984 had been in the printing industry as a compositor (which was an arcane craft, using technology dating back to the Gutenberg era in Germany, and was in the throes of fierce battles with new technology, and government intentions to curb union power, and disallowing the closed shop). I left printing, and at the time side-stepped the natural progression which would have been into computer programming, word-processing, and IT in general, instead opting to find out where I could enter into full-time study. Eventually, I had progressed through all of these things to be offered a place at Manchester Polytechnic in 1986. I did a Diploma of Higher Education, and then completed a BA General Arts (Humanities), during which time I was playing trumpet all over Manchester in what I discovered was a vibrant and diverse music scene, just across the Pennines from Nottingham. I did some playing with African groups, who were heavily influenced by E. T. Mensah (Ghana), and Fela Kuti (Nigeria). These invariably had horn sections, with horn arrangements, and solo requirements. It was a good place to develop musically for me, and a good observation point to be situated in. There were also quite a few blues and jazz workshops centred around the historic jazz venue, Band On The Wall, in the northern quarter of Manchester. It was a great time to be in the city, as some important figures in the music scene were still around and active then, such as Steve Morris, the Band On The Wall founder. He was succeeded by Ian Croal, who currently runs the venue.
During my time as a student at Manchester Polytechnic, I enrolled on a Jazz and Improvisation evening class at the then All Saints College, where I met Colin Stansfield, who ran the jazz and improvisation workshop. The college has now been subsumed into the Manchester Metropolitan University campus, formerly the Polytechnic. Colin Stansfield had philosophies about music and improvisation, which were to deeply affect my own musical and creative direction, inform me, and also affirm some of my own ideas. It seemed to prepare the grounding for my own view of music and the range and scope of trumpet playing, and that it was not all meant to be one rigid or pedantic way or style of playing jazz, improvisation, or teaching. I consider this an important turning point. I was also then looking into free-jazz and its relevance to black civil rights movement in America, and the links between artistic / creative expression and political movements, as indicated by Imamu Amiri Baraka aka Leroy Jones, and Malcolm X et al. I did some of my own research and reading on this subject, and made it my degree thesis in my final year at Manchester Polytechnic.
So I had entered a vibrant and creative scene in Manchester, and there was plenty of cultures generally to absorb and to work on my trumpet playing. I have covered brass band music, some orchestral, big band, jazz ensemble, free improvised and experimental and electronic cross-genre styles of music. It only feeds the curiosity. This I hope to impart to students.
Kevin G Davy