Faculty Member, Steve Davis
  1. Faculty

Steve Davis

Roots, Jazz, and American Music | Jazz Trombone

"Steve Davis is the Poet Laureate of the trombone." —Chick Corea


  • BM, University of Hartford


  • Chick Corea’s My Spanish Heart Band
  • Christian McBride Big Band
  • One For All

What is your hometown?

Binghamton, NY

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Baseball and history.

Who were your major teachers?

Jackie McLean, Al Lepak, and Nat Reeves.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Are you walking, talking music without the horn in your hands?”

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

Watching my Nana (grandmother) play stride piano gigs when I was a child.

What was a turning point in your career?

Being recommended to Art Blakey by Jackie McLean.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

Journalist or historian (writer).

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

JJ Johnson, Horace Silver, and Wayne Shorter.

What are your most important collaborations?

Correlations Sextet, Larry Willis Quintet, and One For All.

Who are three students you have had the privilege of teaching?

Jimmy Greene, James Burton, Jr., and Joshua Bruneau.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Steve Davis' "Correlations" Sextet; Steve Davis Quintet feat. Larry Willis, "Live At Smalls"; Benny Golson, "New Time, New 'tet"; Jimmy Heath Big Band, "Togetherness" (Live at The Blue Note); Alexis Cole w/ One For All "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To"

What is your unrealized project?

Recording a standards album with strings, vocalist, and rhythm section.



Steve Davis is widely regarded as one of today’s leading improvisers on the trombone. Davis has appeared in Downbeat Magazine’s Readers and Critics Polls numerous times, winning the TDWR (Rising Star) Trombone Category in 1998. Davis has also been recently nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association four years in a row (2010-2013) as Trombonist of the Year.

Davis’ most recent recordings, For Real and Gettin’ It Done (Positone), feature his longtime musical colleagues Larry Willis and Nat Reeves along with drummer Billy Williams, saxophonists Abraham Burton (For Real) and Mike DiRubbo, and trumpeter Josh Bruneau (Gettin’ It Done). Davis has led his own groups at such venues as Smoke and Smalls Jazz Clubs in NYC, the Greater Hartford Jazz Festival, Baltimore’s Eubie Blake Center, the Richmond Jazz Society, and Hartford Jazz Society, to name a few recent gigs.

Born in Worcester, MA in 1967, Davis was raised in Binghamton, NY and graduated in 1989 from The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford, CT). In 1992, Davis joined McLean’s sextet and begin teaching alongside his mentor at both the Hartt School and Artist’s Collective.

Ever in-demand as a sideman, Davis is featured on over 100 recordings. In recent years, “Stevie-D” (a nickname given to him by the late Jackie McLean) has worked regularly with a broad range of jazz icons including Larry Willis’ Quintet, Freddie Hubbard and The New Jazz Composers Octet, Slide Hampton and The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band (feat. James Moody, Jimmy Heath, and Roy Hargrove), The Jimmy Heath Big Band, Ron Carter Big Band, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver, and Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.