Kevin Davy is a London-based trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. In a career spanning three decades, he has amassed an extensive recorded discography, which includes work ranging from musical theatre to modern jazz and contemporary music. He has toured extensively with groups such as; Lamb, Adam F, Lemn Sissay’s Secret Society, and Finley Quaye.
Born in Nottingham in 1961 and relocating to Manchester in 1986 to study at Manchester Metropolitan University, Kevin attained a Bachelors of Arts degree in General Arts and remained in Manchester until 1994, becoming a well-known figure in the city’s vibrant arts and music scene and building strong affiliations with venues Band On The Wall and PJ Bells where he held long residencies.
In 1994 Kevin relocated to London to work as an actor-musician at the Donmar Warehouse on their acclaimed production of the Three Penny Opera, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Tom Hollander, and under the musical directorship of Gary Yershon, and Kate Edgar. This was a new translation from the German and a re-interpretation of the acclaimed original opera by Kirt Weil and Bertoldt Brecht.
Collaborations followed with the celebrated poet-writer; SuAndi OBE, and the theatre director of Black Mime and Streets Alive Theatre Companies; Denise Wong, as a musical collaborator and MD. This work was with young aspirant actors from the local community.
Also between 2008 and 2009, Kevin was trumpeter on a longstanding international tour with the acclaimed circus show;
Afrika Afrika, conceived by Andre Heller, choreographed by Georges Mamboye, and produced by Matthias Hoffman.
In the last few years, Kevin has returned to small ensemble jazz settings, notably his own quartet, while still making occasional appearances with larger groups, such as the UK/Caribbean Funk pioneers; CYMANDE
Kevin cites his main influences; Miles Davis; Freddie Hubbard; Hannibal Lokumbe; Lester Bowie; Don Cherry; Ahmed Abdullah;
Tomasz Stanko; Nils Molvaer Pederson; Harry Beckett; Jim Dvorak, and John Hassel, amongst others.
Musical Education and mentorship
In Nottingham, Kevin received trumpet tuition from Harry Hill, Sarah Theobald, and Gerald Douglas during the early to mid 1980s.
After relocation to Manchester, Kevin attended the Jazz workshop of Colin Stansfield at the then All Saints College which is now part of Manchester Metropolitan University (where there is a plaque honouring the 1945 Pan-African Congress in Manchester).
Colin Stansfield’s philosophy and approach to, jazz and improvisation, we a big influence on Kevin and his own search for a personal musical direction. Kevin attended the workshop for a few years, after which confidence was acquired to try out concepts and initiate music collaborative projects in Manchester
Kevin has also had significant mentorship and private trumpet lessons from Jim Dvorak, and Bobby Shew.
I am available for ONLINE lessons on SKYPE and ZOOM.
Kevin Davy is now one of the presenters on Jazz London Radio, and his show entitled:
Kevin Davy’s D’semble is broadcast at 9pm on Friday and 10pm on Sunday evenings, on a weekly basis.
Jazz London Radio Presenters
Look out for:
Kevin Davy’s D’semble is a long-term project, where I will work on original composition, and also my weekly radio Podcast on www.jazzlondonradio.com is called: Kevin Davy’s D’semble
82 shows have been broadcasted.
Kevin Davy’s Monster Jam @ has been based at Rich Mix Cultural Centre, Bethnal Green, London for over three years, but took a hiatus, promoting jams in Ryans, Stoke Newington, and presently, a monthly night at jam in a jar, green lanes, Haringey, London, entitled; EAT YOUR GREENs, in association with Paraphinalia and Tim Walker. This has proven very popular in this great medium sized venue and cafe.
The jam session is hosted by trumpeter Kevin Davy (ex-Lamb, Adam F, Finley Quaye, Lemn Sissay) who also acts as MD and MC. The event commences with a short set by the core band, (most frequently: Myke Wilson, on drums, Clive Hunte aka Busha, on bass, and Chris Jerome, on Piano), followed by the participation of guests. The projected visual artwork is by artist Cath Johnson, plus Deejay.
Kevin Davy’s Monster Jam has gone from strength to strength in its current home in the vibrant Bethnal Green venue, Rich Mix. The venue offers a vibrant shared space, welcoming a broad cross-section of the community. This venue has proven very suitable for the Monster Jam. The audiences have gradually built up over the last three years. Previously Kevin Davy has run similar jam sessions in various Manchester, and London venues, also at the jazz world backstage jams at Glastonbury Festival. His trumpet playing has featured on various live tours in the improvised music, jazz, hip hop /spoken word and drum ‘n’ bass genres, as well as rock music and funk. He has toured extensively with trip-hop duo, Lamb, as well as Adam F, during the first wave of drum ‘n’ bass. He has also been a long-time collaborator with improvisers, Dreamtime, which features U.S. trumpeter Jim Dvorak. Over the last few years, Kevin Davy has experimented with sound-scaping, and effects pedals with the trumpet to extend the sonic possibilities of the instrument in live settings. In the 90s he was heavily involved in collaborative projects around Brixton, with spoken word and jazz/world artists, and has recorded extensively. His main focus and interest over the years has been improvisation and the spontaneity which it can bring. His trumpet style is informed by Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and Lester Bowie, and has been compared with the playing of Charles Tolliver. “Such is their impact on the instrument; it is difficult to play the instrument without owing something of your style to these influential artists.”
During his time in Manchester, Kevin Davy attended Manchester Metropolitan University and received a BA General Arts (Humanities). His time there continues to inform his work.
With a background formerly in print, arts and aesthetics, he was able to apply aspects of these theories, some derived from workshops to the jams scenario.
The jam goes ahead from an improvisational perspective, but can incorporate themes and “heads”, but also working with groove and the swing, because this brings more possibility and flexibility.
Kevin Davy is also a guest of Manchester’s Roots Jam.
which is curated by Gerald Nguijoel, and features drummer, Myke Wilson, bassist Clive Hunte, and guitarist, Jeri Lindo
Kevin Davy has been a regular guest of The Sixth Element iQ, based in Pembrokeshire, which is led by saxophonist Alan Argent, and MD’d by local bassist Gary Smart, a stalwart of the Nik Turner (ex-Hawkwind) Band.
My personal and subjective opinion on the film: Miles Ahead:
AN IMPROVISED MUSIC SESSION LIVE ON RESONANCE FM RADIO.
FEATURING FOUR TRUMPETERS;
at the Cat's Back,
86-88 Point Pleasant,
ALL ARE WELCOME
KEVIN DAVY’S MONSTER JAM
THURSDAY 16TH JANUARY
AT THE CATS BACK
86-88 POINT PLEASANT
8:45PM TO 11:15PM
General photos from here and there over the years. Many thanks to the various photographers, including Toni Kofi, Jamal El Kadouri, Cath Johnson, and Julia Stranistor.
Photograph by Tony Kofi. at The Premises Rehearsal Studios, Hackney.