Caroline Davis

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Mobile since her birth in Singapore, composer, saxophonist, and educator CAROLINE DAVIS now lives in Brooklyn, New York. After making her mark on the Chicago jazz community during her 8-year stint there, she moved to New York in 2013, and has proven to be an active leader and sidewoman in the national jazz scene.

She has shared musical moments with a diverse group of musicians, including Matt Wilson, Ellis Marsalis, Matt Mitchell, Randy Brecker, Bobby Broom, Greg Saunier, Ron Miles, Dennis Carroll, Erin McKeown, Allison Miller, Jenny Owen Youngs, and Billy Kaye. Aside from her own quintet, she collaborates regularly with R&B indie band, Maitri, and has been a regular member of many outfits including Whirlpool, Fatbook, Deep Fayed, Matt Mitchell’s Sprees, Billy Kaye Quintet, Paul Bedal Quintet, Orso, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Caili O’Doherty Group, Dion Kerr Group, Elliot Ross, Charles Rumback Group, and Materials and Their Destiny.

Her debut album, Live Work & Play, was featured on All About Jazz’s best releases, and she was named one of JazzTimes’ Best New Artists in the 2012 Expanded Critics’ Poll. Her second album, Doors: Chicago Storylines, was just released as an audio documentary that uniquely sets stories from Chicago’s jazz scene from the 80s and 90s alongside her original music. Doors has brought her much acclaim in recent issues of DownBeat and JazzTimes.

As an educator, Caroline brings her unique knowledge of music and psychology to her teaching, as she acquired a Ph.D. in Music Cognition at Northwestern University in 2010. She has been on the faculty at Litchfield Jazz Camp for the past 10 years, and has been a guest educator at Northwestern University, University of Colorado at Boulder, St. Xavier University, Columbia College, DePaul University, University of Texas at Arlington, Loyola University, Texas Tech, New Trier High School, Evanston Township High School, Denver School of the Arts, Newman Smith High School, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has also participated in several jazz mentorship programs, including IAJE’s Sisters in Jazz and the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program.

Gemma often works with choreographers, poets, visual artists, and theatre practitioners. She frequently collaborates with Australian director Benita de Wit and Thai-Australian playwright and artist Anchuli Felicia King. Her work has been performed and commissioned by Third Coast Percussion, PUBLIQuartet, Rubiks Ensemble, ~Nois Saxophone Quartet, cellist Nick Photinos, the JACK Quartet, the Desdemona Quartet, Fresh Squeezed Opera, the 21st Century Consort, and Alarm Will Sound. She is co-founder of composer collective Kinds of Kings. Described by The New Yorker as “distinguished young creators who work in diverse styles,” the collective focuses on amplifying and advocating for underheard voices in music and producing immersive and inclusive work.

Bagg creatively leads and performs with her band Pavo Pavo, whose music “sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future” (Stereogum). Critically acclaimed for its "washed-out playfulness and wistful exuberance" (The Guardian), Pavo Pavo will release their second album, Mystery Hour, on Bella Union in early 2019. She also writes, records, and performs a solo future-pop performance project as LISEL. 

Bagg has performed with ensembles such as Roomful of Teeth, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, HOWL, A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOW Ensemble, TENET, Conspirare, and Victoire (among others). Recent work with electronic, pop, and indie-rock artists include Lorde, Tim Hecker, GABI, Olga Bell, Nick Zammuto, Helado Negro, Julianna Barwick, and San Fermin. Other recent performances include Michael Gordon's opera Acquanetta at the 2018 Prototype Festival, and appearances at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's musicNOW series, Duke Performances, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kitchen, the Guggenheim, Infinite Palette, Alice Tully Hall, Tanglewood, Iceland Airwaves, and the Ecstatic Music Festival.

Bagg graduated in 2012 with a BA in Music from Yale University. She was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina where she spent most of her time playing violin and studying modern dance. 


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