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“Rise Up Detroit” is more than just a Detroit-inspired jazz record. Taken individually, any one of the suite’s movements can stand alone as an outstanding piece of music; it has all the elements: beautiful composition, skillful arrangement, excellent musicianship … But Davis’s approach to “Rise Up Detroit” is much more deliberate, much more intentional. It’s wholistic. It’s storytelling.
In 1994, Xavier Davis was playing with his college ensemble at the International Association of Jazz Educators in Boston when legendary vocalist Betty Carter spotted him. Carter was so impressed with the talented young artist that she invited him to New York, hiring him exclusively as the pianist for her working trio.
Nearly 25 years later, Davis has played on more than 50 albums, including the Grammy-winning recordings “Bringin’ It” and “The Good Feeling,” by the Christian McBride Big Band, with whom he still plays. He has shared the stage and recorded with some of the jazz world’s most celebrated musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln, Steve Turre … the list goes on.
During his time in New York, he also played keyboard for the hit television series “Cosby,” worked as the Musical Director for the Boys Choir of Harlem, and taught in the Jazz Department of the Julliard School of Music for six years.