Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Rick Davies moved to New York City in the late 1970s and worked there as a trombonist and composer/arranger for more than twenty years before joining the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh in 2000. Davies has primarily focused his creative efforts in the areas of salsa, Latin jazz, and Afro-Caribbean music.
Rick Davies continues to appear regularly with Salsa Picante in venues around the world. Among the places he has appeared with the band are Tokyo, Sydney, Budapest, Amsterdam, Great Britain, and Colombia. Davies is the leader of the Latin jazz band Jazzismo and in 2006 produced his second album of original compositions called Siempre Salsa. Many of the selections on the CD have been international hits in among other places Italy, Japan, and Cali, Colombia. In March of 2007, a version of Jazzismo featuring Alex Stewart on saxophone and a number of local musicians performed at various venues in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Published works: As a scholar, Davies has written several monographs, chapters, and articles primarily about Afro-Cuban music and salsa. His book, Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style, was released in May 2003 by Scarecrow Press. He contributed a chapter on Alfredo "Chocolate” Armenteros to Music From Cuba (Praeger Press, 2001). Other articles he has written include "The Cuban Sonero: Beny Moré and Miguelito Cuní,” "Miguelito Valdés, the First Salsa Superstar,” "The Latin Jazz Continuum,” and "Americanizing the Eurocentric Music Curriculum”.
Memorable performances: Davies remains very active as a performer. He has recorded with the rock group Blondie as well as with Michael Jackson and Wyclef Jean. Davies also did live appearances with Wyclef for President and Mrs. Clinton and at the Giants stadium Netaid concert. He filmed a VH1 Storytellers episode with Wyclef and the Refugee All-Stars. Davies has traveled extensively with the Big Apple Circus.
Groups accompanied: On the salsa, Afro-Caribbean, and Latin jazz scenes, he has performed with many artists and groups (Tito Puente, Johnny Colon, Charlie Palmieri, Marc Anthony, Skah Shah, Ti Manno, Tabou Combo, Arrow, Rey Reyes, Johnny Ray, Manny Oquendo’s Libre, etc.) and recorded on over one hundred albums. For over a decade, he was the musical director of Wayne Gorbea’s Salsa Picante, performing, composing and arranging works for the group’s popular recordings. A long association with Jaki Byard and his Apollo Stompers is one highlight of Davies’ mainstream jazz credits. He is featured on Byard’s Phantasies II recording.
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