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Mobile since her birth in Singapore, composer, and saxophonist Caroline Davis lives in Brooklyn, New York. 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 2012. Her second album, Doors: Chicago Storylines, is an audio documentary that uniquely sets stories from Chicago’s jazz scene from the 80s and 90s alongside her original music. In 2018, she won the Downbeat Critic’s Poll “rising star” in the alto saxophone category. Caroline’s third album, Heart Tonic, was released on Sunnyside Records to much acclaim in NPR, the New York Times, and DownBeat. Davis’ self-titled Alula, featuring Matt Mitchell and Greg Saunier, was released on New Amsterdam Records in May of 2019.

She has shared musical moments with a diverse group of musicians, from jazz to improvised and composed music, recently including Lee Konitz, Angelica Sanchez, Matt Mitchell, Miles Okazaki, Matt Wilson, and Billy Kaye. Her regular collaborations include Maitri and Persona (with Rob Clearfield). In March of 2019, she was a composer-in-residence at the esteemed MacDowell Colony, and was awarded the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship for her work for 2019-20.

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, Stanford Jazz Institute for the past 3 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.

In this episode, we talked about:

  • How always being mobile has influenced her saxophone playing and composing
  • The influence of some of her mentors on her playing, Jimmy Greene and Teddy Edwards
  • How she got started with teaching at summer jazz camps
  • She details her practice regimen, including her unique approach to scale and long tone practice
  • and much more

Here’s where you can find Caroline online:


Purchase CD’s: