Following their musical heart, The J. Davis Trio continues to thrive. They thrive not only because of their connection to real hip hop and jazz music, but also because of their ability to grow and change. Starting as trio, they now have as many as 8-10 people on stage, utilizing many types of instrumentation and styles. Their independence has allowed them to explore and incorporate from unexpected sources, resulting in a sound uniquely their own. Began as an actual trio with Julio Davis/vocals, Dave Smith/bass & Tone Aimone/drums, they realized that in order to play live, they needed another element. Paula Pergl came and provided flute for awhile. When she left, she was soon replaced by long time member, mulit-instrumentalist, Dave Winer. The J.Davis Trio arrived on the Chicago scene with their debut eponymous album, The J.Davis Trio, in 1999 where they created national buzz with a North American tour that included famous Chicago venues like The Metro, The House of Blues, the historic Green Mill Jazz club, and many colleges in the midwest. Tours to the east coast, the CMJ Music Fest in New York, down to the SXSW Music Fest in Austin, TX., to L.A. soon followed
Their next album "The New No. 2" released in 2002 reflected a leap in their development and saw them working with many great Chicago artists. Rappers like Cap D from All Natural and Juice made an appearance, as well as musicians like Jeff Parker from Tortoise and Paul Mertens of The Brian Wilson Group. This effort was well received by critics:
"These four local musicians bill their inventive sound as "rap music for the rest of us". Think of it as Chicago's answer to the fluid, jazzy musically challenging hip-hop of the Roots, and revel in the smart, sexy grooves of their solid debut* album."
-Jim Derogatis Chicago Sun Times.
""This local hip-hop outfit--a quartet, not a trio--makes it's backing tracks the hard way, getting their grooves mostly from real bass and drums. Ron of Japan's trumpet skitters around them, but competes only slightly with rapper Stuart's lucid poetry, which would give these guys an edge even if they used samples."
Monica Kendrick Chicago Reader.
The band released their next album, "These Things Happen" in 2007.
This project saw them reunite with Julio Davis' original rap crew, Chicago legends Stony Island, as well as vocal and musical cameos by Poi Dog Pondering front man Frank Orrall.
In 2011, they returned with their most ambitious recording to date, "Vintage".
The J.Davis Trio has shared the stage with acts such as:
The Roots, M'shelle N'degleocello, Ozomatli, Reuben Wilson, De La Soul, Maceo Parker, Norah Jones, Groove Collective, Talib Kwali, Shinehead, The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Denson, The Pharcyde, Black Eyed Peas, Tortoise, Living Colour, Poi Dog Pondering, and Modeski, Martin and Wood.
Slinky jazz hooks, live trumpet and vibes, and laid-back flows make Chicago's J.Davis Trio pretty much instantly likeable for anyone who enjoys De La Soul or A Tribe Called Quest. Granted, the band wears "Swingers-caliber" shirts and describes itself as "Martini-flavored", but this doesn't dilute it's funky grasp on hip-hop. Here, the group celebrates the release of its new album, "These Things Happen", its first album since 2002's "The New No.2".
- The Onion