Tuesday, May 10, 2022

More on music from Quincy Davis

The May issue of Hot House includes my profile of drummer Quincy Davis, who performs with his quintet May 20-21 at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village (see p. 17).

As sometimes happens with extended interviews, this one produced far more material than the magazine's wordage limit could accommodate. 

So here are two additional topics of interest from Davis, who, in addition to his performing career, is on the University of North Texas jazz studies faculty.

I asked Quincy about the positives and negatives of the pandemic on him musically. In other words, how did he make the most of a bad situation?

Similar to a lot of people, it allowed me to breathe and relax. At first you're panicked, then you say, 'OK, this is a chance to reassess and reset,” he said. “I started to write more. Because I had no gigs, it made less motivating to practice.

I also picked up my social media game. I came up with an idea to be on there if I can do something educational that can help people. I came up with this series 'Drummer to Drummer.' I interviewed 50 different drummers. One a week. That kept me pretty busy.” (He also started a YouTube channel called “Jazz Drummer Q-Tip of the Week” that features his educational drum-set lessons.)

It was an opportunity to upgrade (software, cameras, lighting, video editing skills) and learn new things. I am grateful for that time, but it is nice to be back in a normal groove.”

What is the key to surviving and succeeding in today's jazz marketplace?

As great as my peers are, playing with this person or that person and traveling, I can't think of any of my peers who do not teach. It has become kind of the norm. A lot of the people we go to see at the clubs are also teaching at an institution either as an adjunct or full time.

More and more of my peers are really seeking full-time positions because of the benefits, not having to worry about where their next paychecks will come from, having some stability. The future jazz musician, to stay viable, will be a performer who educates and an educator who performs -- like me. They go hand in hand.”

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