UH Music Student Wins National Award: Best Jazz Soloist

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Roland Davis, (808)497-0467
UH Student/DownBeat Award Winner
Arlene Abiang, (808)956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jun 17, 2004

HONOLULU — UH Mānoa undergraduate student Roland Davis won the Best College Jazz Soloist Award in DownBeat magazine‘s 27th Annual Student Music Awards. Davis was one of four to receive the coveted national award and competed with hundreds of contestants from renowned jazz schools in the nation.

The award is given to an individual based on an anonymous submission of a 10-minute performance recording in which the adjudicators do not know the performers‘ names or their schools. Davis submitted a guitar piece for his winning entry.

"As an improviser, I develop a solo through relations to motives stated at the beginning, which can be based on melodic rhythmic or harmonic motives and fragments from the melody or spontaneous invention," said Davis in an interview published in the June 2004 issue of DownBeat magazine.

Davis will graduate this summer with highest honors from UH Mānoa with degrees in philosophy and composition. A Presser Scholar and All-American Scholar, he has earned more than 30 awards in academics, philosophy and music, including two-time composer of the year, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda, music and philosophy departmental awards, Heidi Research in Music Award and 5 ASUH scholarships.

Davis was one of only two jazz composers accepted a year into the highly prestigious New England Conservatory, recognized worldwide as a leader among music schools, where he will continue his graduate studies beginning this fall.

DownBeat magazine has chronicled the history of jazz and blues music since 1934. Each year it accepts taped submissions from scholastic and collegiate musicians for consideration in the student awards competition. The awards are widely considered to be the most prestigious national recognition for jazz students, and a number of winners have gone on to become stars of the international jazz community.