Music Faculty — Rick Davies

Professor of Music

Dr. Davies has been chair of the music department since 2008. He was promoted to professor in 2009. He is a performer (trombone), composer, and bandleader. His academic interests are in the areas of jazz, Latin and Afro-Caribbean music, and Music Technology. Davies directs the Contemporary Combo (MUS398H) and the Jazz Ensemble (394A). He teaches Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Music (MUS116) and Introduction to Music Technology (MUS305). Davies teaches private trombone, low brass, and jazz studies in his applied studio. In rotation with the other full-time faculty, he teaches the senior-level courses Topic (MUS310 and Senior Seminar (MUS485). Other course he has taught include Jazz History (MUS112), American Pop (MUS114), Fundamental Musicianship (MUS120), and Theory I (MUS121). He also teaches course on Latin American and Caribbean music (HON158) in the Honors program. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2009.

Music performance, composition, and scholarly research have all contributed to the academic focus of Dr. Davies. As a performer and composer, Davies has an international reputation in the Latin jazz and salsa fields. He has performed on numerous jazz, Latin, and r&b recordings and has appeared around the world with a variety of musical groups. As musical director of Salsa Picante (led by pianist Wayne Gorbea), he contributed numerous compositions and improvisations to Gorbea’s CD recordings. These recordings include: Introducing Wayne Gorbea’s Salsa Picante (2007); Pradkatun (2006); Fiesta En El Bronx (2002); Saboreando (2000); Cogele el Gusto (1998). These CDs have a number of international salsa hits. During the past decade Dr. Davies has toured extensively with Wayne Gorbea and Salsa Picante. Among the places he has appeared with the band are Tokyo, Sydney, Budapest, Amsterdam, Great Britain, and Colombia. Since coming to SUNY Plattsburgh, Davies has released two of his own CDs (Salsa Strut (2001) and Siempre Salsa (2006) of original recordings with his group Jazzismo. In the past decade and a half, Dr. Davies performed on recordings by Mya, Wyclef Jean, Michael Jackson, Blondie, and numerous other artists in the NYC area. In the North Country he has performed and recorded with numerous local groups including Grupo Sabor, Zip City Blues Band, Lucid, Funk Collection, etc. Dr. Davies has written numerous monographs and presented at various conferences including IAJE and CMS. His book on Cuban trumpet playing Trompeta: Chappottín, Chocolate, and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Style was released by Scarecrow Press in 2003. He contributed a chapter on Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros to the book Music from Cuba which was released by Praeger Publications in 2001.

Dr. Davies has made many service contributions to the college and community. He has been a faculty senator and a member of the TL-TAG committee. He has created a number of course for the music curricula at SUNY Plattsburgh. These include MUS305 Introduction to Music Technology, MUS114 American Pop, and MUS116 Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Music. As a performer and bandleader he has appeared on a myriad of occasions on and off campus. He has taken SUNY Plattsburgh’s Mambo Combo to various venues throughout the North Country. He was Zone A representative for the IAJE (International Association for Jazz Education) and served for three years on the Clinton and Franklin county decentralization panel for the N.Y. State Council on the Arts. He has co-authored grants funding the SUNY Plattsburgh music department’s Music Technology/Piano Lab and spearheaded the establishment of this state of the art facility.


  • Ph.D. New York University

Teaching Areas

  • Jazz History
  • Brass
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Music Technology
  • Theory and Composition

Recent Perfomances

  • Musical Director, Wayne Gorbea’s Salsa Picante, performing and composing or arranging works for the group’s recordings including:
    • Cogele el Gusto
    • Saboreando
  • Netaid Concert at the Giants Stadium, live appearance in late 1999 with Wyclef Jean for President and Mrs. Clinton
  • Jackie Byard’s Phantasies II
  • VH1 Storytellers episode with Wyclef and the Refugee All-Stars
  • Salsa Picante in New York City and around the world

Recent Publications

  • Trompeta: Chappottin, Chocolate, and the Afro-Cuban Trumpet Tradition, Scarecrow Press 2003
  • Music from Cuba, contributed a chapter on Cuban trumpeter Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros for the book, edited by Charley Gerard, Praeger Press 2001


Faculty Website

Contact Rick Davies

Office: Myers Fine Arts 231
Phone: (518) 564-2471