“The surprise hit of the evening, however, was classical pianist John Davis who had just released an entire CD of Boone’s music…his performance was nothing less than astounding…It’s safe to say that almost all of the audience knew only of Boone’s ragtime compositions, of which there are two. However, Boone’s concerts mostly featured classical music, including many of his own works, and Davis regaled the listeners with what Boone might have played 100 years ago. Davis had previously recorded the music of ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins, whose career intersected with Boone’s, and he skillfully wove the history and the music of the two musicians together in a mesmerizing performance.”

The Mississippi Rag

 “For those unfamiliar with John William ‘Blind’ Boone (1864-1927), this superb recording by Juilliard alum John Davis will be a revelation…Davis’ bravura technique and grand style have been lovingly caught by engineers Al Houghton and David Smith, making it easy for listeners to conjure up images of rustling parlor curtains on a Kansas City summer night. The ‘enhanced’ CD–pop it into a computer–includes an eight-minute film by Joan Grossman called Music Miner, with Davis recalling his early exposure to much of this music, and the racier prohibition days in Kansas City’s 18th & Vine District, a neighborhood packed with jazz and blues clubs. This recording should go a long way toward raising the profile of one of Scott Joplin’s most imaginative contemporaries.”

Bruce Hodges, The Juilliard Journal

“The importance of John Davis’ resurrection of ‘Blind Tom’ by playing Wiggins’ own compositions, and the historical materials he has made available, in a series of concerts and with this recording [John Davis Plays Blind Tom], the first one ever done, should redraw Wiggins’ image so that he can be seen not just a some “black freak,” but as a creative personality, performer, composer, no matter his physical limitations…The music, played with much emotional empathy by John Davis, puts one in mind of Fred Douglass’ famous soliloquy on some bluff overlooking the Chesapeake, just before he made his dash to freedom. Identifying with the free sailing ships which whip his mind with the contrast of his own bondage, he whispers, ‘You are loosed from your moorings and are free; I am fast in my changes, and am a slave!…You are freedom’s swift-winged angels that fly round the world; I am confined in bands of iron! O that I were free! O, that I were on one of your gallant decks…Go on, go on…'”

Amiri Baraka (a.k.a. LeRoi Jones), Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music

“Pianist John Davis plays Tom’s pieces spiritedly, and provides informative liner notes. He also includes some writing about Tom by Black Nationalist poet Amiri Baraka, magician Ricky Jay, and neurologist Oliver Sacks. Sacks comments that autistic people cannot be creative, but the music refutes this at every turn. Both musicologists and neurologists would benefit from investigating this miraculous contradiction further.”

Harvey Pekar, NPR