“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

THE JOHN DAVIS CARAVAN:  Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, New York, NY
“Pianist John Davis has made a mission of uncovering music by 19th-century black pianists, including slaves, whose work had a direct impact on the blues, jazz, rock, and R&B artists that came in their wake. So far his Caravan has made stops for the music of Blind Boone and Blind Tom, resulting in critical adulation.”

Time Out New York

“Mr. Davis specializes in American music. His performances of works by William Albright (A Ragtime Lullabyand Pianoagogo) and James P. Johnson (Yamekraw) were well conceived… Everything else was nicely done, especially Copland’s wonderful Piano Variations, in which Mr. Davis found the homespun lyricism beneath the severe Serialist gestures…The Bartok performance [of Out of Doors] was hardly less impressive than the Copland.”

James R. Oestreich, The New York Times