Davis was born in Chicago and raised in Momence, Illinois. He began playing trumpet around the age of ten, but was not formally instructed until Charles Danish, an elementary school teacher, found him a trumpet teacher and drove him to lessons. He eventually graduated with a degree in trumpet performance from DePaul University and then received a masters degree in jazz pedagogy from Northwestern University.
In addition to recording over 3000 TV and radio commercials, Davis has released three studio albums. His 2002 album Priority received four stars from the LA Times. He currently is very active in music education, particularly for at-risk Students. To this end, he co-founded and directs MusicAlive! (an initiative associated with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, which he also founded and directs).
One of Chicago's busiest and most sought after musicians, jazz trumpeter Orbert Davis has recorded, in addition to over 3000 television and radio commercials, many record projects for such notable artists as Ramsey Lewis, Charles Earland, Kurt Elling, Bob Mamet and William Russo's Chicago Jazz Ensemble. Winner of the 1995 Cognac Hennessy National Jazz Search, Orbert was chosen as one of Chicago Tribune's "1995 Arts People of the Year" and Chicago Magazine named him "Y2k Best Trumpeter in Chicago".
He performs regularly with various groups under his own name, including his critically acclaimed ensemble "Orbert Davis with Strings Attached". He was featured soloist at the 1996 Chicago Jazz Festival, performing Miles Davis and Gil Evans' "Sketches of Spain". Orbert's composition, "Concerto for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra" received rave reviews after he premiered it with The Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra in November 1998 at Symphony Center Chicago. In October 1999, along with Jon Faddis and Lester Bowie, Orbert was a featured performer for the Jazz Institute of Chicago's "Tribute to Louis Armstrong: Legacy for the Millennium" where he performed compositions from Armstrong's Hot 5 and Hot 7 recordings. This performance was repeated in August 2001 at the Chicago Jazz Festival.
Davis has performed with Wynton Marsalis, TS Monk, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Kurt Elling, Ernie Watts, Ramsey Lewis, Grover Washington Jr. and The Smithsonian Masterworks Jazz Orchestra.Along with his partner/manager Mark Ingram, Davis owns and operates ORBARK PRODUCTIONS. Their credits include projects for Atlantic, Capitol, CBS, Epic, MCA and the Warner Brothers record labels. Other projects include arrangements and on-camera performances for feature films such as "A League of Their Own" starring Tom Hanks, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell for Columbia Pictures and "The Babe", starring John Goodman. He recently completed musical arrangements for the upcoming DreamWorks Pictures feature film "Road to Perdition" starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman where he'll also have a cameo appearance.