Ron Davis (jazz musician)

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Ron Davis
Ron Davis at the piano.jpg
Background information
Origin Canada Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano

Ron Davis is a pianist and composer based in Toronto, Canada. Davis' performances and musical creations have earned critical acclaim in Canada and abroad, including comparisons to jazz greats like Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum.[1] To date, Ron has released seven full-length recordings to unanimous international critical praise. He will release two new titles in 2012—Blue Modules, an experimental musical project exploring post-modern jazz, and Symphronica, an innovative jazz-symphony fusion album performed with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.


Ron Davis performing Symphronica with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra

Early Influences

Davis has been called "one of the great minds in jazz".[2] This is reflected in his explorations of various styles and sounds in jazz. Davis’ roots are planted in stride and swing, but he has retained a clean and straightforward playing style. Davis studied at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto before playing piano professionally in the 1970s. He studied with the late Darwyn Aitken, a student of classical great David Saperton and jazz legend Oscar Peterson. These early influences are reflected in the style and tone of Davis’ musical creations.

Performance and Composition

Davis and his collaborators have performed all over the world, including four tours in Asia. A jazz pianist in the solo tradition, he has also been featured as the opening act for jazz legend Dave Holland and his quintet.

Davis is currently working on two new projects for 2012, Blue Modules and Symphronica. Blue Modules is an experimental music project exploring post-modern jazz, while aiming to recapture an original spirit of jazz as the pop and dance music of its day.

Symphronica is an innovative project that fuses together Davis' Jazz and classical roots. Symphronica superimposes his unique brand of jazz on the traditional symphonic landscape to create a unique concert experience. The album is a collection of eight original and four additional pieces, all recorded with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

As a composer, Davis released Rhythmaron: The Music of Ron Davis in 2008, a deluxe compendium of 23 original tunes. Davis' written word compositions include Pianobabbler, his irreverent, urbane blog of musical musings.

Davis has also led several ongoing jazz series, including: Ron Davis and Friends and Gate 403 Jam Session. Playing Along to Surpass is Davis' hand on and ears on workshop, where he teaches how to translate jazz performance techniques into business success.

Community Involvement

Davis served as Secretary of the Glenn Gould Foundation for several years. He serves on the advisory boards for the Jazz Performance and Education Centre and Reaching Out Through Music. For eight years, he co-produced Jazz for Herbie, an annual benefit for the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation.

Davis is the founder and a co-Director of Dreamers, Renegades, Visionaries: The Glenn Gould Variations, a two day festival inspired by the life and work of Glenn Gould, taking place at The University of Toronto's Convocation Hall, on September 22 and 23, 2012. The festival will include as many as fifty artists, thinkers and creators. The provovative mix of 20-minute performances and talks are inspired by Canadian icon and multi-media innovator Glenn Gould, and part of the celebrations marking the 80th year of Gould's birth

Davis was an Assistant Professor in the French Department at the University of Toronto from 1993 to 1998, and also practised law until 2002, before focusing mainly on music and composing. Davis is an occasional columnist for Canadian Musician, and has published and edited numerous articles and books on music, linguistics and law.

Critical Acclaim[edit]

Davis has garnered critical acclaim for his work, both in Canada and abroad. Early in his career, Davis was named by CBC as one of the "best undiscovered jazz acts" in Canada, and was chosen as one of 10 pianists in radio Jazz.FM's "Flying Fingers" piano gala.

One of the great minds in jazz.

— Jazz FM91 [2]

The artistry of Ron Davis is revealed not solely by his playfulness on the piano, but all the more by his creative decisions as leader.

— Wholenote , February 2009

Exceptionally gifted and eclectic,Toronto pianist Ron Davis seems like the living incarnation of the perpetuummobile, buzzing from flower to flower following his successive projects as they emerge, straight from the heart.

— L'Express, no.46[3]

Ron Davis, who in my mind, just might be the best Jazz pianist in Canada right now.

— Joe Montague, Publisher and Senior Editor of Riveting Riffs Magazine [4]

Toronto’s ... Ron Davis Trio has been one of Canada’s hottest acts in both bop and pop circles for many years, and it’s obvious why. Offering the daring stabs of Monk and the lushly evocative swoops of Art Tatum, pianist Davis’s bold runs crackle with confidence, and his flawless upright-and-drums backup illuminates every note!

— Editor's Review, CNET,[1]


Album cover Album information
My Mother's Father's Song (2010)

"Digging deep into a family's history and heritage can reveal a goldmine of inspirational nuggets." - Alain Londes,

The Bestseller (2008)

" Splendid new recording... killer playing" - Errol Nazareth on 'The Bestseller'

Subarashii Live (2007)

"Overall rating: awesome!" - WholeNote Magazine

Shimmering Rhythm (2005)

"The term tour de force has often been used to describe a lot of things that aren’t, but Shimmering Rhythm qualifies for the honor ten times over." - E. J. Ianelli, All About Jazz[5]

Mungle Music (2004)

One reviewer said, "... turns up the heat for Mungle Music without sacrificing the pure tone and harmonic clarity of his keyboards."

So Much (2003)

Nominated Jazz Album of the Year in the Canadian Music Week Independent Awards

SoloDuoTrio (2002)

A collection, as the title says, of solo pieces, duos and trios, featuring San Murata on violin, Pat Wheeler on sax, and some vocals by Lori Cullen

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Editor's Review". CNET, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Afternoon Drive with Brad Barker". August 22, 2012. Jazz FM91.
  3. ^ "L'Express" (in French). November 20–26, 2007. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Independent Exposure Part I". All About Jazz. 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 

External links[edit]