Ron Davis (jazz musician)

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Ron Davis
Ron Davis at the piano.jpg
Background information
BornToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsPiano
Websiterondavismusic.com

Ron Davis is a Canadian jazz pianist.[1]

Early life[edit]

Davis is the youngest son of Alex Davis and Alice Davis[2](nee Ladowsky).[3] His maternal grandfather is Joseph Ladowsky,[4] a Polish restaurateur who owned a restaurant in the 1920s and early 1930s[5] in Warsaw. The 1930's Polish song, Bal u Starego Joska, cites this restaurant and refers to Ladowsky (Gruby Josek) as the hero in the ballad.

Davis's parents survived The Holocaust as inmates of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (father) and the Skarżysko-Kamienna labour camp[6] (mother) before settling in Toronto, Canada, in 1948.[7]

Davis was enrolled at the Royal Conservatory of Music to study theory and piano. He studied with teacher Darwyn Aitken,[8] a student of both Oscar Peterson and David Saperton.[2][9] At thirteen, Davis made his public debut playing the Maple Leaf Rag at a convention held by the Toronto Ragtime Society. At sixteen, Davis made his professional debut when he performed at the grand opening of a Toronto restaurant.

He continued to perform as a jazz pianist as a teen[10] and young adult in clubs[11] as he made his way through university and law school.[12]

Education and early career[edit]

Davis studied French at the University of Toronto. He wanted to continue on to graduate studies but his parents were adamant that he become a lawyer. He was able to make a compromise with them by studying law at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law where they had just launched a French common law program.[12]

Davis received his J.D. law degree in 1982[13] and completed his articles with Philip M. Epstein, doing civil litigation and solicitor negligence defence work, sharing space with criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan.[14] In 1984 he was called to the Ontario bar.[12]

Two years after his call to the bar, Davis ran into a professor and mentor from his undergraduate years who encouraged him to return to academia and do graduate work in French.[14] From 1987 to 1993, Davis completed a Masters and PhD in French Linguistics at the University of Toronto.[2]  His thesis was titled Chronosemantics: A Theory of Time and Meaning[15] and won him the 1993 University of Toronto French Department Doctoral Thesis Prize.[12] He also was given a position as an assistant professor in the French Department.[16] 

Professional music[edit]

Ron Davis performing Symphronica with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra

In 1997,[16] Davis met jazz saxophonist, Doug Banwell, who convinced him to resume playing piano.[14] The duo started playing gigs regularly, and Davis began to focus on music full time.[12] Davis credited the law, in part, for his success in the music business.  In an interview with the Law Times, he said that the law taught him to deal with loss, pressure, and adversity.  

In music, as in all arts, you have to learn to accept rejection constantly...Some cases are won because the lawyer asserts them with great conviction and belief. It's the same in the arts," he says. Art is a form of persuasion. I'm always aware of the depth and beauty of the music I'm making.[14]

Since 1997, Davis has performed live,and recorded music.[17][18][19][20] He created Symphronica,[9] a classical jazz fusion.[21][22] Davis has recorded albums in various size ensembles (from duos to symphonies) and styles, such as chamber jazz, straight-ahead, and electric.[10]

In 2018 he completed a third year of performances in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[23][24]

Davis derives his style from the swing and bop eras. He cites pianists Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk as inspirations.[10][25][4] In an interview with the National Post, Davis described said, "One of the things about this music is it's handmade."

Personal life[edit]

Davis is married to singer Daniela Nardi. In 2012, he co-produced her album Espresso Manifesto.[26]

Discography[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Personnel/Notes
2001 Solo Duo Trio Cullinor
2003 So Much Cullinor/Rosemary Lane Jazz Album of the Year nominee – Canadian Independent Music Awards
2004 Mungle Music Davinor
2005 Shimmering Rhythm Davinor/Minerva Road Top 10 2005: JAZZ.FM91, CODA, Zeitgeist, l'Express
2007 Subarashii Live Davinor/Minerva Road No. 1 – ChartAttack, December 2007
2008 The Bestseller Davinor/Minerva Road Best of 2008 – JAZZ.FM91, SoundProof
2010 My Mother's Father's Song Davinor/Minerva Road Critics' Pick - Toronto Star - CD Release Concert
2013 Blue Modules Davinor/Minerva Road Best of 2013 – JAZZ.FM91
2013 Symphronica Acronym/Universal Top of National Radio Jazz charts February–March 2014
2016 Pocket Symphronica Really
2017 RhythmaRON Really
2018 SymphRONica UpfRONt Really

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nathan, Dave (1 June 2002). "Ron Davis with Drew Birston: Solo Duo Trio". All About Jazz. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Ron Davis is playing around". National Post. 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  3. ^ "Alice Davis". legacy.com. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Londes, Alain (30 June 2010). "Ron Davis: My Mother's Father's Song". All About Jazz. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Josek z Gnojnej umarł (Josek of Gnojna died)". Dzień Dobry. Warsaw. 2: 2. October 8, 1932.
  6. ^ "Skarzysko-Kamienna" (PDF). Yad Vashem.
  7. ^ "The laws of jazz". Tabaret. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  8. ^ Archive, Canadian Jazz (2018-09-08). "Ron Davis Musician Biography". www.canadianjazzarchive.org. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  9. ^ a b "Classical jazz fusion on the Fringe". HeraldScotland. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  10. ^ a b c D'Souza, Jerry (18 May 2004). "Mungle Music". All About Jazz. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ Ray, Randy (5 September 2007). "When many careers are better than one". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e Micheal Benedict, Lawyer Finds Music Is True Calling, The Lawyers Weekly, 7 October 2011
  13. ^ Foster, Mike. "The laws of jazz". Tabaret. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d Tasha Kheiriddin, So much risk, so much reward: Ron Davis draws from legal life as he returns to music in his 40s, February 17, 2003, Law Times.
  15. ^ "Thèses acceptées depuis 1925". www.french.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  16. ^ a b Geoff Chapman, "A Virtuoso Gets Back to Basics", The Toronto Star, 29 November 2001.
  17. ^ "Ron Davis: Pocket Symphronica". Toronto Music Report. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  18. ^ "Jack Pepper". Royal Philharmonic Society. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  19. ^ "Русский сувенир от джазменов из Канады". www.trud.ru. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  20. ^ Adams, Rob (4 July 2017). "SymphRONica, La Belle Angele, Edinburgh". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Gould Piano Trio, Ron Davis's SymphRONica, Andrew Watts, In Tune". BBC. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  22. ^ Lam, Margaret (27 October 2013). "Improvising classical musicians a rare treat in Ron Davis's Symphronica". Ludwig van Toronto. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  23. ^ "Ron Davis' SymphRONica". Edinburgh Festival. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  24. ^ "Music review: Ron Davis; Symphronica, Scottish Arts Club". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  25. ^ Benson, Etienne (2003). "Telehealth gets back to basics". PsycEXTRA Dataset. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  26. ^ "Daniela Nardi's Espresso Manifesto Biography". www.maplemusic.com. Retrieved 11 September 2018.

External links[edit]