Ron Davis (jazz musician)

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

Ron Davis is a classically trained jazz pianist and composer based in Toronto, Canada. After studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Davis went on to study under Darwyn Aitken. Davis is known for his wide-ranging musical interests, and has published nine recordings under his name. The most recent one, Symphronica (2013; Acronym/Universal Music), is a fusion of jazz and classical music performed with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra under conductor John Morris Russell. Davis is also a former French professor and lawyer.


Ron Davis performing Symphronica with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra

Education and career[edit]

After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), Davis studied under Darwyn Aitken, a student of David Saperton and Oscar Peterson. Taking a break from professional music, Davis went on to earn his law degree from the University of Ottawa and a Ph.D in French Linguistics from the University of Toronto. From there, Davis became an Assistant Professor in the French Department from 1993 to 1998.

Since 1997, Davis re-focused on performing and recording music, and composing. He has released nine full-length albums in various size ensembles (from duos to symphonies) and styles - chamber jazz, straight-ahead, and electric. Davis has performed around the world, including across Canada, Poland, the United States, Russia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. In 2006, Davis was awarded the Japan Foundation Uchida Arts Fellowship and acted as a visiting professor at Hosei University in Tokyo. He also appeared as a pianist in the "Espresso Manifesto" project of composer and vocalist Daniela Nardi.

For his eighth recording, Blue Modules, Davis explored pop and post-modern jazz in an attempt to recapture an original spirit of jazz as the pop and dance music of its day. One musician on the recording is guitarist Donna Grantis, who went on to be a member in the 3rdeyegirl band of Prince.

Davis' Symphronica reflects passion for both jazz and classical music and was Davis' attempt to bridge the gap between these two genres. The recording includes several new compositions by Davis, as well as reconfigurations of classics, ranging from Bach's "Mache Dich mein Herze rein" to the Québécois fiddle tune, "Le Reel de Pointe-au-Pic".

Davis also brings this interest in fusing jazz with other genres out of the recording studio and onto the live stage. In 2013–14 he performed in a series of "Pocket Symphronica" concerts combining his electric-acoustic jazz quartet with a string quartet. Some shows added other elements including a Japanese taiko ensemble and a clown to the music.

Davis is also an occasional columnist for Canadian Musician and continues to publish articles on music, linguistics and law.

Community involvement[edit]

Davis served as Secretary of the Glenn Gould Foundation for several years and continues to be the director for the Glenn Gould Lectures. 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 Gould, which took place at The University of Toronto's Convocation Hall in September 2012.

Davis has also acted as a Juror for the Canada Council for the Arts. For eight years, he co-produced Jazz for Herbie, an annual benefit for the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation. He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Jazz Performance and Education Centre and Reaching Out Through Music. He sits as a director on the board of Opera 5.

Personal life[edit]

Davis is married to Italian-Canadian jazz-pop singer-songwriter Daniela Nardi. In 2012, Davis co-produced her Espresso Manifesto recording.

Playing style[edit]

One critic stated that, "Offering the daring stabs of [Thelonious] 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".[1] One journalist described Davis in these terms: "Adventurous and unconventional, he's all about taking giant steps every time he enters a recording studio."[2]


Year Released Album information
2016 Pocket Symphronica

""He's achieved the rare feat of bringing jazz to the symphony orchestra" -Arthur Post, Music Directorof the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra

2010 My Mother's Father's Song

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

2008 The Bestseller

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

2007 Subarashii Live

"Overall rating: awesome!" - WholeNote Magazine

2005 Shimmering Rhythm

"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[3]

2004 Mungle Music

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

2003 So Much

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

2002 SoloDuoTrio

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. ^ "Editor's Review". CNET, 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 
  2. ^ Straight-ahead jazz
  3. ^ "Independent Exposure Part I". All About Jazz. 2005. Retrieved 2007-06-06. 

External links[edit]